Big Sur Race report, April 30, 2017

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
6 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Big Sur Race report, April 30, 2017

clark.barrett
Warning: This is another long one. Clark

BEFORE
Remember how I said I was one and done on marathons? (See the Grand Rapids race report). Well here I am again.

Last year I got the idea to run Big Sur. My wife has family in the Monterey Bay region and I think Big Sur is the most beautiful place in America. Also, Bart Yasso (Runner’s World) says if you have to run one marathon let it be Big Sur. That’s enough justification for me. Now, I’m not crazy enough to make that my first one but second sounded within the realm of the possible. Then I remembered that I would have to train through the winter and do hills – which there really aren’t that many of around here. So this was going to be a challenge beyond JUST running 26.2 miles.

Last June or July I was waiting on the registration date when I discovered the Runner’s World VIP (RW VIP) program. I don’t like games of chance and the Big Sur lottery to get a marathon spot is a big roll of the dice.  RW VIP would let me avoid the lottery, get my bib and buy into some nice pre- and post-race amenities. The cost was steep but honestly I was already going to be flying my whole family out there (5 of us) so a couple extra hundred wasn’t going to make that big a difference. Man, I was glad I did RW VIP, it made the experience so much more awesome, for reasons I will elaborate on later.
 
As last fall progressed I was dealing with IT band issues, again. This time in my other leg! Seriously? I fought my way through Brooksie – and PRed – but that was pretty much the end of my races in ’16. I took a few months off completely hoping to resolve the problem. I also started going to Clint Verran to try and better sort things out. They gave me some orthotics, which I’m still not pleased with, and lots of good massage and exercise. I also used their Alter G treadmill to get ready for an unanticipated Army PT test – remember how I was taking all that time off; that had to change quickly.
Most of my IT band issues went away. I still babied things but on the whole winter training went well. Once again my family situation precluded me from participating with YPOM but it was fun to see some of you out on Paint Creek. I worked up to the 20 miler and then the craziness of taper.

As I tapered I was, again, watching the weather like a hawk. This time the numbers were going to be way too hot! I was following three different websites with numbers varying from 50s to high 70s! Weather in coastal California is usually cool but they were due for a hot spell on race weekend. I prayed for cool temps. The actuals weren’t as bad as anticipated but the warmth would still take its toll.

The race expo was in the Portola Hotel in Monterey. It was very nice. When I got there I took part in two presentations before picking up my bib etc. These sessions were among the highlights of the trip. The first one had Tom Foreman, CNN correspondent and author of My Year of Running Dangerously speaking about his book and his running experience with his daughter Ronnie. It’s funny because I was reading this book even before I knew they would be at the expo. I met both of them, spoke briefly and took a picture with the Foremans. His book is a fun read. The second session was with the Runner’s World editors. Bart Yasso, Bud Coates, Robert Reese and Christine Fennessey all gave us a good talk through of how to attack the race. They would repeat a similar brief for RW VIPs in the nearby Marriott later that evening but by then I planned to be eating dinner and going to bed. There would be more presentations with Jeff Galloway, Michael Wardian, and Dean Karnazes during the afternoon but as much as I wanted to stay and watch I had to get back to family and get ready too.
At the RW VIP booth, I was issued my bib and an Asics backpack for my gear check bag and given all the instructions to board the busses. This avoided any wait in the main lines.  The rest of the expo was the standard sort of stuff, the only other really remarkable thing was a big banner they had with all 14000 runners’ names on it. A volunteer took my picture while I pointed at my name. You could also buy a poster size version, but I passed.
Dinner was homemade spaghetti etc. I tried to go to bed early and I was fortunate to be still on MI time. But I still didn’t get good sleep. This appears to be a new race tradition.
Race day started early. I got up around 2:30 am and had some Mcdonald’s pancakes and syrup – purchased the day before – and coffee to get the systems running. My father-in-law was gracious enough to get me to the Portola Hotel and drop me off at the bus pickup. At Big Sur, all runners are shuttled by bus to the various start points. There’s no other way to get there, unless you are staying in Big Sur. Our RW VIP luxury busses loaded and left between 4:15 and 4:30 and drove for an hour from downtown Monterey out to Big Sur. I spoke with my seat mate Tim from Albuquerque, a first time marathoner, the whole way. It was fun to offer my ‘veteran’ advice, LOL.
We were dropped off .5 miles from the start. Due to mudslides, part of Big Sur has been more or less cut off from the world since March/April. The race start was unaffected but in order to turn around 4500 runners worth of busses they needed to adjust the drop off. Pre-race temps were cool among the trees but I was wearing Salvation Army throwaway pajama pants and a hoodie.
RW VIP had their own waiting area with tent, food and beverages and most importantly their own corral of portajohns. They also had their own gear check. I’d read complaints from previous years about the main waiting area running out of supplies and over-crowding, but we didn’t have those issues!    
I was well equipped for the race. Nike Terra Kiger shorts, another custom made Clark the Roadshark t-shirt, Feetures merino socks, and the same Asics (women’s) shoes I ran the last marathon made up my primary wardrobe. I was also wearing some Tifosi Lore shades, a Road ID visor, and a SPI belt. On the belt I carried my Icebreaker merino buff, an IT band neoprene strap – just in case – and the sunglass bag with some Blink eye solution. I was worried about wearing my contacts and windy conditions but I never had a problem. I was also carrying baby wipes, extra bandaids and moleskin, and my cellphone in my SPI belt. This would be the first time carrying my phone on a race, but pictures at Big Sur are practically mandatory! I also carried four gus beyond the one I had at the start. I knew I could get more gu out on the later parts of the course. I also slathered up with SPF 110 and 70 right before gear check. The forecast was for bright sun with a UV index of 9 out of 10.

