Big Sur Marathon Thoughts

I shivered in my shorts and tank top while waiting for the race to start and there were two sections of the marathon where I was kind of warm, but other than that, we ran with perfect weather under clear skies.

There were plenty of water stops - after mile 5, I read they'd be about every 2 miles, but it felt like they were closer towards the end. I walked through them and I was happy to see them. Wonderful - a legal walk break up ahead! ; )

During much of the Big Sur marathon, we were either running up or down a hill. Surprisingly, the downhills hurt the most. The top center of my right foot started hurting on most of them at mile 9 - only a medium type of hurt, though. Because of my foot, I was happy to see hills up ahead! ; ) My foot is fine now.

Except for the not-too-bad foot pain, I felt better running this marathon than I did running the Houston marathon last January. I didn't get that same heavy-leg feeling I had before. Maybe running faster miles during training helped - many around 8:30 - 8:45/mile pace during long runs. Or maybe running with hills is somehow easier than a mostly flat course because you use different muscles when you go up and down the hills and it gives some muscles a "break".

Besides the hills, there were a few uneven, side-slanted sections of the road. My foot was sliding to the side of my shoe and it was uncomfortable, but not a big deal for me.

I felt better than usual after the marathon. No chafing thanks to Body-glide. My legs are stiff now, but maybe I'll loosen up later today. Walking uphill is uncomfortable, but getting up from a seated position isn't too bad.

This was the most challenging marathon I've ever run. I've only run 3 different courses, but yesterday a marathoner who has run Boston told me that this marathon is tougher than Boston. In the later miles, I remember wondering which is harder - running the Big Sur marathon or giving birth. I couldn't decide!

Although I didn't smile the entire time - the ocean waves, the cliffs, the rocks, the light house, the woods, Bixby Bridge, hearing the grand piano from half a mile away, fellow runners excited to be in such a beautiful place, really nice volunteers - all of this made it the most smilingest marathon I've ever run! : )

I finished! 

Big Sur marathon mile splits - 9:13, 9:16, 8:45, 9:14, 9:02, 9:00, 9:01, 9:15, 9:33, 8:30, 11:44, 10:24, 9:07, 8:32, 9:46, 9:59, 9:05, 9:37, 10:07, 10:55, 10:47, 11:01, 10:34, 10:55, 9:50, 11:41, and for the last 0.52 mile (because you always run a little long) - 9:21. Average pace - 9:48/mile. Finish time - 4:19:50. The plan - to run at even effort rather than an even pace.

Big Sur-Marathon Recap
Big Sur Marathon Expo


  1. I would love to do a run this beautiful! :)

  2. Thanks for sharing this report. It has me excited to take this one on next year - well, maybe? such a beautiful area and stretch of highway I have done by car many times now. My favorite place on earth. Running it? Oh man, those hills and twist and turns.

    Great effort Tina, you should feel proud of your finish and doing it on this course. Thanks again!

  3. Congratulations! It sounds like you had a great marathon. Yay for no chaffing.

    I love your plan - even effort rather than an even pace. I'll remember that one!

  4. I kind of suspected that the downhills might beat you up more than the uphills. Agree, too, that a course with a combo of constant ups and downs feels a bit easier overall on the body than just a pure flat course. I don't much care for all flat - too boring!!! And the off-camber - if not used to that, oh boy! Glad you got to experience just a wonderful day and thank you for sharing it with us. That area is awesome!

  5. Oh, I LOVE the BEAUTIFUL medal - very neat!

  6. What beautiful views! Totally worth the hills :)

  7. Congratulations Tina! It sounds like such a nice race, and you seemed to have handled it quite well.

  8. congratulations to you!
    That is an awesome medal!

  9. Congratulations! A beautiful marathon. Hearing the grand piano must be unreal. And all the sights you see. The hills sound very tough.

  10. Uh yeah, Big Sur is tougher than Boston. After running Boston, I have been worried about your race. I thought Boston was tough, and I had heard about Big Sur, so I knew you were in for a TREAT, with the hills.

    I knew you were tough and could handle it, and you did. Congrats on a great time on a very tough course.

    Big Sur is definitely on my list. I have my whole, after Boston list, which includes several tough courses that I wouldn't attempt until after BQing. I also want to do Mt. Desert in Maine. Need some $$$'s.

    Did you like the cabin?

  11. What an accomplishment! I'm so glad to hear you had a wonderful time and did so well.
    Congratulations Tina!!

  12. Great job, Tina. It sounds like your hill training and faster training runs got you ready for this challenging run! I hope your recovery goes well!

  13. Nice work Tina, it definitely is a very tough course that extracts much pair for it's beauty.

  14. Just got to your blog through another one. Great report on Big Sur. I've only run 2 different marathon courses, so I really enjoy reading the descriptions of others. Sounds awesome, and a great effort you put forth.

  15. Congratulations!!! This is one tough course. What bothered me on it was cambered road. But then the views make it all worth it.

  16. Love this: "most smilingest marathon"

    I've heard it's a super hard course. Great job!

  17. Congrats on a great run! We haven't made it around to posting about our marathon experience yet, but hope to soon. We're enjoying some sore legs and a few days off from running...hope you are too! :)

  18. "I remember wondering which is harder - running the Big Sur marathon or giving birth. I couldn't decide!"

    I laughed SO hard on that! I can't wait to find out what I think on this thought come MCM time!

    I felt like I was there with your rec-cap. Congratulations again on running ONE TOUGH course. You are such an inspiration to me!

  19. Congratulations on your race!!!!! I love how you were able to time yourself per each mile. I will need to google that and learn how to do that. I think that little toy just might inspire me!! It sounded like quite the workout!

  20. sounds like it was a great marathon and one day I would like to do it.

    I love the posts for your days after the marathon. I used to live in No. California and miss the redwoods after looking at your pictures.

  21. Congrats on the great race! We had a lot of miserable fun ourselves.

  22. Congrats on a great race! It looks gorgeous!

  23. Congrats on such a wonderful race!!! Looks like it was beautiful!

  24. I just found your blog by your comment on mine. :-) When I saw your Big Sur recap on your side bar, I had to read it! My husband and I ran Big Sur in 2001 and loved it! We got really lucky because it was an absolutely beautiful day. It was a challenging course, for sure.


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