My treat after Boston, the Big Sur Marathon!
We flew home early Tuesday morning (the day after Boston) and I actually felt pretty good. Tuesday night I did 30 minutes (2 miles) on the elliptical and soaked/stretched for 10 minutes in a hot tub at the Y.
Wednesday I woke up feeling like I'd been run over by a truck. Seriously got worried I might not be able to finish in 6 hours on Sunday. I got a massage late morning and felt better.
Thursday I spent the whole day flying out to Monterey, CA. Got to my hotel at 5 pm California time (that's 8 pm Indy time) and couldn't decide if I was more tired or hungry. Finally mustered up the energy to get off the bed and wandered down to Fisherman's Wharf which was about a quarter mile from the hotel. My taxi driver had told me all the restaurants on Fisherman's Wharf had free clam chowder samples so people could walk down the wharf and sample it all before deciding on where to eat. It was one restaurant after another on the wharf. I sampled three little cups of chowder which gave me the energy to make a decision on where to eat. Settled on The Old Fisherman's Grotto where I got a salad and an appetizer sampler.
Made it through the shrimp and crab cake, then wanted to take a nap in my calamari so the server boxed it up for me to go and sent me out with a long-stem rose. I think I'm going to love Monterey...
Friday I planned to run some shake out miles but it was raining when I woke up. So... leftover calamari, hot tea, and some Nutrigrain bars that I had brought along for breakfast and then caught up on email. Rain stopped around 9 am so I went on my run along the coastal trail. It was gorgeous. Thankfully, my legs were no longer sore either. I actually wanted to run further so I could look around some more but I could still feel the fatigue in my legs so I stopped at 3 miles.
Lunch was at a wonderful crepery called Crepes of Brittany, then it was off to the race Expo to pick up my bib and look around. I actually got "trapped" at the Expo for quite some time because it started to pour rain again while I was there so I stayed until the rain let up. Then, it was back to the hotel across the street to rest a bit, then back to the Expo to meet up with Sole Sister Abbie who was also running the marathon and staying with me on Saturday night.
More down time after that so I made a quick trip to the hotel hot tub to soak and stretch. Had a great dinner at Paluca Trattoria, then more resting in the room until my friend John got into town. He wanted to run Big Sur with me but didn't get drawn in the lottery so he drove down from Napa to hang out with me all weekend instead. We sat down in the hotel bar for awhile, catching up and discussing what runs we should do together over the next couple years... which we'll disclose after we tell our spouses.
Saturday morning John and I walked down to the Monterey Plaza Hotel to eat breakfast. The sun was out and the views of Monterey Bay were like out of National Geographic. We saw sea lions basking in the sun and sea otters swimming in the water. During breakfast I saw dolphins porpoising out of the water. After breakfast we saw whales leaping out of the water. It was a bit surreal.
Walking back towards the Expo, we met a man named Michael Sinkoski. He had stopped us because John had on a Western States T-shirt and he wanted to know whether we had done the race. We ended up having a pretty long discussion with him as he had run Western States several times in the 1980's (even ran sub 24 hours) and shared quite a bit of ultra running history with us (the guy is 63).
At 10 am, we went to a seminar by Jeff Galloway. We thought it was going to be about injury prevention tips but he ended up talking about his Run-Walk method instead. It was actually very interesting. Jeff Galloway is now 70. He looks like he's about 50. He said he and his wife were planning to use the Run-Walk method on Sunday to run a 5:15 marathon, alternating running for 90 seconds with walking for 30 seconds. I filed that away in my brain. If I totally crashed and burned on Sunday I would try to stay with Galloway's group if they overtook me.
After Galloway's seminar, it was time to eat again. Yup, John and I both love food. We ended up at Sushi Moto. And no, I was not brave enough to eat raw sushi the day before a marathon. John ate raw sushi. I had Udon noodles.
At 1 pm we went to a Strength Training for Runners seminar put on by Fitz Koehler. She's a former kick boxer who now has a Master's in Exercise Science. Basically the woman's a badass who knows her stuff. She has a blog at www.fitzness.com and showed us a runner's strength routine - video link of this routine is also on her blog HERE. (I know this because John looked it up and did it Sunday morning, then ran 10 miles on the hotel treadmill while waiting for me to finish my marathon.)
Back to the Expo tent to look around after that since John didn't get to look around yesterday. Might I add at this point that this is why we like to hang out together. Our families would have died of boredom by now if we'd dragged them around with us all day.
