Sunday, April 7, 2013

San Luis Obispo Marathon Recap

After over a month of no real running and definitely no marathon training, I was betting on some miracle to get me through this 26.2 mile adventure. I made the decision not to quit, so I toed the start line eagerly to see whether my left knee would let me run...or whether I would be forced to walk the whole thing. So here is how it went a nutshell:

Mile 1 - wow, I think I remember how to run but it's definitely not pain free.
Mile 2 - Uh oh...
Mile 3 - Why am I so tired?! Still yawning.
Mile 4 - Finally, the sun's up....yet I feel the opposite of awesome.
Mile 5 - Ok, I think I'm warming up slowly...
Mile 7 - It hurts more to walk then to run. So I'll run. Hobble-wobble.
Mile 9 - Ouch.
Mile 11 - OUCH. No more running. Completely disillusioned and ready to cry.
Mile 12 - Begging medical tent for painkillers...mission unsuccessful.
Mile 13 to the end - Found and ran with an angel, called Gisela. We run-walked (9min run, 1min walk) the rest of the race. Beast mode. I am not sure what I would have done without this amazing lady.

I was prepared for everything, but I must admit...walking a 7+ hour marathon was not my ideal scenario. Thankfully, I managed a 5:27. Slowest marathon but who really cares?! Humbled and happy.

Ok, race details...

START - low-key, very easily accessible. Great to stay on Monterey St, since you can simply walk to the start line at the high school. Otherwise it's a shuttle situation, and those left at an ungodly (4am) hour from the parking areas.

Dean Karnazes set us off with a motivational little speech: "raise your hand if this is your first marathon. [lots of hands going up]. Are you ready to DIE?!"
COURSE - This is NOT a flat course. The elevation profile is misleading. About 80% of the course is rolling hills. Absolutely gorgeous scenery and no crazy climbs, but the hills do add up. The last 5 miles is pretty much flat/downhill though, which is nice. I repeat...the scenery is absolutely stunning. And for a small race, crowd support is great. The course is well marked and intersections manned by volunteers, who are great cheerleaders too, for the most part. Aid stations are frequent with lots of gel stations (CLIF) and I liked the electrolyte drink on the course, too.

FINISH - Parking was (I am told) refreshingly easy at the finish line and it was pretty uncrowded. The jamba juice tent was full of deliciousness and if it wasn't for the wind, I would have hung around longer.

SWAG!  The long sleeve tech shirt is great. Soft and comfy!

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