I ran the Big Sur Marathon on Sunday:
The race follows Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean from Big Sur to Carmel, California. While the course has some incredible panoramic views of crashing waves, it also has a few hills:
The downhill start was interesting. In fact, the start corral is so steep that it’s almost uncomfortable standing there before the gun goes off.
I didn’t wear a watch, but remember hearing 8:08 called out at the first mile. That would be for the gun time. It took me 40 seconds to reach the start line, so my first mile was 7:28, which is a little ridiculous, but fighting gravity seems counter-productive to me.
At 13.1 (the photo on the Bixby Bridge) a guy in a tux was playing a grand piano. That was pretty awesome to see so far out in the middle of nowhere. I was at 1:50 at that point, so on pace for a 3:40, but starting to feel it.
By mile 18, the wheels came off. From there I survival shuffled it in at just under 4 hours.
Based on the shape I’m in now, running 8:20 miles is a pretty comfortable pace for me, aerobically, but holding it together for 20+ miles becomes a challenge for my legs. Apparently, running more helps your legs adapt to the pounding on the pavement. I may have to try that.
Carly, on the other hand, actually does run on a regular basis, so can crank out the miles at a much faster pace.
She won the 21 mile race among women and was 4th overall.
I highly recommend this marathon. No, it’s not easy, and probably not the best choice for someone who’s trying to qualify for Boston or set a PR, but if you want to run through the woods, to the coast, and along the Pacific shore in a well-organized race, this is the place to be.