There are some races you run for time. Big Sur is not one of them. I came to the start line of Big Sur with camera in hand. My goal was to savor every moment. I accomplished that and ran every mile with a smile on my face. I ran up every mountain/hill. I never hit the wall. It was fantastic!
The challenge of Big Sur began with the early wake up call. I was assured by one of the race directors at the expo that their bus system was flawless and he did not oversell it. I woke up at 2:30 and my husband dropped me off at the bus in Downtown Monterey at 3:30. There was NO TRAFFIC getting to the drop off zone. I have run over 32 races and that has never happened. I walked right onto the bus. The bus took us to Carmel and at that point it began to drive the course in reverse. Even though it was pitch black outside, it was clear that terrain was tough. The bus finally arrived at the start line around 4:45. That left an hour and a half to wait at the start. It was cold. I wore a throw away sweatshirt but no throw away pants. Big mistake! I did not get the memo that everyone brings crazy gear to the start. People wore down jackets and pants. One woman was warm and cozy in a one person sleeping bag. I made a mental note that if I run this race again, I too will bring warmer clothes to the start.
View of the start line, Big Sur Station.
The first 5 or so miles are downhill. I took it easy on the pace but it was difficult to hold back. Around mile 5/6, one of the Clif pace leaders said “Feel that??? There is no headwind”. Well, she should not have said that because not a mile later the wind came straight at us. To be honest with you, it did not matter. I was so happy to be running along the coast in one of the most beautiful places in the world that I just tucked into a pace group and drafted behind a few taller people. From that point on, the wind came and went. At times it was severe (like knock you over severe), other times it was nonexistent.
Absolutely gorgeous morning. Mile 9ish
Nearing the top of Hurricane Point. Between Mile 11/12
View after crossing the Bixby Creek Bridge. Mile 13
Me near the famous piano man at mile 13.1 (he happened to be playing Piano Man when I ran up for a pic). I have no idea how the random tourists got there since the roads were closed.
Before the race I was told not to barrel down the hills and I heeded that warning. My quads thanked me and I was able to keep an even pace up the hills during the second half. I felt great!
At the finish line, instead of a crazy feeding frenzy, each person was given their own individual bag full of fruit, bagel, and juice. After I received my bag, I walked straight to the bus, for which I waited less than 5 minutes. I was dropped off in downtown Monterey without incident.
This race is my new favorite, not because of a PR*, but because from start to finish, it is a well oiled machine. Everyone involved with the race with was friendly and helpful. It did not feel like a typical marathon and more like the Ultra (in the sense that it is all about the community). I LOVED everything about Big Sur. It is a definitely must see/do!
*My slowest race in 2 years, 4:52. Not bad considering I stopped for 78 pictures. lol
Thank you to team lagirlontherun for all of the tumblr love. I love and appreciate each and every one of you. XOXOXO