Running on the Row...Cannery Row that is.

One of my favorite places to visit is Monterey. And since I am naturally drawn to seaside towns along the pacific coast, it makes sense that I would register for the Big Sur Half Marathon.

I have been doing races pretty regularly for the last six months, averaging about three per month, but I had been looking forward to this one for a couple of months. My goal was to PR and cross the finish at 1:45 and some change. I was excited to stay in the coastal town where, even though it is only an hour away from my house, I can still act like a tourist.

The week of the race I had been experiencing some left leg issues. My left leg is certainly not foreign to injury. I have had injuries from my knee to my ankle and everything in between –Because as you know it all is connected. It had been quite sometime since I gave any complaint and was running strong. And just when I started to boast that I had been running injury free, sure enough, my adductor muscle decides to raise havoc. I laid low for the most part and took an extra rest day. I also got yogafied, stretched and iced. By week’s end it was feeling better and I was ready to conquer Big Sur.

I arrived on Saturday with friends in tow and we hit the expo. Lot’s of merchandise and other things to buy, but I was very good. My wallet did not even see the florescent lighting that surrounded the room. It might have also been due to the fact that when I am around crowds I have major ADD. People were everywhere and I can’t help but feel a tad bit anxious. After the expo we played on the wharf, ate clam chowder and enjoyed the gorgeous day!
Being a tourist with Mark & Shannon and my new beau. ;P
That evening we all stayed at our friend’s house who was running her very first half marathon. For it being her first, she was mildly calm. Rain was in the forecast for race day and I was prepared as I set out my clothes for the next day. I had trouble sleeping that evening and only really got an hour worth of sleep. I ended up waking at 3:30am. Trying not to stir the rest of the house, I tiptoed to the bathroom. The dogs however held another agenda, barking up a storm, thus waking the household. We left the house from Salinas at 5:30am and arrived in Monterey at 6:00am. It was very cold, but certainly not raining. I was worried I had overdressed with three layers that included a water resistant windbreaker. 

Deesa, Shannon, and I parted as we each were in a different corral. I managed to meet some new runners who were also in the same corral as me and soon enough – The gun went off and the running journey began!!! I must say that coming from doing Nike Women’s Half Marathon only a few weeks prior –I was shocked at how well the Big Sur Half was organized! The corrals were easy to get to and not overly crowded. The bag check and pick-up were incredibly easy. It blew my mind really how efficient everything was!!! Kudos to you Big Sur Half Mary!! Anyway, back to running the course – As I crossed the start line I felt strong, excited and happy. The clouds were certainly dark, but through them there were rays of light that made the sky look absolutely magnificent. From the first mile I realized that I did indeed over dress and started to overheat. It did not help matters that we ran through the tunnel which posed as an oven. It collected the body heat of all the runners and rose up, not out, creating a steam room like effect. By mile four I needed to strip! Not wanting to stop, I took off my Nathan Hydration pack and then somehow managed to get my jacket off all while careful not to hit anyone passing. I had to stop but quickly to stuff my jacket into the Nathan and away I went. It was certainly a circus act that I care not to repeat. 

Mile 1 – 7:50, Mile 2 – 7:53, Mile 3 – 8:08, Mile 4 – 8:17

I was right on par with my goal, but sadly mile five took me down as my leg started to rupture with pain. It was then that I made the decision to just run. I would push as much as my leg would allow. I would listen to my body and back off when needed. I was disappointed, but I also was cautious. I want to be able to run for many years to come. There will be other races and other PR’s. So, I just ran and enjoyed the beauty of the ocean as the waves crashed against the rocks and the smell of the fresh salt air. Speaking of salt – I received quite the salt exfoliation on my face. With all the salt that was produced I could have made myself into a giant salt ball and rolled along the course instead of running it - Perhaps then I would have PR'd. The turn-around point was at mile 8. I was shocked to see the floods of people behind me. It was a snake of runner’s for as far as the eye could see. Incredible!!! I saw a few familiar faces and other friends I missed in passing.

Mile 5 – 9:14 (ouch), Mile 6 – 8:25 (denial), Mile 7 – 8:29, Mile 8 – 9:00

The last few miles were hard but I distracted myself with ocean views. The rest of the course was fairly flat, which was nice. I crossed the finish line tired, in pain but happy. Because I might have been over compensating for my leg,the right side of my lower back was in severe pain. I wiped the salt off my face, stretched, and waited for Shannon who was only minutes behind me. Shannon actually crossed the finish line and got a huge PR!! While it was not my day to PR, I love when I see friends achieve their goals. Despite my woes, it certainly made my whole day to see Shannon shine.
Was I attending a theatre event or a race? Race Program - So cool!
Mile 9 – 8:50, Mile 10 – 8:56, Mile 11 – 8:41, Mile 12 – 9:19, Mile 13 – 8:20 (Have to always push it at the end no matter how I am feeling), .24 – 7:25.

Around the bag pick-up area, we meet up with some other friends and I performed a strip show. I have no shame, really, and managed to change out of my sweaty clothes into dry ones. I still had many layers on as it was a bit cold, and as we headed out to get hot soup and beer that the race was offering, it started to rain. We waited for Deesa to finish her first half mary experience and then headed to breakfast where I celebrated Shannon’s PR and Deesa’s accomplishment.

I finished in 1:53:58. 1040 out of 6104 overall. 380 out of 4006 females, and 95 out of 707 in my age group. 

Shannon and I posing w/ the rock star Deesa who completed her first Half!!!
I was going to start my marathon training this week, but I think I am going to take it easy once again. I am not making an excuse for my performance. I love to run and certainly enjoy pushing myself to the limit. I also need to be smart and listen to my body. This year has been an amazing year for running! I am truly blessed to have accomplished so much in such a short period of time. If taking it easy for a bit means that I will have another fantastic year of running, well, then so be it! Big Sur Half Marathon certainly has not seen the last of me! This is definitely a race I will include on my 2012 calendar. I very much recommend it to you as well! Do it!!!

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