Bay-to-Breakers in the Buff on KQED
Catherine Gacad has run the quintessential San Francisco race in the nude. But she isn’t an exhibitionist. She’s a recovering anorexic.
The most peculiar thing I’ve done was run the Bay to Breakers — naked. Ok, maybe that isn’t terribly peculiar for the quintessentially San Francisco footrace. People run in costumes. There are floats. A couple hundred run in the buff.
But I didn’t do it for shock value and I’m not an exhibitionist craving attention. There was a personal issue I had come to terms with. I had finally, finally stopped detesting my body.
I’m a recovering anorexic. When I felt like I was gaining weight, I stopped eating. Sometimes, I’d go for a day. Other times, I’d go for a week. I’d take in calories through liquids, but for days and days I would not eat a single thing. I also abused diet pills, drank laxative teas. I stepped on a scale 20, 30, 40 times a day. I exercised to exhaustion. I constantly calculated calories, keeping a running total in my head at all times. Having an eating disorder was exhausting and frustrating and unbearable.
I did them all: Atkins, Weight Watchers, the Zone. I’m proud of myself for having the courage to stop dieting. And when I started eating normally, that’s when the weight came off and stayed off for good. I no longer deprive myself. I eat when I’m hungry and even when I’m full, I still make room for dessert.
Last year, I said good-bye to my therapist, thanked her profusely for what she had done, and started my own road to recovery. If she knew I had run the Bay to Breakers naked, she would probably be shocked and proud to know I ran a race in the buff.
I’ll be on the sidelines this year, cheering along with the crowd. But when the naked runners streak by, I’ll cheer harder, longer, stronger. To bravery.
With a perspective, I’m Catherine Gacad.