The biggest challenge of this no spending project will definitely be no half-marathons and marathons this year. With clothes and shoes, shopping can be somewhat addictive, but I prefer clothes that can withstand a few seasons and not necessarily trendy, so I’m confident I can do without for the year. Travel is fun, but I’d much rather save up my vacay so I can take off for weeks at a time, so that’s something I need to do this year due to my recent trip, anyway.
Races, though, are fun and motivating since it gives me a goal to work towards, it’s motivating to get a long run on a weekend morning while most people are still asleep, there’s so many cool themed ones out there now in cool scenery, and a lot of my friends constantly post about their training (and also ask me which one(s) I have lined up this year since they expect it, so that makes it uncomfortable for some reason to admit I’m not doing any this year… I suppose it’s like not having any runner street cred?).
At least I have the fond memories of my last marathon. I’ve mostly ran Southern Cali races for their convenience, but a couple of friends signed up for Big Sur last year and urged me to do so before they sold out. When I checked the site, it was 85% full, so I impulsively (part of my problem) registered, never mind that I was nursing a busted ankle at the time of registering that I knew would just heal if I just didn’t run as much (not totally broken, but definitely hindered training).
Big Sur is incredibly hilly – I’m used to rolling hills, but it tends to be constant at Big Sur. The roads are also very slanted in more sections than I’m used to since it’s on the 101 (or 1?), and just as your acclimating to a shorter left leg stride to compensate for it, you turn and then suddenly you have to recalibrate your right leg since it’s now slanted the other way! There’s also Hurricane Point around halfway through the race – a gradual but steep mile that is super slanted, super windy, and all things challenging! I don’t think many people expect to PR at Big Sur, and it’s definitely a mother of a course!
But – it lives up to its name as “Most Scenic” for sure!! I’m from San Diego and get to enjoy beach runs frequently, but I often found some of the scenery literally breathtaking (like actually holding my breath at the gorgeousness of the sights when I wasn’t huffing and puffing). Since my ankle injury stayed with me throughout training, I knew I wouldn’t PR so I decided to just enjoy this one and take pics along the way… I definitely wasn’t the only one amongst the runners! I didn’t take pics during the challenging parts like Hurricane Point (and I regret not taking pics of the pianist whose beautiful music could be heard through the twists and turns of the course as you descend Hurricane Point – it was eerily motivating!), but I did manage to get a few cool shots that don’t even do the course justice:
I truly recommend it to anyone that enjoys a beautiful course and a great challenge. Not to mention the medal is pretty cool and unique:
And of course, the post-race food is a thousand times more delicious since all your taste buds are on overdrive!
Next time I’ll talk about the San Francisco Nike Women’s Half (my favorite half, though I also enjoy La Jolla Half in my hometown). As much as I know my wallet will benefit from not spending on races, and also hopefully my ankle without something to train for, I can’t wait to join another race in 2014!