Since my marathon recap post was kind of long, I decided to separate out the actual weekend part of marathon weekend. We decided to stay in Carmel because of the locations of the bus pickups to take us to the marathon start. Right in the heart of downtown Carmel was one of the pickup spots. Luckily there are a ton of small hotels, inns, and B&Bs in Carmel. Rather than leaving the dog in a boarding place in Sac, I found a place that allows pets (Carmel is historically and well-known as an extremely dog friendly place).
We made a pit stop in Fairfield to get some lunch on our way down on Friday. The wife found a sandwich spot called Joe’s Buffet . They made a tasty sandwich – I had a combo of pastrami and corned beef.
Once we reached Monterey and stopped to do my packet pickup, we swung by PeterB’s brewpub (right behind the expo area at Portola Hotel). I had the Belly Up Blonde since I wanted to keep it light.
Prior to our trip, I had done some research on dog-friendly restaurants in Carmel. A ton of places have outdoor sitting and allow dogs in their patio areas since so many people have dogs (either visiting or living there). The Inn that we stayed at also provided us with a list of some of the nearby dog friendly restaurants. Our living quarters for the weekend was the Svendsgaard’s Inn. This place ended up being only about 4-5 blocks from the bus pickup. The accomodations were nice and it was a small quaint little place. They had a small grassy area in a courtyard with poop bags available.
That first night in Carmel (I still don’t understand how the official city name is Carmel-By-The-Sea…such a mouthful), we walked over to Bistro Beaujolais for dinner.
Billed as a French restaurant, we ordered with this in mind. I had the French Onion soup, escargots, and sand dabs. My wife had a lemon chicken soup and the Steak Frites. The last time I was in the Monterey area is when I learned about Sand Dabs. I guess they’re a local fish that is wildly popular and served at pretty much every restaurant (doesn’t even matter if it is American, European, Mediterranean, etc). I was surprised and pleased to see that they had a Michigan beer and ordered the Founders Porter.
I did it! Successfully (mostly) completed my fourth full marathon. I am currently recovering from a hard effort. I’ll have a separate post about our time in Carmel that is unrelated to the actual marathon itself.
Let’s start with the race expo. We drove down from Sac on Friday late morning and went straight to the Portola Hotel, where the race expo was being held. We had the dog with us so I didn’t get to explore the expo too much on Friday but went back Saturday morning to get a better idea. I had read on other blogs that the expo is typically fairly small for a major marathon and they were correct. Packet pickup was very smooth. The organizers were great in sending out emails prior to the weekend letting me know my bib number since that was what you needed to get your bib. Because there is only one way to get to the race start, I also had to pick up a bus ticket (free) from my pickup location (which was in the heart of Carmel). There were about 4-5 different areas of pickup for the full marathon. After grabbing my bib and bus ticket, I got my shirt and gear check bag and the helpful volunteer put everything into the bag for me. The following morning I walked through the expo. There were a few of the usual booths for various races as well as a few gear booths selling everything from gels to water bottles to clothes. The largest merchandise area belonged to Asics, who is one of the big sponsors. Overall it was a nice little expo area but nothing to write home about. I did find my name on the Big Sur poster that is comprised of every runner.
I had all intentions of a breakout run on Saturday morning but that fell threw just because I was doing enough walking around with the wife. The day before the race, we did drive down Highway 1 to Big Sur because my wife had never been. Essentially we drove the course backwards on our way down and then in the proper direction on our return trip back to Carmel. The drive really showed me just how non-flat the course actually is. When you look at the elevation chart of the race, you go “okay, there are a few major hills and few minor ones,” but when you’re actually driving the course you realize the entire thing is essentially either “up” or “down.” There aren’t actually many flat spots to the course.
The drive is when I really did start to worry about my race and my training. I knew that my trip to Japan as well as my illness didn’t hep matters but I wasn’t that worried about it. After driving the course, I started to wonder a bit. I had an “A” and “B” goal for this race. The “A” goal was to PR the race, which I know is a challenge given the above regarding elevation changes. My “B” goal was to finish under the 6 hour course time limit, which given that I was overall physically okay I figured I should be able to do. Honestly I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt but knew that I had signed up, gotten in the lottery, and trained for it so I might as well give it a shot. Outwardly of course I didn’t reveal my concerns to my wife. Continue reading “2017 Big Sur International Marathon Race Recap”→