This past Sunday, I ran the tenth presentation of the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay. This weekend was also pretty special in that it marked the first anniversary of my running a race. Last year, I did the Pacific Grove Lighthouse 5K as my very first race – having started running in September 2011. One year later, and I’ve progressed to the half…in three weeks, I take it to the next level and run my first full marathon!
The weather was perfect: clear and cool/mild. The rain that was forecast blew through in the early morning, leaving the entire day with awesome running conditions! I did carry some insurance though, as it was a bit cloudy at start time: I walked to the start line wearing my rain parka and checked it just in case.
The course is an flat run through Monterey and Pacific Grove – with most of the run along the coast. There was one “uphill” portion heading from the coast up to downtown PG, but it really wasn’t much to stress about in the overall scheme of the course. The course is all about the scenery – truly beautiful…even better when the weather is crystal clear! [Sadly, I will admit that I really don’t pay attention to the scenery while I run as I basically zone out. I just know it’s beautiful from visiting the area and driving the course A LOT!] Course management and volunteers were excellent. It was cool to see people from the local area hanging out and cheering runners along the way.
The finish line was very organized and had the usual post-race supplies (water, fruit, etc.), as well as minestrone soup and beer for finishers. I stuck to water and my Picky Bar – I’m just funny that way – plus, I planned to head back to the hotel and eat breakfast with my wife!
- Garmin time: 1:48:28 at an 8:15/mile pace
- Official time: 1:48:30 at an 8:16/mile pace
Bottom line: I went out too fast. Again. I had my pace plan taped to my water bottle (1:47:00 @ 8:10 avg pace), but got caught up in the excitement and simply ignored the plan. I even looked at the plan frequently: “Hey there Plan, how ya doin’. What? Yeah, I know, but I think I can keep this up. C-YA!”. I actually did pretty good until about mile 10, averaging a 8:06/mile pace. Then I started to pay the price. Even with 10 “pauses” (yup, I know how many), I still managed a decent time and pace. It just smarts to know that if I had followed the plan, I know for sure I could have had a new PR. Oh well, there’s always another day and we often learn from our mistakes…for me, sometimes it’s repeated mistakes.
Anyway, not one to take too many photos during races, here are a few I did take:
Pre-race & race-day fuel: Same as usual – 48-hour carb loading period (at +550 calories/day and at a carb level greater than 80% each day) and 5 GUs and 20oz of GU Brew on race day.
One cool part was seeing the elite runners heading back to the finish as I ran toward the turn around. Even cooler was knowing that the lead female was one of the co-founders of Picky Bars (Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce) and that her husband (Ben Bruce) was the lead male. After Ben blew by going the other direction, I kept an eye out for Stephanie. When I saw her, I yelled, “Go Steph – Picky Bars!” and I did see her smile. My wife was watching the race on Canary Row and said that when Ben got to where she was, he did a quick look over his shoulder, saw how much of a lead he had, and gave it his final kick.
By the way, it was pretty cool having my wife along the course. I passed her on the way out and back, so I got some good vibes going and coming!
Bottom line: Good day. Had fun. Learned a lesson (again). I’m still feeling confident for Honolulu!
Post-race meal: After the race, my wife and I went to Johnny Rockets for lunch. I broke form and actually had a hamburger!
Training Journal – 11/21/12:
- Current plan: Honolulu Marathon Training Plan
- Today’s session: 7 mile easy run @ 8:37-9:37 pace
- Comments: I did 7.08 at 8:08