Big Sur Marathon Race Recap

by Elizabeth on May 7, 2012

Marathon #5
Repeat of State #8 (and race-see recap from last year)

Pre-Race
You can check out my post of what we did pre/post race here.  We did a shakeout run along the coast on Saturday morning and had a great breakfast and then headed to the expo.

It was already really crowded at 10am.  But we made a stop so I could get more Kona Kola NUUN and meet Caitlin.

me and Caitlin at the expo. YAY NUUN!

We spent the rest of the day relaxing and did the 17 mile drive at Pebble Beach.

Sunday wake up call was at 3:30.  Marathoner’s had to be on the bus by 4:15 and I was meeting Lisa and Jeff downstairs.  I quietly got ready while P slept a bit longer, the 10.6 mile race didn’t have to leave until 6.  Jealous.

The bus was ride was long and quiet and a bit scary.  You can’t really see where the buses are going when it is pitch black but I knew we were right on the edge and couldn’t help but have a bit of anxiety.  Luckily we arrived safe and sound and had about an hour before the start.  Just an FYI-the buses have to bring you early so they have enough time to get off the course.

Start and Miles 1-8
We lined up to start in Wave 2.  I wish I would’ve taken a video of the start because the let out white doves at the beginning (didn’t do that last year-I’m assuming because of the course change).

view of start from wave 2

 The start was a bit crowded, which in a way was good.  The first few miles were downhill and I needed to take it easy.  I started with Lisa and didn’t use my ipod-we just took in the course.

The first few miles actually have crowd support-we ran through the state park and Big Sur Inn area and people were out cheering-which was nice.

the beginning of race-maybe mile 2 or so

Miles 5-7 were rough.  The fog had settled in and the wind was insane.  It was cold and somewhat damp and we were using a lot of energy running into the wind.  We got behind the 4:15 pace group to dry and draft off the group.  It helped.  Sadly, the fog was so heavy you couldn’t even see the ocean.

the water is right there-I promise 
I love the signs on the course-something to look forward to seeing

We did however, have some cows watching and cheering us on.  I had finally settled into a pace and was feeling pretty good.

they were on both sides of the road.  lots of moo’s, I mean, cheers
Should be ocean-all you can see is fog
fog, winds, and crowds.  Used this group to 

Miles 10-20
I looked up and could see we were starting the climb for the notorious Hurricane Point.  A 2 mile incline.  Lisa had to stop to use the bathroom but I told her I would take my time and get some pictures of the view and of the drummers. (She would never find me again though).

sun breaking through the fog!
shot of drummers
looks across from where drummers are.  All runners coming down the hill about to head up
the view looking up from the drummers.  UP being the key word. 
sideways view of drummers 

Curves, climbs, curves, climbs.  That’s all I can tell you about those 2 miles.  It was gorgeous.  But it was still windy and it was tough.

yes, we were.  for 2 solid miles.   

looking back/down hill
so glad fog was breaking a bit 
I didn’t feel the wall just yet

I started the downhill towards the Bixby Bridge and could hear the piano.

someone was nice enough to take my pic! 
love this one!

I decided yall should get to hear too.  So pardon the shaking of the camera, but just imagine finishing a two mile climb, seeing the pacific ocean, crossing over a beautiful bridge and listening to this.

http://www.youtube.com/get_player

Mile 13 was the piano.  I didn’t feel like waiting for a picture with him though.  It was after this point I turned my ipod on. 
view looking back over the bridge
the famous piano player!  it really was cool to hear it for an entire mile.

foggy but still beautiful

At some point the wind did die down a bit and the sun was out.  I was feeling good.  Really good.  And then again, just like last year, around mile 16, it all started to suck.  It was hard.  My legs were already hurting.  I was lonely.  I caught up with a guy that I had been around for most of the race and we chatted for a mile or two and that is exactly what I needed.  I needed to get out of my head.
if you look closely, it’s all uphill again and those are tiny little runners in the distance
It didn’t take long to suck again.  The wind and fog had picked back up.  I literally felt as if I was running in place.  I had tears running down my face from the wind.  The crowd had really thinned out and I had no one to draft off of.  

beer me.
wind, wind, wind and all alone. 
yes.  I felt like this.
All I could think about was the strawberries.  Get me to the strawberries.  I was at mile 20.  I started the “I can do anything for 1 more hour, I can do anything for one more hour” thoughts in my head.  But the negativity continued.
Miles 20-26.2
I hurt.  My legs felt like lead.  I felt like my body had the energy-my legs just didn’t want to go.  My IT Band was hurting so bad I was wincing with each step.  But I wanted to be done.  I kept calculating what my time would be if I just pushed through and if I walked.  And quite frankly, the thought of being on the course any longer than necessary kept me from walking.  
The sun had come out and the wind had died down.  I was heading into the Carmel Highlands.  I knew this is where the slant/grade in the road would be really bad.  
notice the slant in the road.  Miz.
My arms were chaffing pretty bad and I ended up grabbing several globs of vaseline at each water/aid stop.  So pain in my arms, pain in my IT band and also the bottoms of my feet.  Oh, and pain mentally. I truly hadn’t felt like this in so long I was cursing the whole time in my head.  ”F this.  F marathons.  Why in the world do you do this.  F this.  Maybe you didn’t train enough.  F this.  Screw the view.  Just finish.  Stupid marathon.  Don’t ever do this again. F this. Was last year this hard and I put it out of my mind? F this.”  
Not kidding.  This went on for several miles.  I stopped taking as many pictures (as you can tell) and didn’t even feel like I had the energy to pull my phone from my Ifitness belt.  I secretly cursed the relay runners who were sprinting by me.  Running fast in all their glory while I did the marathon shuffle just trying to keep up.  Not kidding-I glared at every bib that went by me.  If it was green you were cursed.  Showing off with your speed and your relay bib.  I caught back up with the guy I was running with before and he said if we kept it up we would be at 4:15.  Okay.  Gotta Push.  I tried to ignore the pain and the relay runners.  I focused back on the strawberries.
Mile 24.  I found them!!  I don’t know if they are that good or if you are tired and hot and over GU and salt and water but these things were amazing.   And maybe I knew that I was almost done.  
I grabbed a handful.  so amazing.
I knew I would see the dancers and then have one more uphill and I would be done.  I can do anything for 20 minutes.
beach by carmel highlands
Passed the dancers.

