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”