I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve written, because it has, and it’s taken me a bit to get over the blahs post-Big Sur and because I’ve been traveling like a maniac. I took the red-eye back from San Francisco on Sunday night post-race, flew to Idaho on Wednesday morning for work and then straight to Boulder on Friday afternoon for work. I’m wiped but will make this hour count while I’m waiting for my flight here in Denver.
The Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge: I did it!
3:09 & 3:24. 2nd woman in the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge (missed 1st by 3!!!!!! seconds)
And to be honest, it was one of the hardest things I’ve done. Combining a 85+ degree Boston marathon with 26.2 miles of crazy coastal hills and (reported) 40 mph headwinds only 13 days later was brutal. Duh, that’s why it’s a challenge and that’s why I signed up. I loved Boston and wanted to love Big Sur just as much– I wanted the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge to be one of the most memorable things I’ve done.
Spoiler: it wasn’t. I hated it. Okay, maybe ‘hated’ is extreme, but it just wasn’t the blissful race I anticipated. I hate, hate, hate to say that about such a beautiful & well organized race..but here’s why:
After Boston, I took it extremely easy. I glowed, riding my runner’s high for as long as I could. I rested, slept, drank & celebrated with friends, and ran about 20 minutes (no more!) three times in before Big Sur. Slowly but surely, the soreness in my legs subsided and my running gait returned to normal. I felt kinda rested and ready to tackle the marathon! But, I also felt really out of shape when I ran- an easy 3 week taper followed by 2 weeks of next-to-nothing really isn’t conducive to maintaining fitness. Surprise!
Since I had no intentions of racing Big Sur, I took my pre-race prep far less seriously. Since I was visiting my sister in San Francisco before heading down to Monterey on Saturday, I took advantage of actually being able to go out with her on Friday night. We drank until after 2, and I woke up with a massive hangover. So bad, I had to make her stop and pull over to get sick in the car on the way to lunch…and after lunch. I couldn’t stomach food until dinner on Saturday night. Seems I can’t hang with the college kids, but I blame the shots.
And onto Big Sur!
I drove down to Monterey on Saturday afternoon, once my stomach settled, and met Alex & her fiancé Steve at the hotel– we went to the expo and out to dinner, and were in bed around 9:30. Party! We woke at 3:15 a.m. (!!!!) as the buses left at 4 to take us to the start. It was dark and cold, but at least I finally had a use for the throwaway sweats Ali originally gave me for Boston.
Once the sun rose, we headed to the start– the first “corral” was under 3:45…so we hopped right in towards the front. Loved how open it was!
I felt great the first few miles– it was cool, shady, flat/downhill, and we were clicking off miles quite comfortably. I was happy and just felt like I was heading off for a nice long run– exactly what I wanted the day to be.
Yep– I brought my camera to take pictures during the “race”. It was sunny but crisp and cool, and we wandered through fields and the views were spectacular. It was so peaceful and I couldn’t wait until we neared the coast. Until around the 10K, a massive headwind hit as we started to go uphill. It got extremely foggy and dark– it was like we entered a totally different climate.
I can’t even begin to describe how strong the wind was as we worked up the hills. It was the type of wind that blows back/puffs up your jacket and turns your umbrellas upside down. I think I read it was up to 40 mph at points– of course always a headwind. And it only seemed to hit when we were going up the hills. It took so much energy out of me, and while we didn’t care about our time, it was a bit discouraging to see 8:30s start to click off.
Finally, we made it to the 13.1 mile mark- the famous Bixby Bridge- the gorgeous bridge that draw me into the race and that I was so looking forward to. However…the view was a bit obstructed.
I promise this is much more beautiful on a clear, sunny day.
Around this point, I started to feel my IT/Piriformis pain acting up…which really confused me as I hadn’t felt even the slightest twinge there all Boston training cycle. I’ve always had bouts of IT pain that usually flare up for a few weeks pretty intensely, but clears up after ART/Graston while rolling the shiz out of it with a baseball. It’s bothered me at some point while training for both NYC ’10 and ’11, but never while training for Boston this year.
While it started as a bit of tightness around mile 8, it turned into stabbing pain around mile 14 or so. It was the type of pain that would normally cause me to stop and cut a normal run short– the intensity of the pain wouldn’t be worth running through on a normal day, as I knew each mile was just re-aggravating it even further.
I tried to let the views distract me, but I was just in so much pain it was pretty miserable. Luckily (or not so luckily) Alex was having stomach pains and felt nauseous, so we were content to just take it easy. Around mile 17, I started wishing away the miles and wondering why I even signed up for this. I was frustrated that I wasn’t having a great time because this was supposed to be the culmination of such a great journey. I was frustrated that my leg hurt so badly that I was just about limping. I was on the verge of tears for most of the 2nd half of the race and had to continuously tell myself to pull it together.
This was supposed to be fun. Why was I so miserable?! Finally at mile 22, I told Alex I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to go 4 more miles. My body felt like it was going to break down and my right leg was going to fall off. This wasn’t normal “oh, of course my legs hurt, I’m running a marathon” pain. This was “you’re injured and your body is telling you to stop now” pain. But, since I’m stubborn, we kept on running. At least I’m happy we didn’t walk a single step.
I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see a finish line. I wanted it to be over about 16 miles earlier.
Here’s how the race played out for a 3:24: finish.
At least our the Boston 2 Big Sur jacket and medal was pretty sweet. After all, wasn’t the swag what reeled me in in the first place?
Would I do this race ever again? Probably not. I think my first experience was just tarnished a bit by the ridiculous headwinds, the weird fog that made the views less-than-stellar, and the incredibly sharp piriformis pain that made me want to cry and die.
Boston 2 Big Sur, I’m glad I did you, but more glad that you’re over.