Big Sur Marathon Recap

I’m not completely sure how I got it in my mind that I wanted to run Big Sur, but October of last year I took the plunge and signed up.  According to the amazing Bart Yasso, this is one of the most beautiful marathons in the world so how could I miss out on that?  It didn’t really hit me until January that I should probably pick up my training again so I could run another marathon.

Unfortunately, due to my ridiculous schedule, I wasn’t able to train perfectly.  Classes were hectic and I didn’t get in all of my runs.  Fast forward to last week and I finally sorted out my schedule for the race (nothing like saving things to the last minute…).  No, I wasn’t trained properly, but I knew that I could finish within the six hour time limit.  As Saturday morning approached, I gathered a large pile of running accessories and began to pack.

While there was a slight snafu as to where I would be staying Saturday morning, I was able to find room and board to guarantee I wouldn’t have to crash on the floor of someone’s hotel room.  (Thank goodness.)  So I traveled down to Monterey for the expo where I thoroughly enjoyed Bart’s seminar (we’re besties now) and started to get properly nervous.  Somehow it didn’t occur to me that I had to wake up at ungodly early to get down to the start line, something to take note of before race day.

After a fantastic dinner with some great runners, Layla and I returned to our quaint hotel room and proceeded to get ready for bed.  I attempted to fall asleep at 9pm, but that just wasn’t going to happen.  Eventually I fell asleep and just as quickly got back up at 2:30am to prepare.  An hour long bus ride later, Karin, Layla, and I found ourselves hanging out in a ridiculous crowd of people at the start line.  And it was still way too early to be awake.  Check out one of the awesome port-a-potty signs.

It wasn’t until I crossed the start line that I realized what I was about to do.  Alright, maybe that is a lie, it probably wasn’t until mile five or so that I fully understood what I had gotten myself into.  The first few miles were great, my legs were feeling wonderful and I felt on top of the world.  That is until we reached mile six and the wind began.  It was truly a wind tunnel between miles six and nine.  Then at mile ten we started another windy two mile ascent to Hurricane Point.

I think it was at this point that I started to slow down (for the first time at least).  The wind really attacked me and I couldn’t keep up the pace.  But I was enjoying myself.  I found some individuals on my path and used them as pace rabbits.  What I love about runners is how nice (most) are.  I began running beside two gentleman who were using the Galloway method and we discussed our marathon aspirations.  They were great to pace me for a bit, but then I left them on a downhill and never saw them again.

Most of the last ten miles was a blur, I was just enjoying the scenery and talking to random strangers.  The one that intrigued me the most was a gentleman following a 30 seconds running, 30 seconds walking Galloway strategy.  Somehow he was beating me and I couldn’t comprehend it.  This really made me reconsider my running technique, perhaps I’ll try walk/run while training for San Francisco in July.

And then there it was, the finish line!  As I approached the line I decided it was in my best interest to start sprinting, this didn’t lend itself well for finish line photos, but I did pass a few individuals in my final kick.

In retrospect I would do many things different with my training.  I know that I can run a marathon faster than I have these past three times, so I need to rework my strategy.  My goal for May is to focus on speed work.  I’m going back to the track and doing HIIT workouts at least two to three times a week.  I’m hoping to PR at San Francisco in July and potentially do even better in Philadelphia in November.

Sorry about my hiatus from the blogosphere, I’ve missed you all very much.  Now tell me, how is your running going?

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About Michelle

I'm an engineer living (and running) in Palo Alto, CA.

Posted on May 2, 2012, in Running and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. The drums as you approach Hurricane point were my favorite — awesome that you grabbed such great photos. The first few miles of that race are gorgeous. I’m glad you were able to see them before the fog/wind. Congrats on finishing a fabulous race.

    I use the run/walk method and have been since the beginning. Started with 4/1 run walk and am now at (around) 9/1. On race day, I run a mile, then walk a minute. Sort of gives me that goal, run this mile, then walk a bit. On shorter runs I may just run the whole thing, but the run/walk has done wonders for me.

  2. Congrats on finishing Big Sur! The pictures look positively gorgeous.

    Wind is pretty much my arch-nemisis right now. A nasty head-wind off Lake Michigan totally destroyed me in mile 24 this past Saturday. I wanted to cry as I was walking through most of mile 25.

    I trained for the WI half last year using the Galloway method, and it really is an effective way to go. My friend and I managed to maintain just under a 12 minute mile pace using 5 minute run/ 1 minute walk intervals It definitely helps keep you energized throughout the race.

  3. I hate run/walk. It makes me a faster runner, but I have no patience for keeping track of my intervals. Anyways, I’m just excited to be back to running. Congrats on another marathon in the books!

  1. Pingback: Change of Plans « The Running Jewess

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