Back when I was still living in Virginia I signed up for The Big Sur Half Marathon mainly for two reasons.
- To keep myself accountable as far as continuing to run once we moved
- Because its one of America’s most beautiful half marathons
Mission completed. I’m still running and it truly was an absolutely beautiful run. Here’s my recap of the weekend:
Late Friday night I decided last minute to run the Lighthouse 5k on Saturday morning. The 5k is part of the Half Marathon weekend and because well why not right? Back in VA there are plenty of events with multiple races on the same weekend. Why not make one for myself. The course is a short walk from my house and my youngest would be there for the annual Cub Scout pancake breakfast. So bright and early Saturday I made my way down to Lover’s Point and signed up at walk up registration. I decided to use this flat beautiful course as a shakeout run, nice and easy. It was a perfect cool sunny morning for a run along the beautiful coast. In the end I was pleasantly surprised that I completed my shakeout at a pace I use to struggle to complete a 5k at. Could those training hills be working? Or did I go too fast and possibly jeopardize my half? Eeek!
I met up with a few fellow Sub 30 Club friends who came to town for the Half Marathon. We had dinner in downtown Monterey with some great food and conversation. It’s funny how runners can just meet up and talk for hours and hours isn’t it? Awesome peeps! Highlight of the night, we each got to sign one of the famous Sub 30 Flags. The flag is being sent all around the country to subbers for good luck and comradery from the main group of almost 4,000 running buddies. What a great boost for Sunday’s race!
I had plan A, plan B and the no fail plan C for Sunday’s half.
- Plan A – shoot for a new PR of at least one minute
- Plan B – shoot for an even better PR
- Plan C – if it doesn’t happen, enjoy the ride!
California has brought me some new running buddies along with lots of hills to train on. Hills are something that are hard to find in Virginia Beach. So for the past 4 months I have learned the love/hate relationship of running them. Oh and Palo Corona, which is more of a mountain really. But I digress, in my mind if I have been running all these hills then they must have a pay off at some point. At least I sure hoped so! Thus my quest for a new PR.
The half itself is run like a well oiled machine. The folks at BSIM (Big Sur International Marathon) sure know what they are doing. Everything from packet pick up and the shuttles to/from the race were easy to find and navigate. Volunteers were plentiful on the course as were water / Gatorade etc. I even had the joy of having my oldest volunteering on the course! Getting a hug (and some water) at around mile 8-9 from my son was amazing 🙂 The course has a few uphill climbs, but nothing close to what I have trained on so I did fine. There was live music and DJ’s along the course, and post race grub was also plentiful. But the real winner of the race… the views along the course.
I was blessed to bump into one of my Wednesday night running buddies in he starting corral. I told her about my hopes to PR, she graciously volunteered herself and her husband to pace me for my goal. Saki is awesome, and a machine, for real.
And by the way her husband is an awesome pacer! The two of them had just come off a 10 mile trail run the previous day and were taking it easy for the half (lucky for me!) Her PR for this course is a 2:01! So we decided on a plan of staying with the pace group for the first half and then seeing how I felt at the turnaround. *Except for a quick stop (yes I failed and got in the corral to early and had to pee!! Ughh.) We stayed with the pacers until just after the turnaround. side note: If that port-o-potty stop had cost me my PR I would probably never forgive myself. After the turnaround (just about mile 7 1/2) we slowly and steadily we made our surge.
Mile 10 is usually my hardest mile, and this half was no different. I started with my self-doubt. “I can’t PR, I have to walk blah, blah, blah, etc” Then I started to hear the pacer’s voice from the group we had broken away from. I may have used a few choice words, which I shall not repeat here, out loud and decided “That’s it!” “I do not want to hear them again!” Off I went. Did you know being mad really can make you faster? I thought about God, my Mom and my I run 4 buddy Logan. I wanted to do this for all of them and myself. I kept repeating their names in my head. Saki paced me until sometime around mile 10 1/2 – 11 and then sent me on my way. I was in the zone and the last two miles ended up being my fastest miles of the entire race. I really appreciated Saki more than she can ever know.
I PR’d by almost 3 minutes! Which for me is huge! So hooray for hills, I might be getting older but I am also getting a bit faster 🙂 And I have to admit there were also some tears of joy at the end of the race. And as if it wasn’t already a great day I got to meet the Kara Goucher! She ran the race and had come in first for the women with a 1:11. An additional bonus was I actually got to see her on the course. She is amazing.
Here are some additional pics from the day. First California Half (and 5k) in the books!