Monday, May 6, 2013

Big Sur Race Report

Two weekends ago I ran the Big Sur Marathon & I suppose I should say something about it. This was marathon #12 after all, and, as with my previous Big Sur experience, this was basically another non-marathon-turned-marathon. It seems like maybe I was keeping this race a secret, but I promise I was not -- I really had no plan to run it.

For the second time in my long life, I was signed up for the Big Sur 21-mile race. My plan was to walk the 21-mile course until Courtney, who was running the full, caught up to me, and then finish her race with her. And for the second time, I somehow magically got upgraded to the sold-out full (in 2011, I upgraded 12 days before the race, and last weekend I upgraded the day before the race). Both times I ran the marathon not really prepared to, but with a solid base of fitness under my belt, and both times having a really magical time.

This marathon fell in a peak week of my San Francisco Marathon training plan, and in my mind, the more miles I got, the merrier I'd feel. (Well, that's what I thought until I hit the extra 5.2.) After a massive week of big miles (for me) and a shake-out run before the race, Courtney and I headed down to Monterey, CA, for really crappy pizza, a solid 3 hours of sleep, and arguably the prettiest marathon in the world.

We sat on a fart-laden bus for about an hour, then sat in the cold for another 2 hours. Then we ran a marathon.

Since this race wasn't a "race" for either of us, we took our time, took pictures, took videos, stopped, stretched, and sat in awe of where we were in that exact moment. I wish all the pictures we took did the background of this race some justice -- so I will say instead, just once in your life, go run this race & see what everyone raves about for yourself. 

I know last year it was shrouded in a cold, miserable fog, but this year we had decent temps, prettttttttty minimal headwind (we were definitely smacked by wind from all 4 directions most of the time, but I can only think of a few seconds where I hated life), and really beautiful views the whole way. 

It's soooo pretty!

You'd think these views only come from vacations. NO. They come from marathons, too. Soooo pretty.

When I ran Big Sur in 2011, there was a weird Hwy 1-falling-into-the-ocean accident and the course was rerouted to an out-and-back for safety's sake. As a result, I never got to run the famous Hurricane Point -- a 2-mile uphill portion with super strong headwinds -- or across the gorgeous Bixby Bridge. I was so excited this year that I actually got to do it! Courtney & I powered up the hill, toward our sweet Bixby Bridge reward at the end of the climb. 

It was hands down my favorite part of the course. Slowest, definitely. But the best best best.

Photo courtesy of Kristen

At the end of Bixby Bridge is Michael Martinez, Big Sur grand pianist extraordinaire. I saw this kid at the expo and like a weird fan, I screamed, "Can't wait to see you tomorrow!" giddily. I ran away in embarrassment before he could respond to me.

And like an awkward teenage girl, I was too afraid to approach him at the race. I would have loved a pic with him, but he was too busy HOLDING CONVERSATIONS AND KEEPING RHYTHM AT THE SAME TIME.

He was playing "Hallelujah" as we ran by, and if I weren't so dehydrated, I would have actually shed some tears while I cried. Instead, I had a few weird dry-sob moments, where I exclaimed "This sh!t is so f#ck!ng beautiful, I can't stand it." I got a couple looks. :|

video

The course is SOOOO FRIGGIN' PRETTY. Pics aren't conveying this here. :(

Courtney & I ran together for the first 20 miles. She was having some major IT band issues and needed to stop and stretch quite a bit. She was gracious enough to send me off, as the stopping & starting on the hills was killlling my quads. Instead of getting injured myself, I pulled the ultimate dick move & left my friend. Thank you, Courtney, for not holding this against me. ;)

(I am a terrible person for leaving the friend who's stuck by me through so much, and will probably never be invited to run a marathon with her ever again.)

These tiny specs on the left are cows. THE LUCKIEST GOD DAMN COWS IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. The course is so pretty and those cows just LIVE THERE! On the edge of the country! By the ocean and off the cliffs!

Runnnnnnnin'

Coming into Monterey, CA, toward the finish, just as it was getting pretty toasty out. The course is so, so pretty.

I finished my marathon-lengthed training run, immediately hopped into the massage tent, ate some cookies and beer like a good little runner-bee, and tracked down Courtney before heading back to SF. It was a wonderful, simply divine weekend. (Especially when I went to sleep at like 8p.m. that night.) 

Seeing that we were around the 4:30 pace group when I ditched out on my marathon buddy at mile 20, I'm pleasantly shocked at how much time I made up on a dead legged/peak week, hard course, not marathon-ready, casual run.

