Sunday, May 8, 2011

Big Sur Race Report

I know that there have been scores of readers waiting with baited breath for this RR, so here it is, and what a doozy. On Friday, I got off of work early to go to the expo. I spent about an hour or so there; long enough to get my bib, tag, etc. I got a great deal on a new watch, swung by the RW booth where I got to briefly meet Tish Hamilton, Susan, and Bart Yasso. Forgot to get an autograph, whoops...

On Saturday, I got to take my last little shakedown run; 2.5 miles. It went really well, and then all H3!! broke loose. I get home and DW says that Boy#3 is congested and not feeling well. Boys #1 and 2 started getting sick, so between chasing/caring for kids, doing dinner, and so forth, I went to bed at midnight. Ugh.

I got up at 2:30am so I could get to Monterey and the bus (definately regretting the decision to not go for a hotel). The upshot to the drive was I got to listen to the Beatification Mass for John Paul II. JP2 was a big inspiration for me growing up, and I was very happy to listen to the ceremonies from Rome.

I eventually got on the bus, and was transported to the magical place that is Marathon Village. Yes, we were in a parking lot at 4am in Carmel. Let’s say that the most popular place was the Safeway near the staging area. I got to the official, sanctioned staging area soon enough, and munched my bagel and coffee.

We got the orders to go to the starting corrals, and I soon found myself at the back of Corral A. Since I had put down my ultimate goal of sub-4:00, I was in Corral A for possibly the only time in my running career. I chatted up a nice lady in the corral with me, and before we knew it we were off!

Mile 1: 10:10, a little slow, but a nice warmup. Up the first hill.

Miles 2-10: Magnificent. Up and down the hills of the Carmel Highlands, and out to Big Sur. it was clear, sunny, cool, just gorgeous! I even logged a 7:47 mile at one point. I was chatting with a few people, life was good. On pace for a 3:50ish finish.

Mile 11: Started to slow a bit, I took this a sign that I need to switch to an energy conservation mode, took GU, tucked in. (10:25)

Miles 12-13: not bad, but feeling tired. Hit the 13.1 turnaround mark at 1:57, still on pace for a sub four.

Miles 14-15: Not bad, feeling slower, but the miles are manageable 10:15, 10:26.

Miles 16-26.2: WALL! Noooooo! What is this thing??? I go to a walk to try to regroup. I started running again at mile 17, and did a run/walk mix to get to the finish.

Low point was at mile 23, in the middle of the Highlands; I stopped at a bridge, strectched my calves (they were like rocks), and leaned over the bridge. I decided that even though I felt horrible, I was going to finish this mess. I have done fence work on the ranch with a full pack on for six or seven miles, had trained for this race, and I was going to finish, even if I had to drag my inert carcass over the line. Resume the walk/jog.

Miles 24 and 25 were through Point Lobos State Reserve. if you are ever in the Monterey Bay Area, you must go there. It was just gorgeous, sunny, the water was sapphire blue and calm. It motivated me to run most of this stretch.

I got out of Pt. Lobos, and made it to the finish. The last 20 yards, I put my hands up in the air, closed my eyes, and went for it. Official time: 5:00:31. Dad was waiting for me at the finish line. Dad is not the most demonstrative person going, so hearing him say, “I’m proud of you,” made me very happy.

I went into his race with a few goals: I met two of them (finishing and beating my time of 5:27 from 2007). I did not beat the 3:59 of my friend, but I will have more chances. There is no point in going into some the mean, dark places my mind went for awhile. Mike probably would have smiled, told me not to worry, and ask if I wanted a beer. While I was on that bridge in the Highlands, I decided that this was not my last marathon. In fact, I want to do Big Sur agian next year. There are a couple of pikermis (half-marathons) in the area between now and then.

There are a couple of things that went wrong: 1) trying to do 26.2 miles on 2 hours sleep is not a good idea, 2) I should have gotten more than 1-17.5 miler as a long run, 3) I really need to drop about 20#. At any rate, it was a beautiful day on the Pacific Coast, and I will do better next time.

A couple of photos:
At about mile 8, don’t I look happy?

Finish line in sight, thank heavens!

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