I just completed my 13th marathon – Big Sur Marathon in Carmel, California. It’s a “bucket list” race for many runners and is known to have one of the most scenic routes in the world. See this article. The race gets a lot of attention – runners talk about it a lot, so I had to go try it out, since the Boston Marathon (another race that has a lot of chatter) really isn’t in my plans. I’d have to shave over 90 minutes off my pace and that’s just not my style.
Nicole was the one that really convinced me to run the race. It didn’t take much once I saw photos of the course! We made plans to head out on Thursday and arrive at Monterey Bay/Carmel on Friday to get ready for the race on Sunday. We took Nicole and Petie’s Sprinter van – basically a FedEx Truck outfitted for camping. Nicole and I took it when we went to Bootleg Canyon about a month ago too.
Chris, Nicole, Petie (Nicole’s husband) and I headed out on Thursday afternoon to make half the drive to Carmel, CA and stop for the night in Truckee which is located near Lake Tahoe. We stayed with Petie’s friend Susie.
We had breakfast at Jax on the Trax before leaving Truckee – here’s the group. Susie, Me, Nicole and Petie. Chris was taking the photo.
When we got back on the highway to continue our trip, the snow proved to be a problem. They had a chain ordinance on Donner Pass, so we had to put chains on the Sprinter Van. Chris is helping Petie put them on.
A photo of boys reading instructions! Wow. Just after I took this photo, a cop drove by and told us the restriction had been lifted, so we took the chains off right after putting them on. Funny!
After a slight delay in our travel due to snow and chain application and removal, we arrived at our campsite at Monterey Bay and saw some deer. Our campground was about 10 minutes from town but felt really remote.
I woke up on Saturday with a cold- not so good for the day before a race, huh? We ran errands in the morning – picked up our packets and stopped at Target. They sell hard alcohol at Target! Wow. Not even in Minnesota do they sell hard alcohol there! Crazy! I didn’t buy any booze, but I did buy some cold medicine.
Packets and numbers ready to go!
Cool sign, huh?
Closer up version – can you see the .2 next to 26.2? The race runs along Highway 1 – it’s a pretty busy narrow road and they close it for the race. Pretty lucky!
Sunday – race day started off in trash bags. Here’s Nicole all cozy waiting over an hour for the start of the marathon. Big thanks to the friends we were staying with for the trash bags!
I’d like you to meet Britney. She’s here in pink putting on her camelback. I ran the entire race with her and didn’t know her ’til we got on course. She was running with her hands in her pockets and I started a conversation about it at mile 0.5 and I thought I was bothering her. Turns out she wanted to run the whole race chatting with me. Talking to a friend while running, is my FAVORITE way to run. After 26.2 miles, Britney is now a friend.
Yep. This is the course. Pretty cool.
This is Bixby Bridge – it’s at mile 13 just after a 2 mile uphill.
Here’s a photo of me in front of the bridge – Mile 13 of my 13th marathon. 13 is the Wawra family lucky number. My parents were married on Friday, February 13th, and have the number 13 tattooed on their feet. My sister got married in 2013 and I have yet to find my connection to 13, but know it’ll come. It’s the Wawra number.
After you cross Bixby Bridge, there’s a guy playing a grand piano – Britney and I stopped to take a photo with him.
Coming in from our last hill. The race was HILLY, but they weren’t that bad. I told Britney, I live in the mountains and I run up hills, so we were running up all the hills of the race, no walking. And in the end, maybe because of chatting with Britney, maybe because of living in Park City, maybe because of good training, the hills weren’t all that bad. We did run the whole race – even all the hills.
Coming in to finish!
Finishers! This is Nicole and I. I wish I’d gotten a photo with my girl Britney.
Finish time: 4.58.32.
The race course is closed to public during the race, so Chris and Petie never got to see the course we ran and Nicole was running too speedy to take photos, so we drove the course post-race to slow down and check things out.
We put our feet in the ocean. The freezing cold water actually felt good on some sore muscles!
Big Sur Coast – I ran all the way along here.
Chris and I with Bixby Bridge in the background – not sure why we have our arms around each other way awkward?