Big Sur is a very Boston-runner-friendly race, thanks to the Boston-2-Big Sur Challenge. We saw lots of Boston runners, supporters, and colors. <3
 

Marathon #12 proooooobably couldn't have been any better, and I friggin' loved it. LOVED it. It's soooo pretty. 

The end.

27 comments:

  1. Wait, I'm not sure -- was it pretty? ;)
    This race does look amazing. I'll have to put it on my list. Congrats on finishing your 12th marathon!

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    1. I was just going to write a post that ONLY said "it's soooo pretty", but ha... a few other words worked their way in. DEFINITELY DO IT!!!

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  2. Loved this you lucky duck!!! I have been saying over and over that Boston will be me last marathon for a while IF I BQ again. Now I am changing my mind and thinking I want to do the Boston to Big Sur Challenge. Why not go out with a bang? The course is absolutely stunning. I don't think I could race it even if I wanted too. I would be taking a ton of pictures. Glad that you had fun. I am also glad that I found someone just as crazy as me to use a marathon for a training run. :-)

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    1. It's a very difficult course to race (2,000+ feet elevation gain & the same in descent), especially after Boston! Definitely do it for fun &, like you said, go out with a bang! It would make for a fun victory lap. :)

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  3. SO SO PRETTY! Not bad for a "training run." :)

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  4. It is the most beautiful course I have ever seen I think. So I guess I should stop hating running so I can have a really great time and run for fun.

    <3 this post so hard, and I'm sure Courtney does not hate you :D

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    1. You need to do it!! Eat skittles on the course... makes it better :) they also have the beeeest fresh-cut strawberry stand at mile 22 & the race may be worth it for that alone.

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  5. Awwwwwww I was signed up to do the Boston2BigSur Challenge but I was just not up to it :( Hopefully I will get to do it one of these years!!!! Looks amazing!!!

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    1. :( You should definitely do it another year!

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  6. IT'S SO PRETTY!!!

    I'm trying to make sure B is ready to come out of marathon retirement by 2015 when I want to run........

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    1. We will start working on her now.

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  7. Wow everyone's recaps are really making me want to do Big Sur next year. I just can't believe how beautiful it is!

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  8. Love this post! And well done on the race! You make me "almost" want to run it someday (but I keep remembering how you told me its waaaay harder than SFM).

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    1. You still should -- just do it for fun. :) But maybe do SFM first & know it's a cakewalk compared to Big Sur. ;)

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  9. I'm so glad you got to run the real course this time, and that you didn't have oodles of fog. I could just feel your happiness radiating from this blog post, and that's exactly what running should be -- well done at Big Sur AND on the blog post!

    Also, this line made me ALOL: "THE LUCKIEST GOD DAMN COWS IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD."

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    1. I wish you could have done it this year while there were actually views to take in! ;) And seriously, those cows don't know how spoiled they are.

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  10. Oh, I think I might have to do this marathon someday. The logistics terrify me but Big Sur means a lot to me (it's where I got engaged!) and your photos make it look amazing. Big congrats on #12!

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  11. This race is definitely on the bucket list! It's just so gorgeous and the medal is so cool too!

    Congrats! 12 marathons..wow that's a lot!

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  12. Awwww! Glad you had a good time!

    I feel like some day I probably have to do it. Not for time, likely, but just to see the sights. :)

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  13. I'm new to running and looking to do my first marathon next spring. Is this a course that is good for new runners? It's so pretty I have to put it on my list!

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  14. Such a great report a! I neeeed to run it!

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  15. Such a great report a! I neeeed to run it!

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  16. I wished I would have gotten a picture of those cows - what a life! AND I wished I would have seen you too. I should have planned better but I had no idea our agenda for the weekend. I could have at least had my act together to meet you for the almost two hours I waited for the race to start.

    Congrats on another great marathon for you. The course was so freakin' pretty.

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  17. I've been doing the 9 miler the past 3 years, the first in 2011 when the marathon was the out and back. It was also my first road race. I remember seeing a pianist on the loop in Point Lobos and watching the first of the marathoners pass us. It was simply a crazy, amazing, haunting experience. Big Sur always holds a special place in my heart and I am aiming to do the marathon, one year, even if the logistics of it scare the hell out of me :)

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  18. Join the 15th Annual Team Spirit Long Beach 5k and 10K marathon and help put an end to breast and ovarian cancer today! The Team Spirit Long Beach 5k and 10K marathon is going 15 years strong. To celebrate, were giving away a silk tie and silk scarf to the first 15 people who raise $1,500. Create a team and start fundraising!

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