Big Sur Marathon Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Big Sur International Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Race morning began dark and early.  Seriously, setting my alarm for 2:45 the night before had made me want to cry.  But, truthfully, I had slept so poorly, that I was awake before my alarm went off.   I got up and got ready, popped a Dramamine and we were out the door by 3:40.  Thanks to my hotel snafu, my mother had to get up early too and drive me to the bus pick up.   Thanks mom!

My bus ticket was pretty specific about the buses leaving by 4:15 but I was in line for almost 30 minutes and didn’t even board a bus until after 4:30.   While I was waiting in line, a guy in front of me mowed down a bagel and then a cookie.  I realize I am odd in that I don’t eat before races but I still questioned his choices knowing the road we were about to drive on.  Once on the bus, I somehow was (un)lucky enough to snag a sit with a wheel well so my knees were in my chest the whole ride.  Then I closed my eyes and tried to doze off in an effort to fight off any potential car sickness.  I know how windy Highway 1 is, combine that with a school bus and I wasn’t taking any chances.   Unlike the man who was chowing down in line who almost lost his cookies 30 minutes into the drive.   Once we arrived, we had to walk a ways up the highway to get to the starting area.  By the time I tossed my gear bag to the volunteers (literally), used the porta-potties and seeded myself in the corrals, my Garmin showed that I had walked 1.5 miles.

Being so unsure how this race would go and so nervous about the cut off, I admit I did something I never have before.  I seeded myself in Wave 2- which was for runners hoping to finish under 4:45.  I mentally needed those extra 5 minutes! I did put myself all the way to the back though because I felt guilty.   Then listening to a few runners talk about about their average times (4:00’s) and how they were just hoping to finish after driving the course and seeing all the hills the day before didn’t help calm the nerves.  But after the National Anthem- it was go time.  I was running my second marathon.  Little did I know the next hours would see both a PR attempt and my first almost DNF.

Miles 1-10- 10:19, 10:41, 10:17, 10:56, 11:23, 11:35, 12:00, 12:14, 12:27, 10:38

I was not watching my watch so I had no idea what my pace was.  I focused on keeping it comfortable.  I was enjoying the woodsy feel of running through Big Sur with all the trees along the Highway.  I was very surprised by how many people were using the port-a-potties 100 yards from the start line.   There were also a ton of guys peeling off into the woods to relieve themselves.  No fair.  As you can see by my splits, I wasn’t feeling a lot of the hills.  They were there but I didn’t walk until mile 6 and that was only because I told myself to not be stupid and tire myself out as I still had 20 miles to go.

We could now see the ocean to our left which was awesome.  I was taking water at each aid station as well as drinking from the 2 bottles I had in my pack.  I also had to pee. Crap.  But the lines were so long at all aid stations! Not only that, there were music spots set along the highway and each performer had their own port a potty too and runners were lined up at those! I didn’t want to stop yet so I just kept going.   I knew the BIG hill was coming and that could make or break the race.   We were climbing a hill in mile 8 and I heard a woman ask if this was the worst one- I was wondering if she had looked at the course map- but a man responded- yeah no.

Miles 11-12 15:04, 14:12 The Climb

You could see it coming for over a mile. Runners were sprinkled like confetti as they wound around and up.  I was torn between trying to run it and conserving energy.  As my mile splits show, I walked 98% of these miles. I had checked my overall average pace before starting the hill and it was at 11:20, these miles dropped it to 11:3something.  My Garmin says we gained 600 feet, but my Garmin is also a little screwy as it says the overall elevation gain for the race was 3000.  Strava does agree with these 2 miles though.   I just put my head down and power walked my way to the top.  The drummers almost at the top made me smile.  It also rained these miles with crazy winds- why had I tossed my gloves back at mile 5??

Miles 13-16 10:10, 11:05, 13:32, 12:59

What goes up must come down but it was a shorter downhill than I would have liked and led us right into another hill.  Smile, Fallon, you like hills.  13 also brought us to Bixby Bridge.  The day was overcast but the bridge was still pretty and I made myself slow down and take pictures- partially to prove I didn’t freak out.  😛  A camera crew and piano player were stationed on the other side of the bridge.

