Now, for those of you who wants to hear the rest of the details (that would be oh about 3 of you, maybe)... here we go.
The weekend started off great, weather was great and we both felt good about the race. Originally, it was just me racing on Sunday. But via Twitter and Bart Yasso (@bartyasso), I was able to snag a comp entry for Duane. I was thrilled, we could experience Big Sur together. I knew it was going to be a tough race for Duane since he didn't train. But the last few half marathons he ran, he didn't train and still pulled out a sub 2 hour finish! So I thought he could do it. I was concerned, though. We've all heard of men who die on marathon courses? Well, he's in that age category. So we told ourselves that we were going to take it easy and just have fun. No need to push hard.
Half way down the trip to Big Sur, which is about 2 hours away... we ran out of gas. Literally. We knew we were low on gas but we had so much fun talking that we totally forgot. (Note to Duane: See? If I was on Twitter and tweeting, you might have remembered to get gas!!)
Thankfully, we rolled to a stop about 200 yard away from a gas station as we tried to glide off the exit ramp... And quickly, D was able to get a gallon of gas.
Duane in action!
We were on our way again! Yay!! We got go the marathon expo in time to meet up with our pals Shelly, Michael, RoadBunner and Dennis... Although, I only remembered to get pic with Shelly! The expo was packed, there were supposedly about 10,000+ runners that were doing the marathon, relay and various other distances. We picked up our bibs, shirts and shuttle passes and checked into our hotel.
D and I finally went to bed around 10:30pm ... and totally Zzzzz'd.Shelly & me at the Expo
Shelly, who just ran the Boston Marathon 6 days before is a champ. She could down beers the night before and still pull out sub 8 min avg pace marathons. Craaazy. She's my hero.
Dinner was awesome! Really yummy food at Cantinetta Luca in Carmel. I just have to remember that their pasta portions are TINY! I was content but... when Shelly said she was meeting her friend Greg at the Knuckles bar at our hotel, I couldn't say no!
Next morning, or rather 4 hours later, we were up and at it. Here's my race outfit... Although, it was so cold, I ended up running with my long sleeve the entire race. Btw, I found some great deals on Priceline.com for the Hyatt at Monterey... for about $130 a night. They normally go for $350+! Needless to say, I was very happy with the deal and the beautiful hotel.
Here's me at 3:30 am all gussied up for the marathon!
Big Sur International Marathon is a point to point race, starting from the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park running along the scenic Highway 1 and finishes in Carmel. Now, in order to bus the thousands of runners the race shuttle starts at butt crack of dawn. We caught the 4am bus to the windy Highway 1 freeway. One perk (if you call it that) of waiting for the race to start is that they have coffee, hot chocolate and bagels for the runners. It was SO cold, I regretted wearing shorts!! Brrr.Dennis at the start line!
So the race started at 6:45am and we crossed the start line a few moments after. We started with the 3:40 pace group because Shelly and Dennis are fast! But soon after, the 4:10 pace group caught up to us. We stayed with the 4:10 pace group until about mile 10 when I *had* to go to the bathroom. Apparently, I didn't finish all the business before the start!!!!
Um, of course, I picked the Port-a-Potties near the Taiko drummers and it felt really odd. I could feel the drum beats while I was "going"! Oh and did I mention how windy it was? I was scared the Port-a-Potty was going to tip over!!
The Taiko Drummers (Pretty cool!)Immediately after this, Hurricane Point faced us. Look at this elevation chart for the big elevation change. (Click on the chart for a bigger version.)
We went from 100 ft to 600 ft of HILL, over 2 miles! Talk about a tough climb. Up until this point, we were doing ok. Even with Duane's non-training we were still able to pull out a 2:20 half marathon split time. If it wasn't for the darn Hurricane Point, we would have a much more decent half split time. We thought he might even PR! Anyway, this is where things stated to go downhill for Duane. Literally. His knees started to hurt and so did his old Achilles Heel injury. The downhills hurt his knee so bad, he had to walk gingery most of the time... Poor guy. I thought he was being a wimp and I got mad at him. Oops.
Hurricane PointBart Yasso once said that if you do one marathon in your life time, it should be Big Sur. (Or something like that...) Anyway, I could see why that is so. The course is breathtakingly beautiful, with the beatiful Pacific Ocean to the left hugging the coast of Big Sur! But then, it's a super challenging course, with lots of hills and elevation change of 600 feet!
How do you think I got up this high??
Right around the half way point is the famous Bixby Bridge piano player... You can hear it from about a mile away and it's the most beautiful sound! Although, I've anticipating getting to this point for so long that it was a bit anticlamatic when we walked by this guy...
Around mile 16, Duane was wiped out. The no-training was starting to really show it's ugly head. We got passed up by the 4:30 pace group a while back and even the 5:00 pace group. *sigh* Soon after, another pace group caught up with us. Jeff Galloway's pace group. I overheard people saying Galloway promised a 5 hour-ish finish, if you followed his 1:1 method. Run 1 minute and walk 1 minute. I've heard of the Galloway method before but never really understood. Michael is a die-hard Gallway runner and you can read more about his adventures on his blog. We were really excited about the opportunity to run with the famous marathoner, Olympian and author! I was too shy to ask for a photo with him but I definitely got a pic of his back. LOL!
Too bad something got in the way!
So pretty!! Seriously, worth the pain. Duane and I walked a lot. We stopped a lot, too. We definitely took our time and enjoyed the scenery. And took pictures, too. Lots of them!
We tried taking lots of our own... but as you can see above, it didn't always come out well. A nice couple that we ran with for a while (who were also walking) offered to take our photo! So nice. :-)
Too bad something got in the way!
We ran with Jeff Galloway's group for a long time. For a good 4 miles anyway. I definitely noticed that it was easier to walk and run! Duane's knee on the other hand, didn't like the stopping and starting again... So we walked. Starting mile from about mile 21 we walked, all the way to the finish. I thought about going ahead and leaving Duane behind but misery loves company and he wouldn't have been in that misery if it wasn't me. I felt responsible and well, at that point, I had kissed a sub 5 hour finish good bye. Might as well stick together, right? And, honestly, I was happy to walk, too. Marathons are no joke. I don't know why I never remember the painful parts of the marathon when I sign up for these!
Cool mile markers!
Yeah, so it wasn't my best marathon. But with my 8th marathon under my belt, I'm glad for the experience. You know what they say, a marathon humbles you. Well, not only did the Big Sur Marathon humble me but it totally kicked my butt. Duane and I talked about what a tough course it was but so unique and beautiful. We will definitely be back. Next year, I am going to conquer Hurricane Point!
This elderly couple passed us a few times... for the last time around mile 24! At this point, I was hoping to finish under the alotted 6 hour time for the race.My Big Sur International Marathon experience was ... definitely long. We finally crossed the finish line at 5:35:28. And painful, too. Because of the downhill runs, I ended up gripping my toes and the balls of my feet against the shoe soles too much. And ended up with some gnarly blisters again. And I realized no matter how slow we ran or walked, 26.2 miles is just LONG time to be on your feet. I was so tired!
Here's our medal. It's made out of ceramic!