Marathon Man planned his 10th marathon to coincide with a visit to friends in California, where he had lived previously for 12 years. This would also be his most challenging 26.2 mile course!.
The race came at the end of the 10 day trip. Bart supervised a final long run of 10 miles on a path that was much too hilly, above the Stanford University campus. Craig hosted Ray for a 45 minute run near the Sierra Nevada mountains. Bill hosted him for a final tune-up in the East Bay, 3 days prior to the Big Sur International Marathon.
Race day (4/29/07) weather conditions were good, with temps in the lower 50’s for much of the morning, overcast, and only sporadic headwinds. Drifting fog also kept us cool. The only tough part was the course itself!
Monterey and Big Sur Course Drive
2 nights in Monterey before race morning, at Travelodge motel just a 10 minute walk to Race Expo and bus pick-up. On Saturday, I drove the course to snap photos and scout the hills and landmarks. Start is in the small town of Big Sur, with finish in Carmel with the entire course on Highway 1.
With the challenging course, I ran without the pressure of trying for a PR, but the motel provided motivation for a good time by not allowing me to have a late check-out time. If I didn’t leave by noon, I’d be charged $149 for another full night. This mean policy was partially due to the fact that the manager lived along the course and was inconvenienced due to the closure of the road…. so I have to give him partial credit for my good time. See video clip of news preview
Downtown Monterey, with race banner || Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf
This course is known as a “moderately difficult” marathon and the race literature notes that runners should add approximately 20 minutes to their regular marathon finish time. On Friday night I got a good night’s sleep, but Saturday night was a different story. The alarm got me up at 3:20 am to stretch, dress, and walk down the street to catch the bus to the start.
It’s eerie enough to drive the course before a race, but doing it in the dark is even more bizarre. I sat next to a woman from Boston, and chatting made the slow, winding road less discouraging. We arrived at the campground style start village around 5:50 am, while it was still dark. I had eaten a Power Bar on the bus, taken my trusty USANA vitamins earlier, and now downed my “5-Hour Energy” drink before throwing my sweats bag into the waiting trailer and heading for the start line.
“Running on the Ragged Edge of the Western World” is what the race shirt proclaims, and the course lives up to it brilliantly. There are no crowds. Just runners, walkers, and Highway 1, but the breathtaking scenery provides motivation — as well as the challenge to conquer it! See video clip of Bixby Bridge area
Big Sur course || Porta-Potties standing by (click to enlarge)
Bixby Bridge is the halfway point of race || Big Sur (click to enlarge)
Race shirt || Race bib and program || Finisher medal (definitely earned!)
Ray’s Big Sur International Marathon Statistics
Chip time: 3:30:34 Gun time: 3:31:30 Pace: 8:01/mile
Age Group Place: 25 of 260 (top 10%)
Overall Place: 277 of 3090 (top 9%)
BART station advertisement in San Francisco [click image to enlarge]