15 was where the pain started.  My back was hurting pretty badly but I was hoping a run/ walk strategy would loosen it up.   At 16, I checked my time and thought if I could hold onto 12:00-12:15 miles, I had a solid PR in my grasp, my back just needed to cooperate. In retrospect, that was naive and I probably jinxed myself.

Miles 17-21 13:50, 13:41, 13:39, 14:19, 14:11

I damn near quit.  The course was gorgeous, I wasn’t tired but my back hurt.  The more my back hurt, the more I walked.  The more I walked, the more my hips tightened up and my knees started to hurt.  WTH?!  I stopped twice and tried to stretch out my back.  Each time a SAG wagon drove by, I considered flagging them down.   But I kept going.  Cell service was horrible out there but occasionally texts from my mom and Kate were getting though and those were so needed.  I had also turned my music on in an effort to block out my doubts and thoughts.

Miles 22-26 14:50, 13:11, 14:47, 14:37, 14:15

They say if you don’t reach mile 21.2 by 11:50, you are not allowed to continue and are swept from the course.  To back this up, there were 3 school buses parked at mile 21.2.  I hit 21.2 at 11:15.    I’d made it this far, I was damn well going to finish.   My back was still hurting, my hips were squawking and now my feet hurt.  Around 24, I briefly considered tossing my shoes and finishing in my socks.  Couldn’t hurt any worse, right?   The course was still full of hills but in a way I think I that helped me.  I think a flat last 10 miles would have broken me, the constant up and down was at least letting me use different muscles.   However every single picture of me is from the last half of the course when I’m struggling and walking.  Thanks guys.   There was a photographer who had a sign warning that they were ahead so runners could smile- or in my case, run- so I picked it up to hobble run past him only to round a small corner and see the finish line.  RUN!

Finish- 5:36:52

Give me my medal and someone take these shoes!  Just kidding, I didn’t say that.   I thanked the volunteer for the medal-which is awesome- and smiled (grimaced?) for pictures before getting all the food treats and meeting up with my mom.

Some say that you should expect to add a minute per mile to your marathon time at Big Sur, I was only about 30 seconds each mile.   It wasn’t the race I had hoped for but it also wasn’t the race I had feared either.  I also proved to myself that first one wasn’t a fluke.   I can do hard things, just need to stop breaking myself along the way.

Maybe I’ll you see you again one day, Big Sur.

Big Sur Marathon Training-Week 13

Ok, I lied, you get the training recap before the race recap.  Oops.

It’s coming, really!  It’s never taken me this long to write a race recap before but maybe that’s because my brain checked out last week.  I was so tired and just couldn’t figure out why or seem to catch up on my sleep.

I had wanted to move my 20 miler up a week to this weekend as it just fit my schedule better that way but between some leg issues and the extreme tiredness I was getting the feeling that was probably not a good idea.

Monday- 2.5 miles I planned on a few shake out, easy miles to get my legs loose from the day before.  I was aiming for 3-4.   My leg had felt ok during the day at work but it quickly let me know that it was not on board with a run.  Not at all.  I was hoping it would loosen up but instead it steadily grew worse until it felt like the pain was in the bone too which alarmed me so I called it short and just headed back to the car.

Tuesday/ Wednesday- Nada  I was giving the leg a few days to see what it would do.   Working at my desk makes it very, very angry.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again- stand up desks are not all they are cracked up to be.

Thursday- 4.5 miles  I headed to lake path as I had a feeling that the dirt path would be more forgiving than pavement or concrete.   I started slow and kept it nice and easy.  Because spring had suddenly made an appearance and it was 80 degrees at 6 PM, going slow was not an issue.  In fact I needed a few walk breaks due to the warmth.   However those breaks pointed out that my leg was ok once in motion, it really does not the stops and starts of walk breaks.  Which is problematic as I know I will be walking part of this marathon.

