Related: Exercise, Health, Racing

Race Report – Big Sur International Marathon


Just south of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk

The Big Sur Marathon was so fun!  It was a huge bummer to find out several months ago that the course would change, and that we would not be able to run over the hallmarks of the course: over Hurricane Point and over Bixby Bridge.  However, doo-doo happens and I’ve driven that road many times so I was prepared to make the best of it!

The weather for the week was about as amazing as weather gets on the CA coast: clear, low humidity, and a high of no more than 75 each day.

Flew in on Friday morning into San Jose, and spent the night in Santa Cruz.  I miss living in California so much!  Maybe one day I can return, when I can afford it, and when I can find a job. 

I woke up at 4am each day and went to bed at 8-9pm each night to stay on east coast time, knowing this would be my approximate wake-up time on race day.  Ran 20 min on Saturday morning at 645am, race start time, thinking that shorts and a T would be perfect for race day!

Enjoying some ale at the Seabright Brewery, Santa Cruz.

We stayed at the Carmel Valley Ranch which is AAAAmazing!  My mother and I raced together but my husband, step-father, and some family friends came up too, so it was a nice, albeit short, vacation.

Strollin the Carmel Valley Ranch grounds.

 So the nuts and bolts: thought I could make this race a Boston Qualifier (BQ) and stuck with the CLIF Bar 3:40 pace group.  This did not pan out well.  Our first half splits were waaaayyy too fast, and I didn’t listen to my body.  In my defense, my body was confused, the course was so hilly I assumed it should feel just a little tough.  For example, with the pace group, during the first half some splits included: 7:33 (2), 7:55 (3), 7:55 (4), 7:31 (5), 7:53 (7), 7:48 (9), 7:47 (10) and at mile 13 I had 1:47 on my watch…already 5:00 under goal time!  This would put me at a 3:34 marathon instead of a 3:40, where the average mile should be about 8:23.  The tag-timed splits were taken at miles 12.2 (1:40:38) and mile 23.6 (3:18:25).  The pacer said during those first miles: “that was a short mile, they have these mile markers wrong”, and I thought…really? Like 10 miles in a row?  On a Certified Course?  Doubtful.  After the half the miles were more on-pace, but for me the damage was done.  I should not have run with the pace group.

I took Gu’s at miles 6,12,19.  I should have taken another at 22.  I took Salt Stick tabs at miles 10 and 18 (great stuff! the reason I didn’t cramp!).  Water at every stop, gatorade and water at every stop past mile 18.  By mile 20 I was overheated (the first half was completely shaded, the second half was not and it had risen from a shivering start to a seemingly sweltering 75 degrees) and suffering signs of dehydration: goosebumps, hot flashes, and thirst.  At mile 23, I just plain ran out of gas.  Any effort seemed like 100% effort and I walked uphills.  My legs felt great though and I had no problem making up some time on the downhills.  I had no cramping or tightness, but man did I want a rootbeer float.  I should have eaten some strawberries at mile 21, which were provided at an aid station, but I thought I would cramp.

Happy to Finish!

My Mom: Finisher.

I started focusing on making it up the hills and cruising the downhills, till the last mile or so which was flat and exposed and hot, which I simply completed.  I saw my family in our matching T-shirts and was so happy to finish in 3:46:47!  My legs still felt amazing, though fatigued, and after I crossed the finish line I realized I would subsequently lose a toenail and have a few blisters.  It also felt like someone had magically injected acid into my hips and hamstrings.  You know that feeling when you have the flu and your body just aches and you can’t get comfortable?  That’s what my hips and hamstrings felt like for about 45 minutes, but with stretching and food it passed : )

Our Dog Pack

 This was an improvement of 12 minutes over my first marathon (2005 Rock and Roll San Diego), and I am so happy to be injury-free!  I set my own training program and though I missed my 24 mile run due to a minor injury, I did make a 22, 2×21, and 2×20 mile runs over about 7 months.

I highly recommend this race!  Didn’t have to take off my clothes to check until the last minute (threw a bag into a truck just before the starting line), amazing views, wonderful city, great long-sleeve tech t-shirt, and I want to do it again!

In addition, now that I know I can complete a race and not feel like my leg is going to disassemble with 6 miles to go…I’m now thinking I want to do another marathon before it gets too cold.  I now understand how people become addicted to these things.  I know I can do better, and I can’t help but try.

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