2:00am Salinas, CA
A $33 room at the GoodNight Inn doesn't come with a coffee pot or microwave so I had to ask the girl behind the bullet proof window to heat up the cup of coffee I bought at the gas station before bed. She was really nice and met me at the back door to nuke my stale java since it wouldn't fit through the tiny slot in the window. Funny story: Kym was sitting outside by the hot tub after I went to bed and some dude asked her if she was alone and wanted to go to a party. When she said "no, I'm here with my husband" he said "oh, are you on your honeymoon?". Seriously!? Honeymoon at the GoodNight Inn? Classy huh?
So, even though I got my morning coffe and other business taken care of, I was still kind of a basket case in the morning before the race. We needed to leave the motel no-tell by 3 so I could be a little early for the bus at 4:00am and that didn't happen so I was really worried about getting to the bus on time (miss the bus, miss the race, no exceptions). On the drive there, Kym was swerving around on the highway trying to pair up her phone with the blutooth in the rental car and I'm thinking if we get pulled over I'll miss the race for sure, even if there isn't a real DWI infraction. So now we're driving along in a slightly straighter line after a little arguing, but doing about 5 under the speed limit and someone is tailgating us. Just before we exited in Monterey, the tailgater swung around us and sped off in a State Patrol car! Ok we narrowly avoided missing the race in my opinion, and I'm now off to the start village in the yellow bus. Before the bus driver even got to HWY 1 she got lost and couldn't decide which way to turn at an intersection. Suddenly everybody on the bus is shouting different directions at her and now she is just as confused about where to go as I am worried about getting to the start on time. Eventually a very loud voice shouted from the back of the bus "Turn right! Trust me, I live here." and we got back on track. I ended up getting to the start village about 5:45 and had plenty of time for more coffee, a banana, a bagel, and a final POP stop while I waited. All that stress for nothing :)
6:45am Big Sur, CA
The first 6 miles is mostly downhill and I was knocking out 7 min miles without much effort at all. Then came the headwind! No, wait, I mean HEADWIND! It was blowing so hard it knocked me off balance a couple times. I plowed though it until the ascent to Hurricne Point started at mile ten. Then it was time for two miles with about 600' of elevation gain. Fortunately the road is very twisty and on this section we were shielded from the wind for the most part until we got to the top. Once I got to the top I wished the wind was only as bad as miles 7-10(it's all a matter of perspective). The descent from Hurricane Point was not the recovery I expected at all with the wind in my face again. The view was pretty incredible though! Just over the hill at mile 13.1 there was even a dude playing a Grand Piano. Another unusual sight was a herd of cows grazing in a field right by the ocean around mile 15. The second half of the course is a series of not so gentle rolling hills and the wind continued to blow hard from the north. It died down a few times or was buffered by the trees, but never for long and even the downhills felt like uphills with it pushing against me. My pace went from fast down and slow up to slow down and slower up. I never got sore, I was just winded, literally! This race was a huge cardio challenge and definitely the toughest course I've ever ran. Even so, I finished with a BQ and Marathon Maniac Status so I'm calling it a success! I was 30 minutes faster than Boston and felt so much better at the end. The finish area was very cool. I got my medal and got some pics taken by the race photo guy who said I was the best dressed on the course. Then I got a great free post race massage and headed to the B2B tent where I got another medal and a jacket for completing the B2B challenge. The medals are really nice hand designed clay things so they are a bit fragile, but very unique. They also had tons of food and free beer for the B2B finishers and their guests so Kym even got to come back and hang out with me. Everything they say about this race on their website is true. It should be on your marathon bucket list for sure. Now it's time for a nap before the post race party...
4:30 Monterey, CA
The post race party at the Marriott Grand Ballroom was first class. Lots of free fancy food; little salads in martini glasses, spicy thai noodles, coconut shrimp, mushroom risoto, beer, wine, live jazz and a slideshow from the race course. There was a time that I wouldn't have been caught dead in a place like that... I guess I'm one of them now. haha! I'll post some pics when I get home to a computer.
I love the look on the girls' faces in this shot. I think the one right behind me might be a zombie. They must have been 21 milers since this is about the half way point on the course. I still don't get why they have so many distances to choose from in this event. In addition to the marathon they have a 5k, 9 mile, 10.6 mile, 21 mile, and a relay. Passing all the walkers and shorter distance folks in the second half did keep the course from getting too lonely. Nobody likes to suffer alone :)
Sill feeling good after leaving zombie girl in my dust.
The gloves are off, time to get down to business...
Photo bombed by my beautiful wifey Kym. It was so great to have her there at the finish. We had an awesome wine tasting recovery week in Sonoma following the race :)
The finisher medals
Quote from the Monterey County Herald:
"Toughest double award: About 8 percent of the starters had run the Boston Marathon 13 days before. Boston was boiling hot and Big Sur was brutally windy. We're renaming this year's B2B challenge as Boiling to Brutal. Those who received the special B2B medal this year really earned it."