Friday- Stupid For some reason I was so freakin’ tired this week… and it was making me stupid.  And slap happy.  I took a nap on my lunch but it didn’t help.  I had a feeling my long run wasn’t happening on Saturday.

Saturday- 2.2 miles  I was still super tired and my leg was sore but this was supposed to be longer.  But we got a little lost.  My mom and headed to do a trail but the one we did a few weeks ago is closed, boo. So instead, we did the Pine Mountain loop.   It gains almost 500 feet in the first 1/2 mile or so but the path is fun with a couple of random off shoots.  Once we made our way to the top, we took one of the random off shoots thinking it would make the path longer but instead we had climb over and under some downed trees before it deposited us almost in someones front yard and on the highway.  Oops!

Sunday- 10 miles My leg was sore and I was still so tired, I pretty much knew that 20 wasn’t going to happen early and I was going to stick to the plan of 12.  But when my alarm went off in the morning, my head was pounding, likely due to hormones from that TOM, so I rolled over and went back to sleep.

That had me heading out for my run in the afternoon.  It was over 80.  I didn’t think it would be that bad.  And it wasn’t until mile 5 and then it was all downhill from there.  So much walking.  I was so damn warm.  I had 2 bottles of water in my pack and I drank them both.   I even took a few moments iny a lone shady spot to just try and cool off.   But no luck.  It took me so long, that I ended up only having time for 10 miles before I needed to head back for Easter Dinner.

19.23 miles for the week.  Not great but not horrible considering how my leg felt on Monday.

How was your week?

Big Sur Marathon Training-Week 4

I designed my plan with flexibility.   I know I like to be able to move my days around depending on how work goes or if my stomach is being a complete asshat.

That said, I didn’t plan on basically chucking the plan out the window in week 4.  I am so behind on miles.  Don’t freak out, don’t freak out.

I mentioned last week that I ended week 3 feeling broken thanks to a crappy treadmill and some shoe issues.  People, getting out bed on Monday hurt.  Walking around work hurt.  What the hell????? Don’t freak out, don’t freak out.

The plan-haha

week 4

Life-

Monday- Rest Haha, I worked and I rested.  I tried not to make any sudden movements and just get through the day.  I had to put the thought of my pretty new shoes out my head.

Tuesday- PT Otherwise, more of the same.

Wednesday- 4 miles on the bike  My lump on a log- ness was getting to me so I went for a very short ride on the bike just to test the legs out.    I followed up with half of my PT exercises.

Thursday- 2 miles I’m feeling very anti treadmill right now but wanted to test the leg considering I had a race on Saturday.  Oh crap.   While I wish I hadn’t been running on super uneven sidewalks, the miles were ok.  I always think I run differently at night due to the limited light.  I  love my Knuckle Lights but I still feel like I run a little off.  That could also be that I don’t run enough in the dark to get used to it though.

Friday- Rest For doing next to nothing all week, I was super tired.  That stupid cold/flu better not have caught up to me.  I worked the early shift at work and headed home to try and get some sleep before the early morning of race day errr, well supported long run. 😋

Saturday- Mission 10 miler– race recap to come.

Sunday- 3.1 miles I finally put some miles in the Altra’s.   I took it super easy as it was my first time in zero drop shoes but I surprisingly it took over 2 miles for me to feel any calf/achilles tightness.  Mini spoiler- that happened within 1/4 mile the day before during the race.  I also took it easy because I still wasn’t feeling well- another mini spoiler?  All in all this was decent recovery run.

15.4 miles for the week.  So basically, I ran a long run and skipped everything else.  Only 9 miles short.  Don’t freak out.

How was your week?<

 

Big Sur Marathon Training-Week 3

If I had one word to describe this week, it would be ouch.

If I used more words, ouch would likely be followed by a couple of colorful expletives and then some more ouch.

Work was stressful and busy.  I ran but it didn’t go well.   I bought new running shoes, oh and I cut most of my hair off.  Surprise!