I dropped my bag and throwaway clothes and then moved to the start. Since I ran 4:20 in my debut on the flat Grand Rapids course I was hoping for an A goal of 4:46 (1 extra minute per mile) on the steep hills and hotter temps of Big Sur. My B goal was beating 5 hrs with a negative split (which was highly unlikely) and my C goal was just survive/ beat the 6 hr cutoff. Following the 4:45 pace group put me in the third and final wave.
DURING
We were off. I planned on running the first 3-6 miles at a slower than usual pace. The RW crew had warned us about the net decline in miles 1-9 and not to burn out the quadriceps with eccentric stretching of our muscles. I settled in with the 4:45 pace group and just enjoyed the ride.
Early miles still zipped by and the forest of 1-5 miles was beautiful and otherworldy – like Endor in Return of the Jedi. Miles 5-9 were a worry point where winds would threaten but we were blessed with very low velocities. Then there’s the daunting two mile climb from 40 ft elevation to 560 ft at Hurricane Point. I’m proud to say other than slowing through water points I never walked, even up to the Point. As you crest this hill you can see Bixby bridge and hear the iconic grand piano from over a mile away. The bridge marks the half way mark and despite surviving Hurricane Point the worst is yet to come. I stopped taking pictures after the piano, it was time to get serious. The total elevation climb of the course is somewhere between 1600 (measured on my watch) and 2400 (on most websites). Only 500 or so is the big hill from 10-12. Almost all the rest is in the second half, which is why I knew a negative split was unlikely for me.
 
I motored on and enjoyed talking to other runners. Around the three hour mark I was experiencing some stomach slosh and maybe sugar overload. I was taking gu regularly and drinking water and Gatorade in a 2 to 1 ratio as the course progressed. It took me about 17 minutes to down the 3 hr gu. I think it was the last one I took. I think there were perhaps not enough water stations on the route, at least given that day’s temps. I had the option to carry a bottle but I expect and hope there’s enough on a course so I don’t have to. I don’t like carrying on a race.