her outfit was out of control.
And moaned and complained up the last hill.  I checked my garmin and knew it would be close.  So I pushed.  And pushed.  I felt like I was hauling it through that finish line.  I heard P call out my name and did my best to smile and wave. 
Hallelujah is right. It is OVER.

P captured all sorts of action shots.
Thank God that was over.
Official Results
I am VERY happy with my time.  I was pushing for a sub 4:15 and was only off by a few seconds.  It was my second fastest 1/2 marathon ever.  It is 8 minutes faster than last year.  On the hardest course ever (I think).  And I stopped and took pictures along the way.  
Terrible posture and somehow smiling.
Garmin Results

taking pictures takes up time. :(  

no.  not kidding.   
you can see the really tough uphills here

Post Race
I found P, made my way through the finishers food area and went straight to the medical tent to have my IT band wrapped.  I could barely bend my legs.  I finished my food-which is really nice-but let’s be real.  I need more than fruit when I finish a marathon.

food tent
post race party.  I skipped my free beer.
ignore the port-o-potties 
Me and P post race.  He kicked some A in the 10.6 miler!

We only hung around to see Lisa cross the finish line and took the buses back to the hotel.  I took my ice bath and then we headed back to Carmel for lunch.  I wore my compression sleeves and new compression shorts under my outfit all day.  I think they both saved me.

Overall:
Favs:
The course view
The medal
The volunteers
The strawberries
The experience in general

Not So Much:
The weather (couldn’t help)
The post race food

The Bling
Even though I hate red, I love the medal. :)  This one stays in my top 5 medals of all time.  You just can’t beat a handmade, clay medal.  Seriously cool.

I love the shirt too.  I was lucky they were able to switch out the sizes for me because they are a bit snug!

Final Thoughts
I wanted to see the “real” course and I did.  I loved it all and hated it all at the same time.  Bottom line: this is a hard marathon.  But beautiful.  Not a race to run for time.  You have to stop and take in the scenery.  Looking back, I think my body was in more pain last year post race.  I recovered better this time around.

Bart Yasso has said this is the most beautiful course.  And it is.  The weather just wasn’t perfect this go round.  The race directors said the fog and wind were much heavier than in years past.  But that’s what these races are about.  You train to finish-no matter what.  And I did.  Will I be back?  Maybe one day.  Next year will be focusing on some new races.  Should you do this race?  Absolutely.   It is worth the pain and all the F bombs in your vocabulary.  I know this was long and has lots of pictures-but I hope you enjoyed it.  

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

abbi May 7, 2012 at 7:51 am

This was a wonderful recap of Big Sur. You really captured it, sorry the later miles kind of sucked but you ended up with a great time! I would have been looking for those strawberries the whole way!

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Stephanie Anne May 7, 2012 at 8:43 am

Looks like you had a fabulous time! Those views are incredible, congrats on a tough marathon!

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Lillywhite Family May 7, 2012 at 9:00 am

Congrats, sorry we missed you. Great recap, this was a very difficult race. Malissa and I are still working on our recaps, they'll come soon.

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challengedandrunninginthebikelane May 7, 2012 at 10:22 am

You did amazing, congratulations. That bling is totally worth it. This race is definitely on my bucket list!

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giraffy May 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I am all over this race next year. Congratulations!! The medal is freaking fantastic.

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kk May 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Great recap! I could feel your pain reading this. So proud of you!!

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Teamarcia May 7, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Omg you did such an amazing job on such a tough course! Huge congrats to you. Gosh I can't begin to imagine how hard that was. Love the medal!

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Paulette Ference May 8, 2012 at 12:44 am

I LOVED the cows mooing (cheering) for us. It cracked me up!

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dreambigrunner.com May 8, 2012 at 8:36 pm

The pictures are breathtaking. The piano gave me goose bumps :) Congrats!!!

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Jenny @ The Little J-Bird May 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

OMG the strawberries!! The best strawberries come from the Central Coast. Yum!!
You did a great job on a very tough course in that wind. That race is definitely on my must-do list and your recap really got me excited about it again. :)
The medal is beautiful too!
Congrats!!

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Suz and Allan May 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Congratulations Elizabeth! The course looks beautiful but challenging. I can't believe how many dancers and musicians there were along the course. Very nice time too!

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lmische May 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm

You are doing great things! Keep on, keepin on

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