Sunday, 6 May 2012

Big Sur- My personal celebration to a successful marathon!!!

 As I sit down to type my celebratory blog  of my completion of the Big Sur International Marathon reality hits me as it was this day last week that it all happened. Already a week ago, wow!

Race Expo

  Big Sur - Yowzer! What an event?! Amazing!!! If you have ever considered a marathon to be in your future or your looking for another to add to your repertoire this baby needs to go on your bucket list! This is post event Yvonne speaking! Pre event Yvonne arrived at the race expo with grave concerns that I might actually throw up upon picking up my race package! Thankfully as we toured around the race expo and I got all my pre/post tickets and shuttle bus tickets my pre-race jitters started to disappear and instead I was filled with excitement and a sense of calm! This was the place where I was going to prove to myself how good I could be. 

Its Official!

Bring on race day and this baby starts up early. Your race starts at Big Sur itself so all race participants need to be shuttled to the start line. By 3:45am I was sitting on a big yellow school bus heading up to Big Sur and the race start.  With the bus ride being during the wee hours of the morning the drive is completed in darkness. In my case this is a bonus as I like to go into my races oblivious. I don't want to know after this corner is this hill, after that hill is the really big hill etc. Reality is regardless of what the course looks like I have to run it so I would rather be surprised vs knowing what is coming up. 

Finally its time to start the race..... while waiting for our tiered start to happen a flock of doves flew out of the valley beside us. That had to be a good omen for a great day or at least that is what the group around me determined. Anchoring the good omen we saw doves again around the 5 mile mark.Oh yes, mile 5 where the beautiful scenery begins......

First view of the Ocean

As the miles clicked along I heard everyone's advice of "enjoy the experience"! You will all be glad to know that I actually listened. I stopped to take pictures and made a point to look at the scenery not only in front of me but at some points to stop and take a look at it from behind me. As we neared the famous bridge with the pianist the fog was strong, winds were blowing and it was cold. With the thick blanket of fog you were running along the road hearing the piano and knowing the famous landmark is somewhere just up the road. The bridge was a monumental moment for me as it is the picture on my vision board.  As you come up to the bridge initially I was shocked with the reality of  "that's it! are you freakin kidding me" - my inside voice! Regardless it was still an amazing moment and yes a photo op!!! Upon running across the bridge I heeded the advice received by many and looked behind me and voilĂ  that image of the bridge was much more impressive!

My celebratory self portrait on the famous bridge

Looking back on the bridge! 

  Upon running through Hurricane Point! Gotta love the name.... 2 miles of uphill with an elevation increase of over 400 feet. Winds hitting upwards of over 30 miles an hour.  Due to my enjoyment of being oblivious I did not know about the hills on the course into late into my training. I had game planned to walk the hills and run the rest. Race day someone must have lent me their legs because I have never met the legs that I was running with that day. My legs were unfazed by the hills and just wanted to keep going. I had to consciously focus on my plan and was actually picking spots on the hill where I would force myself to go from a run to a walk. Stick with the plan! Stick with the plan would ring through my mind but still I would near the summit and would be off and running again. At one point I actually looked down at my legs and flat out asked "who's legs are you?!" very promptly followed with a "thank you legs".

 As I knew going into this race I was much more mentally prepared than I had been in my previous marathon. Believe it or not I "never" mentally hit the wall during this entire race. On the 20 mile marker was a picture of a person running into a brick wall. At this point I realized not only was I not hitting the wall but I had never even looked for my second wind. At mile 23 I was figuring out where my next marathon should be and how I was going to find anywhere to compete with this one. As in all marathons everything was not perfect. There is too many miles to cover without something going wrong! I had been warned the night before about the camber of the roads. I attempted to run in any flat spots I could find but my ankles were not strong enough for the unevenness of the roads which led to very tight muscles in my ankles, shins and legs! Upon hitting mile 22 my brain was raring to go and wanted to run sssooo bad but my legs were working very hard to not cramp up. The last 4.2 miles went like this..... stretch, walk, run- repeat! As I neared the 24 mile marker I was wanting to run but not willing to risk the chance of fully cramping up that close to the finish line.  I kept with the tried and true- stretch,walk and run! Then woo hoo there it was the finish line. With a strong race finish and most importantly a "HUGE" smile on my face I accomplished what I started out to do!!

Officially I was already a marathoner but due to the difficulty of my finish I personally did not consider myself a marathoner. I was a person who managed to complete a marathon but now I am officially a "Marathoner"

Thank you! Thank you! to everyone involved in the Big Sur Marathon! I have never seen so many volunteers at an event. Everywhere you went from the race expo, pre/post events and the actual events themselves. The people living on the highway that came out to show their support! What a great community to live in. Thank you! Thank you!