Saturday, May 5, 2012

Big Sur Marathon Race Report!

I meant to post this earlier in the week, but had a busy work week.

I injured my ankle about three weeks before the Big Sur marathon.  Not entirely sure how, I think I sprained it when I was out running in Rancho in the rain (the footing was bad and I almost fell a couple of times).  To make a long story short, on Monday (the week of the marathon) I was still limping around after trying to run 5 miles on it over the weekend.  I was not sure I would make it to the start line. 

I had made an appointment to see a chiropractor.  I've never went to a chiropractor before, but I was desperate.  Even though I was having pain in my ankle, they started with adjusting my neck and hips.  I thought that was a little old, but since I do not have "Dr." by my name I went along with it.  It was strange to go into a place and 10 mins later they have you in what I view as awkward positions and the chiropractor uses force to move your body around.  If it gets me to the start line, as long as you don't break my neck, I was willing to let them adjust whatever they thought needed adjusting.

I went back for a second visit later in the week.  The Chiropractor also does similar things that my prior PT would do (like deep massage and exercises).

By Friday my ankle was not "as sore" as earlier in the week.  Maybe the Chiropractor helped and also the rest helped (I did not run).  So I felt that I would make it to the start line.

I've never ran Big Sur before, but it has a lot of hills.  With my sore ankle I decided I would run, but would "take it easy" or "not push myself too hard".  Which meant I was going to try to come in between 4 and 4:30pm.

My plan was to start with a 9:30 pace, see how the ankle feels and then decide whether I can go a little faster or if I need to slow down.  Since I hurt the ankle, the faster I ran the more it hurt.  I booked a hotel in Monterey and drove down on Sat am for the expo and to hang out.  I  brought my wife and daughter with me (which meant it was critical to sleep in a little on Friday).  Sleeping in the same room with a two year is not easy.  She makes a lot of noise.

In Summary - I have some pictures below:  Big Sur has great views.  I've never seen so many runners stop along the side to take pictures.  I started off with a slower pace and felt good the first few miles.  My ankle was doing okay.  The problem was that my stomach was not doing okay.  I started at a 9:30 pace and then slowly increased to about 9:10, but then I had to use a porta potty - I mean I had to use it and wait in line.  By the time I was able to run again, my avg pace was 9:30.  I ran hard to get my pace back down to 9:10 and to be able to catch up to one of my running friends, but then about mile 8 - had to stop for the porta potty again.  My avg pace was back again at 9:30 after waiting in line and then using it.

I decided that I was just going to try to keep the 9:30 pace as there was a large climb in miles 10-12 (Hurricane point).  I was feeling good and kept the 9:30 pace even though I had two more pit stops (very frustrating).  I was not sure what was going on with my stomach but before the last pit stop I felt I was going to throw up.  Overall, though I was doing okay.  The ankle was more sore than it had been at the start, but I felt I could run on it even though there was some pain with every step.

So even with the pit stops I was on pace for about 4:08-4:10 marathon.  However, at mile 22 "the wall" hit me and I struggled.  I think in mile 22 I had a 13 min mile.  Part of that was the last pit stop and part of it was walking up a hill (I was tired and had ran up all the hills and the entire course except for the pit stops up to that point).  Alot of people were walking and I pushed about halfway up the hill (this was Yankee point) but about the halfway mark I gave into my fatigue and walked.  My ankle was now very sore and I was just tired.  At the top I pushed to run again, but was tired.  I continued to run until I saw a strawberry stand.  I love strawberries.  Since I had already walked and had 4 pit stops, I stopped to eat strawberries.  It was AWESOME!

I pushed on and finished the marathon at 4:14 and change.  Far off my PR, but not too off my expected time.  My 9th marathon is in the books!!!!!

As far as the ankle - it is still sore.  I'm resting it (only easy runs) and went to the chiropractor twice this week.  It feels a little better, but still sore and gets worse when I run.  Very frustrating.  I'm hoping it heals soon so I can push forward with my training for the SF marathon.

Some photos (some photos I borrowed from friends who ran big sur) with some comments:

My wife and Brooklyn the day before the marathon - seal in the background

Brooklyn riding a fake horse in Monterey the night before.  It was great having my family there.  They did not go see me run, as my wife took Brooklyn to the Monterey bay aquarium.  The only though part was waking up at 3am and trying to get ready without waking Brooklyn up.

The meal before the race.  Maybe going to an all you can eat buffet was not the best idea. 

 The start line.  I knew 5 people running this race.  It was amazing that we all ran into each other at the start line without having any plan on where to meet.  For Big Sur you have to get up early, the bus left the hotel at 4am.  You are dropped off at 5am (roughly) and have bout 1 hour and 45 mins to wait.  So it is nice to run into running friends and spend time with them.

Me (in the middle) and a couple of my running friends getting ready.
 Here are some pictures of the course:

 The strawberry stand.  If you are not going to PR - it is well worth a stop!

 Me at the finish.

Taking Brooklyn for yogurt to celebrate my 9th marathon!