I was really excited to travel to Big Sur.  Not because there was a race in Big Sur, even if that race is touted as the marathon you should run, if you run only one.  But because I had some beatnik vision of what Big Sur was all about plus a little nonsense about the mystical properties of the area.

What we’ve learned about moi: I am easily influenced by books.

And seriously, when you come across a view like this, how can you not be inspired?

But I digress.  Due to things that sound like excuses (coaching, lack of rest, etc), I opted out of the full marathon.  I had a few feelings about it.  Even though I paid the extra money to be a part of the Runner’s World Challenge, I felt unworthy of taking any part of their service (I think mostly the after race tent & festivities).

Tail between my legs, grabbed my number for the 9 mile race & left the expo.  Even avoiding the runner man extraordinaire, Bart Yasso, who I have wanted to meet since I signed up with Team in Training last spring!  (Maybe he’ll come to the Seattle Marathon in November & I can make up for my blunder!)

And now, for the race…

Standing at the starting line, I wondered why I was there.  I mean, I’d run 7.5 miles two weeks before the race and 13.1 miles a month before that.  I wasn’t training.  In fact, I had done the opposite of train & only played volleyball.

The horn blew & I started to run.  The first mile is always the hardest and this mile was no different.  Reaching a small hill, I stopped to walk as we entered into a neighborhood and the milepost 1 sign.  At the end of the neighborhood, we took a right onto a sandy path with the following view opening up.

GOR-GEOUS!

I ran a little on the sandy path, stopping to take photos here & there.  I finally gave up & decided it wasn’t worth running anymore.  By that, I was stopping so often to take photos, I decided it was better to enjoy the scenery along this course & worry nothing about the race.

The moment I decided to enjoy the view…

After the first milepost, I didn’t see another until I was back on the marathon course and I’m a bit hesitant to believe I walked a nine mile course.  Mostly, because it was the fastest nine miles I ever experienced.  Or maybe, this is what happens when you enjoy the scenery & focus none on the run.

We entered Point Lobos State Park (worth the park admission to see the view!!), was serenaded by an Irish flutist (??) followed by a Scottish bagpiper.  All the while, wondering when I was going to see the next mile marker (I was wearing one day old new shoes).  Point Lobos has been referred as “the greatest meeting of land & water in the world” by landscape artist Francis McComas.  I am not sure I agree 100% but it is not the first time I’ve been intrigued to check out a place based on what someone else said.   (Milford Sound, New Zealand & Rudyard Kipling declaring it the “eighth Wonder of the World” may ring a bell.)

Point Lobos

More Pt Lobos

After the turn around & following my footsteps out of the park, I came face to face with those rare creatures – the marathon runner.  For the last 2-3 miles, I walked along the road as marathoners ran past me.  The runners passing me were in the 3:25:00 – 3:40:00 range.  I was impressed.  Running a hilly course (there is a 2.2 mile hill in the middle), these runners looked so strong.  No shuffling steps.  No ragged breathing.  Minus one leg cramp, they looked as if they had just run one mile.

After seeing the course, I think I may have been a bit premature thinking it was a good first marathon.  And maybe it would have been – who knows.  I do know, I’ll be back.

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