I continued to keep pace with the 4:45 group until around mile 22. That’s when I got concerned. My hands were going numb. This was new. I knew I wasn’t bonking. My pace was good, my heart rate was in the 155 -160 range. I was trying to stay sub 155 throughout and I don’t think I peaked over 165, even on Hurricane Point. So this was inexplicable. I tried shaking them out but they weren’t waking up.
I did some quick number crunching. I wasn’t there to run a PR. I was there to enjoy a singular race on an incredible, gorgeous course. I could walk across the finish or be carried. I chose the former. I slowed to walk up the remaining hills and ran down the other sides. I was surprised that my heartrate was still up, I think due to dehydration. Nevertheless, I knew I could likely speedwalk the remaining miles and still beat 5 hrs and that would be fine. Big Sur forbids headphones but I wanted the motivation so I finally put mine in and rocked it out to the last few miles.
The Carmel Highlands are the hardest part of the course. The road camber (or tilt) exists throughout the race, but it’s truly brutal in the Highlands. You finally make it to the vaunted fresh strawberries at 23 and then into the shade of the trees. Mile 25 presents ‘D minor hill at the D major point.’ Then it’s down to the finish. I came in at an official chip time of 4:56:06 and I was plenty happy. Got my handmade, unique Big Sur medal and my pics and then on to the VIP tent.
AFTER
At the RW VIP tent they had our gear bags and some great food and amenities including massage (I didn’t get one) and a changing room. I have no appetite after such a long race so I packed away some items. I met my family briefly outside and then went back in. I met with Bart Yasso and asked him his opinion on the numb hands thing. He told me it wasn’t too unusual, just a circulatory issue, but that I wisely did the right thing in listening to my body. That was enough endorsement for me!  I had a juice smoothie and some chicken soup which would turn into a bad decision. An hour or so later I left that on the roadside in Carmel. I was shocked that I still didn’t pee until two hours or more later.
CONCLUSIONS
Again if I had a complaint it was likely in the number of water stations on the route. I also didn’t particularly like being crowded into one lane – on a two lane road – but that is really unavoidable. Sadly, the nature of the course prohibits a lot of spectators. I missed their motivation. There are a handful of bands, the famous Taiki drummers at the beginning of the Hurricane Point climb and Michael Martinez manning the grand piano at the Bixby bridge.
The race itself was beautiful, everything anyone has ever said about it. The winds were low but the temps were high, or at least higher than I was expecting or hoping for. This is a once in a lifetime, must do event. I highly recommend the RW VIP events. The extra attention they provide and amenities (late leaving luxury busses with restroom, pre-race compound, individual gear check, post-race luncheon tent, advice from the best runners in the world) are well worth the extra money.
The official virtual gear bag was of limited value, almost all California related items. The race shirt was an Asics tech long sleeved shirt. It’s black – not the best color for running - and the design is a little unremarkable but I’ll still treasure it. The RW VIP program also provided a very nice dark grey half zip long sleeve shirt and the backpack.

Official time was 4:56:06, 11:18/mi
Start time: 6:52:30
5 mile 51:12 (10:14 min/mil)
9.8 mile 1:42:55 (10:30 mile)
13.1 mile 2:21:32 (10:48 mile)
15.3 mile 2:43:10 (10:39 mile)
17 mile 00:00 (00:00) missed mat?
21.2 mile 3:48:02 (10:45 mile)
24 mile 4:26:39 (11:06 min/mile)
26.2 4:56:06 11:18 min/mile

My Polar M400 watch splits registered a total distance of 26.65 miles, 4:56:34 (but I stopped it a little after the line) and a 11:08 avg,.Max pace was 8:38. Avg heart rate was 149, which I think is excellent given the hilly terrain….running to effort rather than pace.
1) 10:24
2) 10:10
3) 10:16
4) 10:15
5) 10:20
6) 10:17
7) 10:38
8) 10:39
9) 10:58
10) 9:51
11) 11:57
12) 11:26
13) 10:14
14) 10:00
15) 10:54
16) 10:37
17) 10:16
18) 11:05
19) 10:33
20) 11:23
21) 10:37
22) 11:05
23) 13:53
24) 13:26
25) 13:32
26) 13:38
27) 8:08
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Sur Race report, April 30, 2017

North Little Rock
Congratulations Clark!!!   
Argenta Lucas
Have a blessed day!


On Thursday, May 11, 2017 4:24 PM, clark.barrett [via Your Pace Or Mine Running Club Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:


Warning: This is another long one. Clark

BEFORE
Remember how I said I was one and done on marathons? (See the Grand Rapids race report). Well here I am again.

