TOP 10 at BIG SUR!

29 Apr

As most of you know I ran the Big Sur International Marathon on Sunday! The plan was to run, have fun, enjoy the views, and take pictures. The secret goal all along was to come in Sub 5 hour! Kara somehow talked me into doing this marathon last July.  Race weekend was finally here!

We got to Monterrey Saturday afternoon. Got checked in and hit up the expo!
We saw some Nuunies and chatted with them! I met up with one of my readers, Jonathan, and talked strategy about the race. 🙂

We checked out Fishermen’s Wharf and had a great “early” dinner. The day was gorgeous!

We had crepes for dessert! It was delicious and did not disappoint!

It was surreal to be at the start line at 5:15am in the dark with all the other crazies that were doing this event! As we made our way to Wave B: Kara and I both looked at each other and said: We are going to RUN a marathon today. 26.2 miles. This cannot be real!
I decided to do a little different re-cap this time around. Since we were running for “fun!” Here you have the:


10. The weather. The weather was perfect. I know it is not perfect every year but it is usually pretty good. Good time of the year!

9. The finish line. It is not really anything special but you can hear the announcer and you know you are getting close. It is something special after you have conquered this ultimately tough course!
We had time so we stopped for one last picture!

We were done! We had just run 26.2 miles! How did that happen?

8. Embrace the hill! The elevation chart does not do the course justice. You are constantly going up and down! At least you know when you go up you get to go down! The climb up Hurricane Point really is not that bad. Just long and steady. It is the ups and downs of the second half of the race that are HARD! Tip: Train on hills of all sizes. Do hill repeats. Practice the ups and downs of the later part of your long runs. Running down hill in training is just as important as running uphill because your quads are toast by the time you get to mile 20. It only gets harder the last 10k!
Going down at about mile 9! But you can see the climb up Hurricane Point in the distance.

Lowest point on the course! Getting ready to go climb up to Hurricane Point!
At the top of Hurricane point looking down at the decent and the Bixby Bridge.

7. The medal. The coveted ceramic medallion. It is just as cool in real life. Miles 24-finish were all about: Lets just finish this. The medal is waiting for us! Can’t wait! We are almost done! How have we been running for 4+ hours!!

6. The mile markers. The mile markers were all so creative! Make sure when you run this race you read all of them! Here are some of my faves:

5. The strawberries. Everyone said there were strawberries at mile 23. I had forgotten about them until we saw the mile 23 sign. There was an aid station. BUT NO strawberries. Instead of getting sad we had our water, Gatorade, and just kept truckin’ along. We started to go up yet another hill when we saw some strawberry balloons along the sidewalk. We were getting closer to Heaven to the strawberries. Everyone was right when they said they were delightful. They were more at 23.5 which was a nice “surprise” at the top of the hill! Tip: eat as many as you can. I had 3 and wish I had grabbed about 10 more.


4. The entertainment. Tip: Do not wear headphones. Listen to all the sounds of the ocean, talk to other runners, enjoy the music on course. It is funny how some parts were real quiet and somehow it was ok.
The cow at mile 7ish. All of a sudden there was this cow all by himself moooooooo-ing. It was the cutest thing ever. We didn’t know if he was just cheering or telling all the runners to get the hell out of there or he just needed help getting off of the hill he was on! 🙂 It was too cute!

The Taiko Drummers–at mile 9.8 to give us motivation to get up our 2 mile climb up to Hurricane Point.

Martin Martinez–at mile 13.2. We knew the song he was playing but couldn’t put our finger on it! He was a very popular guy!!

3. You get to RUN over the Bixby Bridge!


We were half way home!


2. NO pressure to PR. Since it is such a hard course it would be difficult to PR on. Take pictures and enjoy every minute of the race. Tip: run it with a friend! It is well worth it!! Tip: Run watchless. No need to worry about your splits!
Even at mile 25. The sun started to come out. There was still 2 more hills to go. It was hot. But you have each other to keep it going!

1. THE VIEWS!! You cannot even imagine how gorgeous these views are unless you have been there! It absolutely takes your breath away! Tip: Take a camera! We weren’t looking for a PR so we had time to stop. We weren’t stopped for very long because we could enjoy the views while we were running.

Our first look at the ocean!

The Point-Sir Lighthouse

Somewhere between miles 15-20
Sometimes you had to look behind you for a view!

This was absolutely my favorite marathon!! If you ever have a chance to do run it!! Just do it!! We signed up in July and it was sold out in an hour. You have to be ready for it!!

