Race Recap: Big Sur International Marathon

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to enjoy a very memorable weekend as my family and I celebrated my son’s first birthday in Monterey, CA. Along with the celebration of his first birthday, I ran one of the most scenic and enjoyable marathon courses I have ever seen when I ran the Big Sur International Marathon on Sunday April 28. 

Expo – Friday (April 26)
I got any early start to the marathon festivities as I arrived to the marathon expo around 1:30PM on Friday, only about 90 minutes after they open the doors to the public. Before I headed to join fellow San Francisco Marathon ambassador Elise to promote the marathon at the SFM booth, I did my race packet pick up “stuff”.

When I entered the Monterey Conference Center in downtown Monterey, you could immediately feel the heightened security due to the recent events that took place on April 15 at the Boston Marathon. Honestly, I felt just as safe as in any other marathon expo or race once I stepped foot into the marathon environment. Once inside the main entrance I made my way upstairs to pick up my bib number, there it was in hand bib number 1220. Along with my bib included my race day shuttle pass. I was now instructed to head down to the first floor where the main rooms had the t-shirts and gear drop off bags. The swag for this marathon was a nice long sleeve electric blue top.

expo stuff!

After I got my goodies, I made a quick trip around the expo hall before setting up shop at the SFM Booth. While at the SFM booth, I was able to make a couple observations while looking at the booth directly ahead of us in one of the expo rooms. I even commented to Elise, “there is a lot of crap people sell at these things, and a lot of people willing to buy it too”. The expo on Friday was a bit slow, but after a couple of hours fellow SFM ambassador Meg joined me at the booth.

The expo for the next couple hours was pretty quiet except for a few interactions with the booths around us and a handful of onlookers asking how hilly The Wipro San Francisco Marathon was.

showing off the SF Marathon BLING!

Pre-Race & Expo – Saturday April 27
After getting up early, I was able to get an awesome 3 mile shake out run in along the Monterey Recreation Trail, which took me from my hotel out to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. In the later part of the day I returned to man the SF Marathon booth at the expo where more people attended the expo and even registered for the SF Marathon in June.

By the way if you are considering or want to register for the SF Marathon on June 16 (5k, half marathon, or full), I have a discount code which is valid until May 6. The discount code will give you $10 off of registration. Just enter “DSC10AMBCHRIS2013” during the registration process on www.thesfmarathon.com

After finishing off the day with my family it was back to the hotel for an early lights out to be well rested for the early start with the shuttle picking up runners from the lobby of the Marriott starting at 4:00 AM. Before calling it a night, I did the norm and pinned my bib to my singlet to make sure it was ready to roll for the following morning.

Race Day – Sunday April 28
With a 3:00 AM wake up, I made my morning breakfast smoothie and layered up. The start of the day was going to be like most other marathons except for a couple of other unique items for this specific marathon. I brought along a couple additional items to Honor Boston on my run as I had a specific job in mind as I would run along the 4:15 group holding up a tribute sign to what happened on 4/15 in Boston. Along with my sign I also had my “I RUN FOR BOSTON” arm sleeves. 

The wake up was pretty easy and so was the 30 minute shuttle ride to the start in Big Sur. It moved pretty quickly as I was chatting with a fellow runner, Jack, who was in Boston at the time of the explosion. In fact he told me about the story of how he was on mile 25 when they shut down the course. He shared with me that he didn’t really know what happened until he was able to get back in front of a TV to turn on CNN. However, he knew something wasn’t right when people were being cleared as quickly as they were and he heard the sounds of police dogs moving into the streets right away.

Once I got to the start I was fortunate enough to come across a fellow SFM Ambassador who I met for the first time in person. Previously, all interactions were through social media. Daniela and I took a quick photo shared a couple of good lucks and made our ways to completing our final preps before the 6:45AM start time.

Me with SFM Ambassador Daniela

While making my way to the coveted row of port-a-potties I found training partner Rich and his wife Rachelle preparing for the days 26.2-mile adventure. Rachelle ran last year at Big Sur, while this was Rich’s first jaunt through Highway 1. They ran the entire marathon together and crossed the finish line a few minutes before I did. Rumor has it, that there was an awesome kick like celebration at the finish.

one day hopefully Rich will go with a mohawk as well

Once runners took their place at the starting line, it was ready to enjoy this beautiful marathon. Everyone that has ran the course has told me that, the views are breathtaking! Running along the 4:15 Cliff Bar pace team member Darrin, I was fortunate enough to run at an enjoyable pace where I could take photos along the 26.2-miles.  Really it is hard to describe how amazing this course is. So I will let the photos do the talking. Check them out by visiting Facebook.com/MarathonLiving.

The only couple of things I can remind runners if they have never ran this course is 1) make sure to look for each mile marker, as they are AWESOME!!! and 2) stop to enjoy the strawberries at mile 23, though I dropped mine and didn’t enjoy it myself 😦 . 

Through the journey, I was able to really enjoy each moment and talk to various runners listening to their story on what got them into running. Honestly, this marathon was the first where time wasn’t really a factor, but enjoying each step and moment the race had to offer was the top priority. With each step I was able to continue one of my goals of honoring Boston.

me w/ Cliff Bar Pace Leader Darrin

After finally crossing the finish line, I was able to connect with my family, and celebrate with them after completing my 13th marathon to close off an amazing weekend.

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