Last year I got the idea to run Big Sur. My wife has family in the Monterey Bay region and I think Big Sur is the most beautiful place in America. Also, Bart Yasso (Runner’s World) says if you have to run one marathon let it be Big Sur. That’s enough justification for me. Now, I’m not crazy enough to make that my first one but second sounded within the realm of the possible. Then I remembered that I would have to train through the winter and do hills – which there really aren’t that many of around here. So this was going to be a challenge beyond JUST running 26.2 miles.

Last June or July I was waiting on the registration date when I discovered the Runner’s World VIP (RW VIP) program. I don’t like games of chance and the Big Sur lottery to get a marathon spot is a big roll of the dice.  RW VIP would let me avoid the lottery, get my bib and buy into some nice pre- and post-race amenities. The cost was steep but honestly I was already going to be flying my whole family out there (5 of us) so a couple extra hundred wasn’t going to make that big a difference. Man, I was glad I did RW VIP, it made the experience so much more awesome, for reasons I will elaborate on later.
 
As last fall progressed I was dealing with IT band issues, again. This time in my other leg! Seriously? I fought my way through Brooksie – and PRed – but that was pretty much the end of my races in ’16. I took a few months off completely hoping to resolve the problem. I also started going to Clint Verran to try and better sort things out. They gave me some orthotics, which I’m still not pleased with, and lots of good massage and exercise. I also used their Alter G treadmill to get ready for an unanticipated Army PT test – remember how I was taking all that time off; that had to change quickly.
Most of my IT band issues went away. I still babied things but on the whole winter training went well. Once again my family situation precluded me from participating with YPOM but it was fun to see some of you out on Paint Creek. I worked up to the 20 miler and then the craziness of taper.

As I tapered I was, again, watching the weather like a hawk. This time the numbers were going to be way too hot! I was following three different websites with numbers varying from 50s to high 70s! Weather in coastal California is usually cool but they were due for a hot spell on race weekend. I prayed for cool temps. The actuals weren’t as bad as anticipated but the warmth would still take its toll.

The race expo was in the Portola Hotel in Monterey. It was very nice. When I got there I took part in two presentations before picking up my bib etc. These sessions were among the highlights of the trip. The first one had Tom Foreman, CNN correspondent and author of My Year of Running Dangerously speaking about his book and his running experience with his daughter Ronnie. It’s funny because I was reading this book even before I knew they would be at the expo. I met both of them, spoke briefly and took a picture with the Foremans. His book is a fun read. The second session was with the Runner’s World editors. Bart Yasso, Bud Coates, Robert Reese and Christine Fennessey all gave us a good talk through of how to attack the race. They would repeat a similar brief for RW VIPs in the nearby Marriott later that evening but by then I planned to be eating dinner and going to bed. There would be more presentations with Jeff Galloway, Michael Wardian, and Dean Karnazes during the afternoon but as much as I wanted to stay and watch I had to get back to family and get ready too.
At the RW VIP booth, I was issued my bib and an Asics backpack for my gear check bag and given all the instructions to board the busses. This avoided any wait in the main lines.  The rest of the expo was the standard sort of stuff, the only other really remarkable thing was a big banner they had with all 14000 runners’ names on it. A volunteer took my picture while I pointed at my name. You could also buy a poster size version, but I passed.
Dinner was homemade spaghetti etc. I tried to go to bed early and I was fortunate to be still on MI time. But I still didn’t get good sleep. This appears to be a new race tradition.
Race day started early. I got up around 2:30 am and had some Mcdonald’s pancakes and syrup – purchased the day before – and coffee to get the systems running. My father-in-law was gracious enough to get me to the Portola Hotel and drop me off at the bus pickup. At Big Sur, all runners are shuttled by bus to the various start points. There’s no other way to get there, unless you are staying in Big Sur. Our RW VIP luxury busses loaded and left between 4:15 and 4:30 and drove for an hour from downtown Monterey out to Big Sur. I spoke with my seat mate Tim from Albuquerque, a first time marathoner, the whole way. It was fun to offer my ‘veteran’ advice, LOL.
We were dropped off .5 miles from the start. Due to mudslides, part of Big Sur has been more or less cut off from the world since March/April. The race start was unaffected but in order to turn around 4500 runners worth of busses they needed to adjust the drop off. Pre-race temps were cool among the trees but I was wearing Salvation Army throwaway pajama pants and a hoodie.
RW VIP had their own waiting area with tent, food and beverages and most importantly their own corral of portajohns. They also had their own gear check. I’d read complaints from previous years about the main waiting area running out of supplies and over-crowding, but we didn’t have those issues!    
I was well equipped for the race. Nike Terra Kiger shorts, another custom made Clark the Roadshark t-shirt, Feetures merino socks, and the same Asics (women’s) shoes I ran the last marathon made up my primary wardrobe. I was also wearing some Tifosi Lore shades, a Road ID visor, and a SPI belt. On the belt I carried my Icebreaker merino buff, an IT band neoprene strap – just in case – and the sunglass bag with some Blink eye solution. I was worried about wearing my contacts and windy conditions but I never had a problem. I was also carrying baby wipes, extra bandaids and moleskin, and my cellphone in my SPI belt. This would be the first time carrying my phone on a race, but pictures at Big Sur are practically mandatory! I also carried four gus beyond the one I had at the start. I knew I could get more gu out on the later parts of the course. I also slathered up with SPF 110 and 70 right before gear check. The forecast was for bright sun with a UV index of 9 out of 10.

