Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge.....2 marathons, 2 coasts, 6 days......check! After our return from Boston on Tuesday, we drove up to Monterey for the Big Sur Marathon expo. We set up the running skirts booth Thursday and had some free time to check out the wharf and cannery row. We brought grandma along this trip so it was great family time!
Booth set up complete so we had time to relax and enjoy an awesome lunch on the Monterey wharf! or "wofe" if you say it like my Thomas the Train obsessed 2 year old. The hubby and I have a fun little game where we make each road trip location a place in his favorite dvds. For example: photo shoot in palm springs was a trip to "radiator springs" from the Disney Pixar Movie Cars. This time the Big Sur trip was a visit to "Sodor Wharf"! After our lunch we took a nice mile walk down the waterfront bike bath to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and did a quick visit before they closed for the day. Check out the jelly fish video!
Christy was back at skirt headquarters in San Diego trying to recover from a boston-induced chest cold before the 2nd marathon in 6 days. She was hoping to recover quickly and drive up Saturday afternoon for the marathon on Sunday. Unfortunately her chest cold and cough grew worse instead of better and she made a smart choice to say home. (boo for me!). She was so bummed I was still planning to run and she couldn't - as was I. During one phone conversation on Saturday a.m., she tried to talk me out of it...."you don't want to hurt yourself or do any permanent damage, maybe you shouldn't run". I'll admit it was a very very very tempting thought to sit out the marathon, but the "challenge" of it all was till hanging over my head and I had to at least try! The thought of doing a "changed my mind", "chickened out" or "dnf'd" video kept me in the game. Nothing like a good full mental & physical challenge!
I was working the booth solo - sans Christy as planned - and it was crazy busy. At one point - I had the hubby in the booth (in a skirt of course) to help "skirt" all the ladies for Big Sur. It was a frenzy, the ladies were laughing hysterically, taking photos and doing some heavy groping! I think he enjoyed it way more than he should of! If any of you have photos - please email em - I'd love some new blackmail material haha!
The 2nd day flew by and the next thing I new I was having my traditional (superstitious) post-race dinner (grilled fish, rice & asparagus) and dreading the 3:45 a.m. alarm clock! I was seriously doubtful that I'd finish the race - hearing the horror stories of all the hills didn't help. I carefully packed my sweat check bag (Arma style) tylenol, salt capsules, gloves, money for cab, blackberry, camera, bodyglide, extra gu, sharkies, kt tape....it was bulging at the seams. I wanted to be prepared with it all with the thought in the back of my mind that I might be discreetly leaving the course mid-run to call a cab.
As usual - I didn't get much sleep the night before the marathon. Regardless of the fact that I was absolutely weary and not nervous about getting a certain time, etc. I actually had those wierd dreams over and over again about waking up, getting dressed (making sure I used the restroom) and getting on the bus. AAAAAH! There's got to be a better way to quickly fall asleep before a race - do any of you have any non-pharmaceutical secrets?
Bing! Bing! Bing! the alarm went of at 3:45 and I quietly got up, quickly dressed in my planned fave skirt (fleurs) tank top & long sleeve with my Boston Hoody and off I went. I had a hard time deciding what shoes to wear Newtons or my heavy Mizuno trainers, and I opted for the trainers in light of the strained plantar.
The bus ride was long, dark & quiet as we made our winding way along Hwy 1 from Monterey to Big Sur. It was a little over an hour drive or so it seemed. As we arrived the sun was starting to rise and I received a warm greeting from the race announcer Rudy. "there's Cindy from Running Skirts getting off the bus to run her Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge!". So much for discretely leaving the course later.
As I made my way to the start line, I had the pleasure of chatting with tons of fellow "skirts" which really helped ease my nerves. I had no idea where to line up for this race, my only plan was to finish, cross the line and get my special medal & jacket! I decided to seed myself around the 3:30 pace group and start off slower.
As the first few miles flew by (mostly downhill) I became really nervous with my nagging sore right quad. All I could think about was the chance I'd cramp up (or "igor" as our friends from 10 mile wednesday fondly call it) later in the race like in Boston. When I caught sight of the Pacific Coastline, I was conveniently distracted by the sheer beauty of the beautiful blue ocean and the vibrant green mountains - it was breathtaking!
The miles seem to fly by quicker than last week in boston! The Big Sur Marathon course is pretty secluded as far as spectator support (they close the roads in the early morning and there is no way to get out there unless you live there), there was plenty of great entertainment along the course. Great school bands, a beautiful harpist, the famous pianist, japanese drummers and many many other great distractions were strategically located along the ever-so-hilly course!
Here's some more footage from the top of the largest incline toward Bixby Bridge above - and here I am below at the top of the hill
the final approach to Bixby bridge did not disappoint - you could hear the beautiful piano over the crashing of the waves hundreds of feet below. You'll never guess what song he was playing as I crossed the bridge.....the theme from Charlie Brown Peanuts! Awesome!
After passing the half way point, I knew the real work was ahead and I was cautiously optimistic that I might actually finish this challenge. I took some more salt capsules at the halfway point and along I plodded. The 3:40 pace group would pass me each time I stopped to take a quick video or photo and then I'd pass them again once I started back along the course.
Here I am at the 20 mile mark, I'll let the videos tell the rest of the story!
Resorting to some brief walk breaks as I climb the hills. Interesting enough, I'd keep passing the same runners as I started back running again - a little proof in the pudding for those wondering about the Galloway Method.
More entertainment along the course welcomed the runners as we approached the finish. Strawberry hill was a wonderful surprise - tables of fresh clean & cut strawberries! Yummy!
the final few miles weren't quite as painful and difficult as I had feared. Actually & suprisingly, they were much easier than Boston. Luckily I teetered on the brink of "igor-ing" but it never happened (thanks to the salt) and I finished fairly strong and with a big smile on my face. The hubby met me as I approached the finish line and ran me in. I think he just might have been more excited than me to see me cross the finish line (he had big doubts too!). It was an amazing finish - stunning race course and a beautiful day - I'll be back next year....with Christy of course! Who's joining us in the 2010 Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge?
Check out the footage of the special Boston2BigSur Challenge & Grizzled Vets finishers tent - posh digs complete with ice cold beer, delicious pastries, fruit and the hard-earned "special special" Boston 2 Big Sur finishers jackets & medals!
Celebrating with other challenge finishers:
Enjoying a refreshing therapeutic salt water soak post-marathon!