My ONLY complaint: The banked highway. The entire way. It is noticeable also. Especially in the last miles when you can feel everything!

If you stay in Monterrey/Carmel after the race you should check out: Refuge It is a relaxation spa. You go through a hydrothermal cycle. Hot(Shauna or Steam) to cold water plunge to relaxation to warm/hot pool to relaxation and repeat 3-5 times. There was a coupon for 2 for 1 in our virtual goodie bag. Probably our best idea we had all weekend!!

Who wants to do Big Sur now? Anyone already have it on their bucket list?

20 Responses to “TOP 10 at BIG SUR!”

  1. Kara April 30, 2014 at 8:14 AM #

    WOW those photos are awesome. CONGRATULATIONS! I love that you went into it just looking to have fun. Those are always the best races! Looks like you had an awesome trip as well. Yayyyy for you!! 🙂 🙂 I’ve always wanted to run this – maybe next year will have to be the year?! (Want to join me?) Great job!

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats April 30, 2014 at 1:20 PM #

      Thanks!!!! It was so fun!! Definitely a race to do!! I would love to do it again but there are so many I want to do!!! 🙂

  2. Jonathan94002 April 30, 2014 at 9:16 AM #

    So awesome to have met you, Leslie! You’re as sweet as your many desserts!

    I agree with your top 10 list. Although, I had problems with #2, as I thought that I was ready for a better race than my first one. Oh well, there’s always the next one for a faster PR.

    But, yeh, definitely the spectacular views. And, definitely, the course map gives the false impression of significantly fewer hills than the actual number. The last half hills were brutal…much more brutal than the the rise to Hurricane point. I trained on hills, but wasn’t really ready for how many hills there were over 26 miles. And, I had the same thoughts about that cow as you did! That sucker just kept on mooing! Definitely one pissed off cow, I thought. Lol!

    Good luck in your training!

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats April 30, 2014 at 1:22 PM #

      So fun to meet you too!!
      It is so funny how everyone talks about the climb to Hurricane Point but no one talks about the hills in Carmel!! 😦

  3. Change of Pace April 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM #

    Congratulations on another marathon- and a tough one at that!!
    Big Sur looks stunning and has been on my bucket list forever! After being in that area this winter and loving it (and reading your top 10 reasons!), I want to do it even more!
    Your photos are so beautiful; I love the mist coming off the ocean in some of them.

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats April 30, 2014 at 1:23 PM #

      Thanks!!! It was so much more enjoyable then Arizona!! 🙂
      Yes!! You have to race it!! I think that you would do great!!

  4. Kristen L April 30, 2014 at 6:20 PM #

    ME! I definitely want to run it after all those amazing photos. Wow, so beautiful. I’m glad you had fun and so highly recommend it. It is now officially on my race bucket list. 🙂 Congratulations on finishing another marathon!

  5. Heather @ April 30, 2014 at 6:29 PM #

    I love this kind of recap! That was great! I think I should makes this my comeback marathon 🙂 No PR pressure but an AWESOME experience. Congrats girl!

  6. Luv What You Do May 1, 2014 at 7:29 PM #

    That looks like a BLAST! I am inspired! Those signs are so funny and the medal is awesome. Congrats on another fun and successful race!

  7. Kristen @ Glitter and Dust May 1, 2014 at 8:49 PM #

    I love all of your photos, Leslie. It looks like you had a blast! The mile markers are seriously the best I have ever seen. Those alone make me want to run the marathon – I would be thinking to myself the entire time, “gotta get to the next mile marker, gotta see what it is!” Now that’s motivation, right? This one will definitely be added to my list. 🙂

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats May 2, 2014 at 9:58 PM #

      Thanks!! Definitely a good way to run a marathon!! It is funny cause I think the miles went faster because of the mile markers.

  8. Kecia May 3, 2014 at 6:41 AM #

    Congrats Leslie!! I love all the pictures!! It is so much fun to run a marathon and take your time while enjoying the scenery and taking pictures 🙂 I have a great friend who has run the Big Sur Marathon and highly recommended it!!

  9. bayrunnerjamie May 3, 2014 at 3:19 PM #

    Congratulations, such a dream race!! Your photos are stunning, and it looks like you were able to enjoy your time and take everything in to the fullest. This is a lottery race, right? This is the most detailed review of the course I’ve seen, it makes me want to run it that much more!

  10. ilana May 4, 2014 at 1:20 PM #

    Best race report ever! You two are so tough and looks like it was beautiful enough to actually make up for the hills. Way to go, Leslie and Kara!!!


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