19 November 2012

Big Sur Half Marathon Race Report

The Big Sur half is a great event! Ocean and water views are my fave during a race, and the course for Big Sur is ocean almost the whole way. I decided from the start that this would be a fun marathon tune-up for me, so I took it at a comfortable pace, walked the water stops, and enjoyed the views and the experience. I've been racing a lot lately, so it was very important to me to have no pressure during the marathon taper. 

Race morning was low- to mid-50s on the way to the start line and didn't really feel chilly at all. Alisyn and I walk/jogged from the hotel to the start, checked our bags with the gear truck, and had plenty of time to hang out before the race started. The weather stayed cool enough but sunny, a great running day overall. 

At the start, photo from Alisyn.

The start was organized into corrals, and each corral started 3 minutes apart. It went smoothly and didn't feel very long between the first corral and mine. The announcer was pretty entertaining and there was a band too. I didn't run into any back ups or crowd issues at the beginning, which was awesome. From the start, we headed around a park and then to a road following the ocean.

The course only has one or two actual hills, and otherwise it just rolls a little. After going through Pacific Grove, the course takes you along 17 mile Drive for a few miles and it's absolutely gorgeous. It's basically an out and back, so you turn around at mile 7.7 and head back toward Monterey on the same road. It's fun to see the other runners on the out and back.

I kept a very steady pace the whole time, so I don't have much to report by way of my race strategy and goals. Tempting as it was, there was no pace push and all fun. Even so I only finished a couple of minutes above my PR at 2:09:56. I'll take it! 

Medal close-up. The sea lion makes it the best medal ever.

It was easy to find Alisyn again at the finish line and we chatted with a new friend for a while and enjoyed the sunshine. I wish I'd gotten the girl's info but didn't; maybe we'll meet again sometime. We attempted the beer line, but by the time we decided to do so the line was huge. Instead we went straight for the $3 drafts special and breakfast at Cannery Row Brewing Company.


The restaurant had a Sierra Nevada World Record Tap Takeover from Thursday to Sunday, and Sunday was dubbed 'Kick the Keg Day' to clear out the rest of the Sierra Nevada beers. $3 drafts all day. I tried quite a few Sierra Nevada beers over the weekend, and I love beer tasting so this made me very happy. On Sunday I attempted the Life and Limb 2 Strong Ale due to curiosity, but the alcohol content was too much for me post-race in the morning. I sadly only finished half of it and went for the Headliner Black IPA instead.

A failed double fisting attempt.

Wait, how did I get to beer already? Let's go back to race details.

The Expo. The expo was held at the Monterey Conference Center, with packet pick-up in one room and the expo vendors/shirt pick-up in the other. I didn't have a line when I went around 10:30 am Saturday. I love the plum color of the shirts and the fit with the v-neck.

Race swag.

After picking up my gear and walking around, I staffed the San Francisco Marathon booth for part of the day. Talking to runners and signing them up for SF was so much fun! My favorite moment was an older couple who chatted about their running life, doing ultras together, and how they love running SF every year. I hope Kevin and I are like them when we get older, they were adorable. 

Staffing with Peter, another SFM Ambassador.

SF Medals through the years.

The Course. The course is ocean views the whole way and absolutely gorgeous! It has a couple of hills in town, but it's mostly just small rolling hills along the water. The waves were pretty big along parts of the coast so I enjoyed watching them break. You pass a golf course and oceanfront houses along the way, and you can also see runners going both directions much of the time. I loved it. There were actually lots of spectators out, especially in the town areas and around the finish line. 

The Support. Course support and volunteers were fantastic. There were plenty of porta potties at the start so lines weren't bad, and it looked like plenty along the course too. Volunteers were ready with water and gatorade at each aid station, plus they had a Gu station near the turnaround point. Water stations were about every 2 miles. I can't think of any more to say here, which means they made everything run smoothly enough to forget additional details. 

The Finish Line. The finish was very organized. After getting medals and heat sheets, we followed the chute to get water and Gatorade, brown paper bags full of fruit, and then cookies! Yum. I really have trouble eating solid foods that fast after a long run, but I tried anyway for the cookie. In the finish area they had one free beer and one hot soup per person. As mentioned, the beer line was super long and I didn't end up getting any there, but these things happen. They had an SVE results tent and a few other vendors in the area, and plenty of space to hang out.

That's all for the race, but I must say I enjoyed the holiday decor set against the ocean and marina backdrop in Monterey. I can't believe it's Thanksgiving week and almost Christmas already!

Spectators and runners with the holiday decor.


14 comments:

  1. Very cool shirts and medals for that race! And ocean views the entire race?! Where do I sign up?:)

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    1. Do it - sign up early! Prices get expensive later, but it's still worth it.

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  2. I ALMOST signed up for this one....but the price tag scared me away. Monterey is such a cool place.

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    1. It is expensive but it's better if you sign up early! That's what I did last year. :) Worth it!

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  3. Congrats Paulette! I love the sea lion and it IS the best medal ever. I so need to do this one!

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    1. Yes do it sometime! I love the sea lion, and the Big Sur medals in general are so cool. It was similar to the one from the 21 miler (full) in April.

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  4. This looks like a great race, and I LOVE the Big Sur medals!

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    1. You are close - come do this one someday!

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  5. Those medals are awesome! Sounds like a good one to look into for next year!

    The beer tasting sounds awesome too! FUN!

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    1. Definitely look into it - so much fun!

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  6. Glad you enjoyed yet ANOTHER half! Its been a busy year for you, hasn't it?

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    1. VERY busy. Perhaps a little too busy...haha. But fun!

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  7. I have such amazing memories from this race when I ran a couple years ago. Sounds like we had the same weather too and that medal is still my favorite race medal of all time! I want to live in Monterey!

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    1. Yes I LOVE Monterey too! Would be nice to live there...

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