Race Recap: Big Sur International Marathon 2012

I’m dusting off the ol’ blog to recap yesterday’s race, which went shockingly well. I didn’t really mean for that to happen—I only hoped to go under 4 hours, and I ended up running my third-fastest marathon yet (out of 7, now!) on a tough course. And I looked good doing it! Well, at least in this photo:

Instead of writing a super-boring, super-detailed, drawn-out account of the entire race, I’ll just mention a few important details.

The wind. I complained about the gusts in Hartford, but holy God, they were nothing compared to the headwinds we faced yesterday. I’d say we were running into wind for approximately a quarter to a third of the course, and it was blowing at 20-30 mph. Seriously.

The fog. Again, not constant, but from miles 5 through 13, we were pretty much running in a cloud. I’ll borrow a photo from Challenger Monica Nguyenduc to illustrate this point:

Hurricane Point. The 2.2-mile hill I didn’t get to run last year was pretty much exactly what I expected: long and blustery. Nothing like running two miles, uphill, then rounding a bend and getting blasted by even-stronger wind during your last push to the top. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see much from the top due to the fog.

Negative splits. I planned to run conservatively through Hurricane Point and then make a plan depending on how I felt. I felt great, but I didn’t want to go too crazy, too soon. I ran with one guy for the first 18 miles, then he dropped off to “get in the zone” and I pushed ahead. I passed so! many! people! in the last 10K, which is a great feeling. The first half: 1:57:43; The second half: 1:48:01. And I averaged 8:05 pace for the last 4.2 miles, despite “D-Minor Hill at D-Major Time” at the mile 25 marker. (Brutal!)

Not wearing a watch. I intentionally left my watch at home so I couldn’t wear it during the race. I didn’t really miss it. I suspect knowing how fast I was going during some of the later miles may have intimidated me into slowing down.

The weirdest thing I saw. Around mile 14, two dudes had set up on the side of the road. One had a sound system blasting Musical Youth’s “Pass the Dutchie.” The other was dressed in an orange NASA jumpsuit and an alien mask, posing for photos with runners. Forget the scenery: I most wished I had a camera at this moment.

I’d like to run Big Sur again, hopefully on a clearer day with better views. I’m saving that for whenever it is I manage to qualify for Boston, so I can do the Boston 2 Big Sur program. (Special jacket! Special medal! I want those things!) And based on how well I did on this hilly course on a challenging day, I’m thinking my BQ chances are better than they’ve ever been.


About Meghan Loftus

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