The plan-

Week 3

Life-

Monday- PT/3 miles It was a day off from work and part of me really wanted to run the 6 miles of speed work that was on the plan for the week.  Part of me was also really feeling the 15 miles I had put on them in the previous 2 days and wanted a rest day.  I compromised and stuck with the plan and headed out for 3.    I should have gone with the rest.  My legs were not having it.   Not even turning to my long run run/walk intervals helped.   I probably shouldn’t have run the same day I had a PT appointment with traction.  I ended up just walking it in.

Tuesday- Rest Insanely busy work day plus I was listening to my legs.

Wednesday- 2 miles Another busy day and mentally, I did not think I could handle the treadmill. I changed into my running clothes at work but was talking myself out of it the entire drive home.  I was thisclose to bailing entirely but instead I parked my car and a headed out for a dark few miles.  Things were a little stiff but I chalked it up to all the uneven sidewalks I have to run on at night and figure I run a little differently in the dark.

Thursday- 4 miles -400’s On the lake path, my typical 400 pace ranges from 7:55-8:15.  On this night, due to some very poor treadmill math, I was running these 400’s around 9:45.  And they were kicking my ass.  I normally love 400’s.  Not tonight.  My legs and back were not agreeing with the treadmill at all.    I called it at 4 miles because an ache in my upper left leg started to turn into pain.  I hate treadmills.  Particularly bouncy ones.

Friday- Rest/ PT exercisesI wore compression socks all days and my for the most part, I felt ok.

Saturday- 9 miles/ PT exercises I wanted 11, should have quit at 5.  The plan was to run from home, do my 11 and finish at the high school where my mother was having tennis practice then she would give me a ride.  I was super achy and stiff the first 2 miles but sometimes it can take until mile 4 for me to loosen up so I kept running.   By mile 5, the aches had turned into straight up pain and I knew I was in trouble.   So I took a shortcut and hobble-ran my way to the high school stopping occasionally to stretch as best as I could.  Once home, I iced, and stretched and foam rolled as much as I could.

Sunday- Rest  I did wander around SLO and do some shopping.  My left leg is still not to happy but I was able to walk without pain.  But certain muscles and bones are making their presence known if that makes sense.  I stopped in at the Running Warehouse and made the leap into a new pair of shoes.  I’m moving around too much in the Adidas right now no matter how many pairs of socks I wear.  Fingers crossed these help.

18.19 miles for the week.  5 short of where I should be.  But it’s early days and I am not going to freak out yet.  No, I am not.  If I repeat it enough, it’s true right?

How was your week?

Breathe It In

Disclaimer: I received Earth’s Care Pain Relieving cream to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro  (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I am usually bruised in one place or another.    I’m notorious for running into things and forgetting about it until I see the bruise.   It’s a running joke in my family that we are notorious for hurting ourselves in new and inventive ways.   We’ve all made a doctor’s visit or ER trip where the nurse just looks at us and says “you did what how?”.    I also tend to be anti pain medication, my go to is usually an ice pack for every ailment.  Migraine? Ice pack.  Sinus congestion? Ice pack.  Shin splints? Ice pack.  But that’s also how I gave myself second degree burns on both my legs.  But that’s another story.


So I figured I would give Earth’s Care Pain Relieving Ointment a try.  All natural ingredients that I could actually pronounce? Score.  When it arrived and it smelled like wonderfully, minty menthol goodness, well that was just a bonus.  😊

earth
from the website
Of course, since I’ve had it, I haven’t bruised anything.  It’s a new streak!   However this stuff was amazing while I was sick.  My back was aching so badly from coughing so much.     The cream made sleeping a little more comfortable.  Plus I like just taking the cap off and smelling it.  That’s not weird at all, right?     Until I quit coughing, this ointment and I will be very good friends.

I am sure my bruise free streak will end at some point.  My shins will likely ache once I end this unplanned running break.   Now I have something to help me instead of suffering in silence.  Well, I was never really silent, I whine a lot.  😛

What do you do when something hurts?

Are you accident prone?