Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 Big Sur Marathon - Race Recap (*Hill Ninja vs Hurricane Pt.)

Date: April 29, 2012
Location: Big Sur to Monterey, CA
Start: 6:45am
Finish: 4:13:11

I have a crazy week ahead of me so this recap is going to be quick. Okay, let's go!

*My Ragnar teammates called me the Hill Ninja during Ragnar last weekend because I ran the Escondido and La Jolla hill legs. That and because they were picturing me doing somersaults over people as I ran up the hill. That never happened! Much. So this recap is about me versus the hill known as Hurricane Point.

So last year I ran the modified Big Sur Marathon course because part of the course on Highway 1 collapsed. They haven't quite finished fixing it yet but it is holding up for now so they decided to go back to the original course this year. So this is actually my first time running the original Big Sur Marathon course. So how do the two compare? The original course is a little bit harder than the modified course but thanks to my Ragnar training from last weekend, I did better this year than last. Six minutes better to be exact. I'll spare you the mile-by-mile split review because when I looked at my splits, I pretty much ran a 9:30 minute/mile pace the entire time. Faster on some parts and slower on the other parts (read: hills).

I drove up to Monterey on Friday with my entourage. Don't you all have entourages too? I never leave home without mine. We stopped into Taqueria Cuernavaca in Ventura for lunch. Small, tiny dive of a place with some amazing tacos.

We rolled into Monterey just after 5pm so I miss the expo for the day. So we went to eat some more. I will do a proper review of this place later on this week. I hope!

The next morning, I grabbed some breakfast before heading to the expo. Yes, I am eating real yogurt again now. Don't ask, seems that my stomach is okay with it for now.

It was early but the expo was already hella crowded.

Can you tell what's important to me?

I picked up my bib and really bright orange/pink neon shirt that I actually kinda like. Oh look my bib number was 2-4-6-8!

Then I went to do some exploring around Monterey. I have a ton of pictures from last year that I had not yet posted so I'm going to venture to say that this may very well be the only photo of my sightseeing trip that you will get to see.

I ate some more. If there is one thing that I am good at...it is carbo-loading. All day baby!

So I get up at the butt crack of dawn the next morning (aka 3am) to get ready to board a bus at 4am to the start of the race in Big Sur. It took an hour to get from Monterey to Big Sur. It took that long because it was so dark at that time of morning and there was like a million buses making their way there on a single highway lane in the dark. I'm glad I was not one of those drivers.

So we finally get to the starting area near the entrance to Pfeiffer National Park. It is still really dark and COLD! The runners' staging area is out in the open so there are thousands of runners sitting around everywhere trying to keep warm. Some even sleeping on the ground. They did have coffee, water, bananas and bagels but I had already eaten.

I took this photo about 10 minutes before the start of the race. I was in wave 2. I wore my sweats to the very last moment before I had to check them in. It was a good decision.

I don't know why but I walked all the way to the very back of the line and then slowly made my way back to wave 2. I only slept for 4 hours the night before, give me a break!

Nothing too exciting to note once the gun went off for wave 2. At least not for me. I just slowly ran with the goal to make it over Hurricane Point and run as much of the course as I could. See the line of runners ascending Hurricane Point? 

This was the start of the ascend for me. It didn't look so bad after running up that hill in Escondido in the middle of the night last weekend for Ragnar. Seriously, this was not cake but it was not as bad as I had imagined it to be.

So I took this photo of the Bixby Bridge once I was on the other side of Hurricane Point. See all that fog? It was really foggy. So foggy that it covered up most of the beautiful scenery that the Big Sur Marathon is known for. I was sad. Plus it was so SO windy. 

Even Bart Yasso thought so and that guy knows what he is talking about.

Hello Michael! I heard your beautiful music from a mile away.

So I don't have any photos from the race yet but it would look something like this. Don't you run marathons in jeans too?

I love you Big Sur Marathon ceramic medal! Yes you made me work hard to earn you but that a$$-kickin' I got on those hills that lined your lovely course is the kind of tough love that only you can bring. And when it comes down to it, I don't really mind having to get up at 3am, having my a$$ handed to me on Hurricane Point, almost getting blown off the course (I'm a small girl, have mercy) or even that hill you decide to put at mile 25, because there really is nothing like running on the edge of the western world! Nothing!


giraffy said...

Goooooo hill ninja!!

That's freaking beautiful.

Anonymous said...


Glenn Jones said...

Verrrrrrry niiiiice!

ilovesteaks said...

2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate?! :)
I still need to run this race. Congratulations on beating your time from last year!

BikramYoginiRunner said...

BIG congrats! Love the pics and your bib#. I want to run Big Sur next year. Wondering how it is spectator-wise ??

Madison said...

BikramYoginiRunner: I'm afraid this course is not really spectator friendly. My cheering squad always just waits for me at the finish line. It would be difficult to spectate unless you stayed at a hotel along the course.

Kathy said...

Congrats on finishing Big Sur! I was there too - what a surreal experience! How did you get such a fabulous number?? Love it! I enjoyed your photos - brings the race back to me too!!

SJ said...

Very good run! I hear those hills are killer! But you still rock those hills!!!