Tuesday, May 13, 2014

2014 Big Sur International Marathon Race Report and Video

Holly's report from Big Sur:

When I ran my first marathon, Chicago in 2005, I remember walking around the expo and seeing all the booths advertising different races. I came upon the booth for the Big Sur Marathon. The pictures looked stunning. I thought to myself that if I ever did another marathon I would like to do that one. It took me 26 marathons to get to it, but I finally did get to it.

The reason I kept putting it off was I was scared. Scared of the hills that everyone talked about. I live in Illinois, home of the flattest land around. I have been doing some hillier marathons and was gaining some confidence, but I was still terrified of this one. I finally bit the bullet and registered on a whim last summer. Rudy Novotny posted on Facebook that registration was opening the next day. I remember thinking about it that morning and I wasn’t even sure when it opened. I clicked on the link and registered myself. I even bought the insurance, which I never do, because my Plantar Fasciitis was really bad at that point and I really had no business registering for any more races. Turns out the race sold out in under an hour. I was lucky. Apparently it was meant to be.

I'll just say that I was more nervous for this marathon than any other. They have a hard 6 hour cutoff time and the elevation chart looks like this:

This does not even accurately reflect the number of hills on the second half of the course. I had done A LOT of hill work to prepare for this and felt after the very hilly Georgia Marathon that I was ready.

Race morning started with a 2:45 wake up call. Eddie and I were running the full marathon and Dave was running the 10.6. Eddie and I had to catch a bus at 3:30 and Dave was lucky to get to sleep in and catch a bus at 5:45. Big Sur is a point to point course so the bus ride is the 26.2 miles you will be running. I tried to close my eyes because I didn’t want to see anything. However I could hear the bus struggling to get up the hills so the nerves were kicking into high gear. We got up to Big Sur Station around 5:00am. We had two hours to wait in the dark and cold. I was somewhat prepared with throwaway clothes and trash bags. I gave one to Eddie since he was not somewhat prepared. We waited in the longest port-o-potty line ever and finally made it to the start area. We both got nice shout outs from the nicest race announcer around, Mr. Rudy Novotny, and we were off running.

The first 6 miles or so were down a steep hill. We were going too fast, but it was impossible not to. I was worried, but I didn’t know what else to do. When it did flatten out, I noticed my legs were not all that fresh. Not a good sign for the day. I chalked up to more nerves and enjoyed the scenery. We finally got a look at the hill that takes you up to Hurricane Point. It honestly didn’t look bad from a distance. Yes it was 2 miles long, but it didn’t look that steep. The Japanese drummers were drumming us up the hill and we were doing ok. Then it started getting steep. Whew! We switched the intervals here. We went from run 2 minutes walk 1 minute to walk 2 minutes run 1 minute. It really helped and we still maintained a good pace up the hill. Once to the top the view was spectacular! We switched our intervals back and went downhill for 2 miles across the famous Bixby Bridge. Eddie got mad at me when I said “I hope there isn’t an earthquake right now” as we were crossing the bridge.

After the bridge was the famous Grand Piano playing guy. It was surreal! We were now half way through the race and I was feeling relieved as the worst was over according to the elevation chart. Our pace was good as well, 2:41. The next few miles were ok, the views were spectacular but I was starting to tire. The race said that they would have fruit at the aid stations after mile 10.8 and I was counting on that for some energy. We didn’t find any until around mile 18. Best orange slice ever. I also started getting a cramp in my right calf. In all my races I have never had this happen. Not FUN! Eddie managed to scrounge me up the nastiest looking banana that I happily ate to help with the cramp. It did work. The course did not flatten out. It was one steep hill after another. We switched to 1:1. Then finally to: let’s walk up the hills and run the downhills. At the end I was so tired, I would say, let’s run to the tree. It was rough and my whining was EPIC. Thanks Eddie for sticking with me.

I was so happy to get to the finish line. Rudy did an amazing job of calling us in and I felt like a rock star. We finished in 5:49 and I’m happy with that time. It was a big positive split and I knew it would be. My only goal was to finish in under 6 hours and to enjoy the views. I did both. It was the most scenic marathon I have ever done. If I ever go back, (I highly doubt it), I would put in even more hill work. It was a really fun weekend and a beautiful area of the country. State 21 is finished!!

Here is our race video from the day, followed by Eddie's video. In our video you'll see more of the 10.6 miler race course (the back portion of the full course) since Dave participated in that event mainly to film and sight-see. We'll have that report in a future post.

1 comment:

  1. I think this makes me want to do this not be scared to do it!