I dropped my bag and throwaway clothes and then moved to the start. Since I ran 4:20 in my debut on the flat Grand Rapids course I was hoping for an A goal of 4:46 (1 extra minute per mile) on the steep hills and hotter temps of Big Sur. My B goal was beating 5 hrs with a negative split (which was highly unlikely) and my C goal was just survive/ beat the 6 hr cutoff. Following the 4:45 pace group put me in the third and final wave.
DURING
We were off. I planned on running the first 3-6 miles at a slower than usual pace. The RW crew had warned us about the net decline in miles 1-9 and not to burn out the quadriceps with eccentric stretching of our muscles. I settled in with the 4:45 pace group and just enjoyed the ride.
Early miles still zipped by and the forest of 1-5 miles was beautiful and otherworldy – like Endor in Return of the Jedi. Miles 5-9 were a worry point where winds would threaten but we were blessed with very low velocities. Then there’s the daunting two mile climb from 40 ft elevation to 560 ft at Hurricane Point. I’m proud to say other than slowing through water points I never walked, even up to the Point. As you crest this hill you can see Bixby bridge and hear the iconic grand piano from over a mile away. The bridge marks the half way mark and despite surviving Hurricane Point the worst is yet to come. I stopped taking pictures after the piano, it was time to get serious. The total elevation climb of the course is somewhere between 1600 (measured on my watch) and 2400 (on most websites). Only 500 or so is the big hill from 10-12. Almost all the rest is in the second half, which is why I knew a negative split was unlikely for me.
 
I motored on and enjoyed talking to other runners. Around the three hour mark I was experiencing some stomach slosh and maybe sugar overload. I was taking gu regularly and drinking water and Gatorade in a 2 to 1 ratio as the course progressed. It took me about 17 minutes to down the 3 hr gu. I think it was the last one I took. I think there were perhaps not enough water stations on the route, at least given that day’s temps. I had the option to carry a bottle but I expect and hope there’s enough on a course so I don’t have to. I don’t like carrying on a race.

