|(Want to know an easy cheat for getting a good picture? Take a photo of the cover of a coffee table book. ;-) )|
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 tent...no 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 Boston...it 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)|
|(Cruising the coastline, photo courtesy of Sean Curry)|
|(This relay team is stoked for the great handmade finisher medals!)|