At the Expo
At 4 pm we went to see Dean Karnazes speak. His talk was suppose to be on Tips for B2B Runners. Instead, it was all about him... he was such a pompous a**hole that about a quarter of the audience walked out after about 10 minutes. Not informative at all. He wanted questions, but then when he got them, it was all about him. For example, someone asked how endurance athletes prevent overuse injuries. His answer was that HE had never had an injury. Puhleeez....
All the B2B runners (that were left) after the talk were asked to get on the stage for a group photo.
Dean's the guy in the white tank
After Dean's talk it was back to the hotel to meet Abbie, then the three of us went to Café Fina for dinner. It was bedtime for us girls after that.
"us-ie" by Abbie
Sunday. Race day. Up at 3:15 am and on the bus by 4 am.
Let me tell ya, going to the starting line I about decided I was never going to do this race again. The bus ride about killed me. I get motion sick. I don't do buses. I really don't do buses that lumber along winding roads that go up and down for miles and miles. It took an hour to get to the start at Big Sur. I could not get off that bus fast enough!
I was fine as soon as I got off the bus. Then it was nine million trips to the port-a-potty. I think I overdid my hydration this week trying to recover. Race time. I spotted Magdalena Boulet, last year's Western States women's winner, on the roadway just in front of the starting line as we lined up on Highway 1. I figured she would win the women's race. She did.
So what was my race strategy? A) see what 10 minute pace feels like, B) maybe a 4:30 race but probably not since that's pretty much what I ran in Boston and this is a tougher course, C) less than 5 hours would be wonderful, D) try stay with Jeff Galloway, and E) don't get picked up by the SAG wagon - there is a strict 6 hour time limit for this race.
Mile 1 - 9:49. Feels pretty good.
Mile 2 - 12:59. OMG, I had to pee again. I spotted some port-a-potties right after the 1 Mile marker. Might as well go now before I get sweaty and uncomfortable. I had to stand in line with four people in front of me.
Mile 3 - 9:00. Probably shouldn't be running this fast but I feel like the whole world just ran past me.
Mile 4 - 9:27. Still probably going faster than I should.
Mile 5 - 9:27. Same. Also want to add that there are no flat places to run on this road! The whole highway slants one way or the other, depending on which way it is curving around. I ran on the dirt shoulder as much as I could since that was the flattest spot I could find. Never mind running tangents. I wanted to save my legs.
Mile 6 - 9:38. I'm in a good rhythm now. The scenery is AMAZING. Giant redwoods have given way to vast pastures and you can see the ocean. Point Sur lighthouse is off in the distance.
Point Sur Lighthouse
Mile 7 - 10:04. I catch up to the 4:30 pacer. Plan is to stay with her so I don't get in trouble.
Mile 8 - 10:15
Mile 9 - 10:18
Mile 10 - 9:44. Rut roh... I got ahead of the pacer on the downhill before Hurricane Point. Just before the uphill are the Taiko Drummers. You can hear their drum beats as you climb Hurricane Point.
Mile 11 - 12:08. Yup, 4:30 pacer is running by... The wind is just incredible. I suppose that's why this is called Hurricane Point. The wind never let up for the rest of the race. I heard the following day that this was the second windiest race on record.
Mile 12 - 11:32. Jeff Galloway had advised on walking segments of the race, especially early on, and especially on the uphills. I was so paranoid I was going to hit the wall later in the race that I decided to take this advice. Walk, count to 30, then start running again... Did that on a lot of the uphills.
Mile 13 - 9:53. The iconic Bixby Bridge is the halfway point of the race. On the far side of the bridge sits tuxedo clad Michael Martinez, playing a grand piano, his music amplified all over the bridge.
Mile 14 - 10:15
Mile 15 - 12:51. I've set a new race record now. I had to stop a SECOND time to use the port-a-potty. I'm thinking I get a 4 minute handicap or something for all my stops!
Mile 16 - 10:48
Mile 17 - 10:34
Mile 18 - 11:21
Mile 19 - 11:50
Mile 20 - 11:45
Mile 21 - 11:44
Mile 22 - 11:26. Pretty much ran along mile after mile taking in the amazing views. Tons of people were stopping to take pictures with their phones. I'm not a picture taking person while I run so all the course photos here were from elsewhere on the web. There's actually a great virtual tour of the race HERE.
Mile 23 - 10:41. Little over 5K to go and I've come to the conclusion that I'm not going to bonk and I've still got speed left in my legs.
Mile 24 - 10:33
Mile 25 - 9:46. The only hard part about running at this point was that everyone else around me was walking.
Mile 26 - 10:07. I was kicking for home when John tried to snap a photo and missed... so I stopped for him.
Official finish time - 4:41:19
Earned my finisher's jacket!