I continued to keep pace with the 4:45 group until around mile 22. That’s when I got concerned. My hands were going numb. This was new. I knew I wasn’t bonking. My pace was good, my heart rate was in the 155 -160 range. I was trying to stay sub 155 throughout and I don’t think I peaked over 165, even on Hurricane Point. So this was inexplicable. I tried shaking them out but they weren’t waking up.
I did some quick number crunching. I wasn’t there to run a PR. I was there to enjoy a singular race on an incredible, gorgeous course. I could walk across the finish or be carried. I chose the former. I slowed to walk up the remaining hills and ran down the other sides. I was surprised that my heartrate was still up, I think due to dehydration. Nevertheless, I knew I could likely speedwalk the remaining miles and still beat 5 hrs and that would be fine. Big Sur forbids headphones but I wanted the motivation so I finally put mine in and rocked it out to the last few miles.
The Carmel Highlands are the hardest part of the course. The road camber (or tilt) exists throughout the race, but it’s truly brutal in the Highlands. You finally make it to the vaunted fresh strawberries at 23 and then into the shade of the trees. Mile 25 presents ‘D minor hill at the D major point.’ Then it’s down to the finish. I came in at an official chip time of 4:56:06 and I was plenty happy. Got my handmade, unique Big Sur medal and my pics and then on to the VIP tent.
AFTER
At the RW VIP tent they had our gear bags and some great food and amenities including massage (I didn’t get one) and a changing room. I have no appetite after such a long race so I packed away some items. I met my family briefly outside and then went back in. I met with Bart Yasso and asked him his opinion on the numb hands thing. He told me it wasn’t too unusual, just a circulatory issue, but that I wisely did the right thing in listening to my body. That was enough endorsement for me!  I had a juice smoothie and some chicken soup which would turn into a bad decision. An hour or so later I left that on the roadside in Carmel. I was shocked that I still didn’t pee until two hours or more later.
CONCLUSIONS
Again if I had a complaint it was likely in the number of water stations on the route. I also didn’t particularly like being crowded into one lane – on a two lane road – but that is really unavoidable. Sadly, the nature of the course prohibits a lot of spectators. I missed their motivation. There are a handful of bands, the famous Taiki drummers at the beginning of the Hurricane Point climb and Michael Martinez manning the grand piano at the Bixby bridge.
The race itself was beautiful, everything anyone has ever said about it. The winds were low but the temps were high, or at least higher than I was expecting or hoping for. This is a once in a lifetime, must do event. I highly recommend the RW VIP events. The extra attention they provide and amenities (late leaving luxury busses with restroom, pre-race compound, individual gear check, post-race luncheon tent, advice from the best runners in the world) are well worth the extra money.
The official virtual gear bag was of limited value, almost all California related items. The race shirt was an Asics tech long sleeved shirt. It’s black – not the best color for running - and the design is a little unremarkable but I’ll still treasure it. The RW VIP program also provided a very nice dark grey half zip long sleeve shirt and the backpack.

Official time was 4:56:06, 11:18/mi
Start time: 6:52:30
5 mile 51:12 (10:14 min/mil)
9.8 mile 1:42:55 (10:30 mile)
13.1 mile 2:21:32 (10:48 mile)
15.3 mile 2:43:10 (10:39 mile)
17 mile 00:00 (00:00) missed mat?
21.2 mile 3:48:02 (10:45 mile)
24 mile 4:26:39 (11:06 min/mile)
26.2 4:56:06 11:18 min/mile

My Polar M400 watch splits registered a total distance of 26.65 miles, 4:56:34 (but I stopped it a little after the line) and a 11:08 avg,.Max pace was 8:38. Avg heart rate was 149, which I think is excellent given the hilly terrain….running to effort rather than pace.
1) 10:24
2) 10:10
3) 10:16
4) 10:15
5) 10:20
6) 10:17
7) 10:38
8) 10:39
9) 10:58
10) 9:51
11) 11:57
12) 11:26
13) 10:14
14) 10:00
15) 10:54
16) 10:37
17) 10:16
18) 11:05
19) 10:33
20) 11:23
21) 10:37
22) 11:05
23) 13:53
24) 13:26
25) 13:32
26) 13:38
27) 8:08



If you reply to this email, your message will be added to the discussion below:
http://your-pace-or-mine-running-club-forum.2996920.n2.nabble.com/Big-Sur-Race-report-April-30-2017-tp7586342.html
To start a new topic under Race Reports, email [hidden email]
To unsubscribe from Your Pace Or Mine Running Club Forum, click here.
NAML


Marathon Maniac #5128
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Sur Race report, April 30, 2017

ssiragusa
Administrator
In reply to this post by clark.barrett
Way to go Clark. What an awesome race report. You should be so proud of your race.
Sooooo, what's next!
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Sur Race report, April 30, 2017

clark.barrett
Thanks Sue. I like to offer the details so others can learn from my mistakes...lol.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Sur Race report, April 30, 2017

divesh
In reply to this post by clark.barrett
Congratulations on another grand finish. Way to go!!
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Big Sur Race report, April 30, 2017

clark.barrett
Thanks to Argenta and Divesh