Friday, May 03, 2013

A Glimpse of the 2013 Big Sur Marathon

[Going micro-blog style for this one...thanks to a broken camera, whoops.]

(Want to know an easy cheat for getting a good picture? Take a photo of the cover of a coffee table book. ;-) )
Friday, 10:44am: Kids asleep in the car, and Christi is a flurry of thumbs on her iPhone as I pilot the two-hour drive to Carmel and Big Sur. Birthday weekend is off and running (#44!), and we've got a full agenda. I'm looking forward to feeling worlds away on the edge of the earth. The silence is precious.

Friday, 3:08pm: Wide-eyed girls stare into the sea at the Monterey Aquarium, mimicking sea otters and giant crabs with funny voices. At ages 6 and 2, they play together more often now, and it catches my breath with joy every time. Runners stroll everywhere, many wearing the blue and gold of Boston, and our stories of the bombings we witnessed two weeks ago become more and more abbreviated. I was at a bar, she was stopped at mile 25, they were in the finish elaboration required since we've shared them all in the last 13 days. A fit Michael Wardian swoops by with his boys, and he's the fastest of ~400 doing the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge. A best combined time means more to me this year, and I want Top 5. Let's bookend those Boston memories with style.

Saturday, 1:15pm: Sharing Coronas at Nepenthe with Kik Armstrong, Paige Alam, and friends, staring over the cliffs. I gained a full pound in one night of birthday fine dining revelry, but it was worth it. Gluttony is always a welcome guest at my annuals. We're near the starting line for tomorrow's race, and the 25-mile drive along the course did little to ease worries of the first timers at the table. We visualize the race - redwoods, wind, the climb at Hurricane Point, Bixby bridge, Carmel Highlands, beer and strawberries at the finish. It's guaranteed adventure no matter what the weather. Quinn, our 2-year-old, eats an entire stick of butter when we aren't watching, guaranteeing gag-worthy diaper changes on the hour all day and night. Good times.

Sunday, 6:45am: In the starting corral catching up with friends, trying not to worry that a hole in my bag resulted in a lost phone, no camera battery, no electrolytes, and no sunglasses. What-evah. There is no place I would rather be, and my smile knows it will be over all too soon. Defending champions Adam Roach and Nuta Olaru look fit, as does Wardian (only guy I know who can run sub 2:30 in Hokas), Ian Sharman (a California resident once again), Oswaldo Lopez (everything is easy after Badwater), Runner's World's Jeff Dengate, Brian Rowlett (50 and still fast), Chris Eide (go Team ITR!), Michael Jimenez (signed up yesterday), Sean Meissner (Durango-acclimated and faster than ever)...I am in quick company. A tearful moment of silence for still feels fresh...and we are released along with the doves.

Sunday, 8:11am: Brian Rowlett lets out a happy yawlp as we cross Bixby Bridge (mile 13.1, 1:26:20), just as the lead women catch us. I'm getting a lot of help in the first half, working with Sean Meissner in the wind, and pacing behind Brian up a very windy and foggy Hurricane Point (Brian holds the Strava record for this climb). The mountains stretch to the sky like Middle Earth, and Brian tempts me with tales of old trails just a few steps away. The green and golden fields are barren of birds and cows....unusual. The grand piano sings to the seals.

(Working with Sean in the early miles, photo courtesy of Sean Curry)
Sunday, 8:45am: For eight miles I've been working with Nuta, the lead woman, heads down on a 2:50 pace. She's all business, I'm just hanging on, and our silence is evidence of a pace near our limits. My legs (heart?) feel heavy from Boston, and Nuta drops me as the hills of the Carmel Highlands (mile 21) rise from the coastline. Hundreds of joggers and walkers cheer us on, claiming Hwy 1 from the cars for an afternoon. I get a baseball-sized strawberry that takes six bites to eat.  The juices stain my lips and cheeks blood red.
(Cruising the coastline, photo courtesy of Sean Curry)
Sunday, 9:37am: I find the finish in 2:52:13 for 19th place, my best time here, but 2 minutes short of a top 5 in the B2B Challenge or my age group. My girls are smiling at the finish, a wonderful treat that instantly whisks away material desires. Adam Roach (2:27) and Nuta Olaru (2:50) repeat their wins, and everyone is in good spirits at the finish festivities. One sip of beer and a handful of strawberries, then Quinn butters up her last diaper to the seams and we have to depart.

(This relay team is stoked for the great handmade finisher medals!)
Sunday, 1pm: I am woken from a post-race nap by the whispered laughter of girls, already in swimsuits, swearing I promised them one last romp in the hotel swimming pool before heading home. The air smells of lilac and lavender, the birdsong has returned. My wife is effortlessly beautiful, smiling with her eyes from behind her book. Am I dreaming? My life is a dream.


  1. Michael Jimenez5/03/2013 12:17:00 PM

    Beautiful, poetic, and funny as usual. Makes me want to lay in the midst of giant redwoods and let my senses feast! - Cheers and Happy Birthday what a great and I have to imagine healing day for all of the Boston Marathoners that ran the B2B :)

  2. Wow... and a birthday to boot! I would wish you a belated happy birthday, but it looks like you and yours had that covered. Plenty of proof here that you are, indeed, living the dream. Keep at it!

    Your post made me nostalgic for when our girls were little and we used to come up from San Diego each year to visit. The aquarium, Nepenthe and Pt. Lobos were de rigueur (now that we live here, we just go more often!).

    So great to run with you - it was a key piece of what was assembled in to a super fun BSIM this year. Thanks Scott.

    Disclosure: With Matthew Lane and an Sharman on Stava, I was taken down even before we arrived.

  3. I suspect not having a camera in your hand slowed you down (of course that makes no sense, but it's what I would claim). Very nice report and nice result - and great that your family got to be part of it!


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