While I've done some longer races and runs lately, this has been my "goal" race for the last 6 or so months. I remember signing up for it, wondering if I really could run 10 miles without stopping. This, I had decided, was to be my "return" race to running, more than the half marathon or the other trail races. I think, because it was on a road, it reminded me of when I first started running, which made it even more special.
The fun experiences (and not so fun) before the race deserve their own post, but since the run is the biggest part of the weekend (And probably the most interesting for you guys) I thought I'd tell you about it first.
The race started for us at about 2:45am, when Ed woke up. Ed was doing the marathon, and had to leave by 3:30 to catch the bus to the start. So, up he went, and unfortunately, I couldn't get back to sleep for about an hour. Finally, around 4:20 or so, I think I finally dozed off, only to wake up for the official wake up at 5!
My sister and her husband were doing the 9 miler, so they were going to drive me to my busses before heading to their race. We all got ready and by 6am, I was on my bus. The other runners were chatty, but most seemed to be in groups. I did finally end up chatting with one woman, which was nice, but, overall, people seemed friendly but not very chatty with new people.
The bus ride went fairly quickly, but, seriously cold. One woman decided to have her window down on the ride and, brr!!! I could see all the runners around me bundling up, but no one said anything. Apparently we all like avoiding confrontation.
Once we arrived, I started to get excited. How could I not, when this is what I saw getting off the bus?
The sun hadn't quite peaked over the hills, but the soft morning light looked beautiful along the coastline.
Sleepy pre-race photo, still bundled up and without my hair done.
We followed the other runners down the hill, where the sounds of a band got louder, rocking out to oldies. Here, at the bottom of the hill, I could see all the runners milling about. I decided to jump in the port o potty line, just to get that out of the way. That taken care of, I had some time to wander and take in the view from lots of different angles.
Lots of runners were heading off onto the point, so I decided to join them.
After snapping some photos, I decided to head back. I had noticed that some other people had what looked to be cups of hot liquid, so I decided to see if I could find some myself. While it wasn't as cold as I thought it might be, something hot still sounded nice.
After that, I decided it was time to head up the hill and get ready. I had no watch, so I had no concept of when the race was going to start, but figured I should get prepared.
The sun was getting higher and starting to hit the ocean.
I got another picture taken of myself, this time, looking like a runner, as I waited to get running.
The sweat check in this race was interesting - You actually start running with your bags and throw them to the side about a quarter of a mile into the race. I was skeptical, but it worked great - I ended up ditching the jacket and running with just my short sleeved shirt and capris. I definitely could have gone for shorts, but, oh well. I hate being cold.
Somewhat suddenly, and with no warning, the buzzer went off, and we were moving!
From the very start, the views were just beautiful. I kept smiling and laughing, though I felt like I was getting more out of the race than others. So many were plugged into their headphones and it just seemed like they were missing out. No chatting with other racers, but I was kept thoroughly amused by the views.
I decided to pull over a few times for photos, and was pleasantly surprised to have another runner offer to pull over and take my picture. Note my awesome running belt - I picked this up at the expo to carry my camera and loved it! Bonus is that it's reflective, so it'll be awesome for night running.
As I was photographing and videoing, another runner asked me if this was my first race. Apparently my zeal made me look new. I casually mentioned that I used to run ultras to prove that I wasn't totally new. After that, I don't think I talked with any other runners - I just focused on running.
And, honestly, I was really focused! I was passing a good number of people, and feeling great.
I did somewhat question my decision to make so many picture stops but decided that at the end of the race, the photos were more important that the finishing time.
I even kneeled down on one of the bridges to get this shot:
My justification is that pictures are part of the experience :).
I really enjoyed seeing my state in such a special way. The miles seemed to really fly by. With live music almost every mile, I felt motivated, and seemed to be making great progress.
Even when I stopped to take photos, I was able to catch back up to the other runners without too much struggle :).
However, around mile 7, I started getting a little tired, and the camera went away for a little bit. I couldn't help but make one last stop for photos in the Carmel Highlands:
and then I just focused on running. I really loved all the downhills, but the uphills were starting to get hard. About a mile before the end, I briefly contemplated walking, but decided that I made it this far, I couldn't give up now.
Final results? 1:48:57 - A 10:17 pace!!!! Seriously, I am so excited about that. That's like "old me" pace. That's "real running" paced.
And, about an hour later, I got to see this wonderful sight:
My soon to be husband (2 months from today!) is the shirtless stud above, finishing his marathon strong in 3:47.
After he finished, we found my sister and James, who had an excellent 9 mile walk.
After that, we all had awesome bbq and basked in the glory of a wonderful day on the California coast.