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Big Sur Half Marathon

Posted by ToshiMoshi on Nov 14, 2007 11:05:00 PM

Sunday, November 11, 2007 57F Fair, windy


We did it! The Big Sur Half Marathon is ovah!

The rain had stopped and it turned out to be a gorgeous day. The sun came out as we ran along the picturesque coast of Pacific Grove. The wind was blowing hard, but it felt so good to run in such a beautiful place. I also fulfilled my goal of finishing in 1:23 (finished in 1:22:40). I am one happy runner The crazy Brazilian band was really awesome (the singer remembered me!) and the bagpipe in the tunnel was mind-boggling. I had no idea bagpipe could be so loud!


Since no one answered my call to Join My Pack - look for Bib#444, I've written my own race report.


Here are my splits from my watch:

mile time

1 6:19

2 6:25

3 6:06

4 6:30

5 6:24

6 6:24

7 6:31

8 5:27

9 7:07

10 6:19

11 6:06

12 6:31

13.1 6:36


I took the first mile slow. I did not want to start out too fast, so I intentionally stayed back at the end of the "A" corral. I had to weave around a lot of people to find runners who were running at my pace, but I managed to run the first mile in 6:19, which turned out to be one of the faster time in the whole race.


Runners gather together in downtown Monterey.


Judy, me, and Jorge just moments before the race. It was windy.


The second mile took us to downtown Monterey and into the tunnel where the bagpiper was playing. This time, I was following a tall guy in a white shirt who looked like a younger version of Matt Fitzgerald. 6:25. Not too bad.


A pianist at downtown. He played on a grand piano in the Big Sur International Marathon.


Runners approaching the Custom House Tunnel.


Jorge stopped to take the picture.


One of the coolest part of the course in the half marathon.



The bagpiper in the tunnel


After the tunnel, we ran down to Cannery Row, passing the Monterey Bay Aquarium and climbed up a short hill to Ocean View Blvd. We ran along the American Tin Cannery Outlets.


Dock by the Fisherman's Wharf


Colorful restaurants line up at the pier.


Running down Cannery Row


Greeted by Mr. Forest Gump himself


The Brazilian samba band. I would see her again at mile 12.


Mile 4 is where we first start running along the coast. The wind started to pick up and the runners started forming a line, trailing one runner after another. I'm still following the guy in the white shirt.


Runners running on Ocean View Blvd along the coast.


Runners would come back on the paved trail.


The sun shines on the coastline


I'm sure the sound of 4000+ runners and walkers stomping the road woke them up.


Mile 5 had the biggest hill in the race, where we turned left on Fountain Ave to run up the hill to downtown Pacific Grove. The hill was not as steep as I thought. I was following the guy in a white shirt, but the guy in a yellow shirt with a beanie was going up faster in shorter strides similar to mine, so I started running with him. It was a good decision, since he was also fast downhill and took over the guy in a white shirt, never to see him again.


Downtown Pacific Grove


Now, we were back to Ocean View Blvd. by Lover's Point. There was a water station and I grabbed a cup of water. I was getting warm, so it was a good thing I didn't overdress. I asked the guy with a beanie what time he was shooting for and he says under 1:25. I thought he was making a really good time. Since he was in front of me and getting most of the wind, I decided to take the lead and take the wind. I was hoping we could help each other to catch up to the pack ahead of us, but he wasn't behind me when I caught up to the pack.


This was also the time when the sun started to come out. The scenery was beautiful, but the wind was blowing fiercely. The pack I was in had a couple of local runners, because he was getting cheers from the locals by the first name.


The sun had come out and shined on the rocks emerging from the water.


At mile 7, we encountered the first runner heading back on the opposite side of the road. A Kenyan MacDonald Ondara, who won the 2007 San Jose Rock 'n' Roll half marathon in 1:01, followed closely by a non-Kenyan runner. I thought I saw a first female, but it was a small male runner. Then, a runner in long dreads came and the runner next to me pointed out that's the first female, but the runner turned out to be a male, too. Around this time, the wind had turned into a tailwind and it became easier to run. And I finally saw the real first female runner, running strong by herself (I think she smiled at me).


I grabbed the GU before the turnaround point. I was sucking on it with a cup of water, but I spilled most of the water and I was reduced to eating the GU straight, no chaser. I think it was the mint chocolate flavor. If my teeth look black in the pictures, that would be the reason. The taiko drummers were at the turnaround point, too. Somewhere around here, I clocked 5:27 mile, but I think it's a mistake.


The taiko drummers right before the turnaround point.


The turnaround point


The taiko drummers revisited


I caught up with another pack (or may be a pack caught up to me) after the turnaround point. A guy named Greg was getting a lot of local support. He told me this was his hometown. We were running back the same way we came, so the tailwind was now a headwind. Somehow, of all the runners in the pack, they brought me, the smallest guy, in the front to take all the wind and I wasn't appreciating it. I asked Greg to take the lead, but he doesn't make a move Come on! Then, to my surprise, I saw Judy waving at me and cheering me on. I felt so happy to have my personal cheering squad. I decided to crank up my speed and leave the pack behind. I think this was just after mile 9. I figured I could sustain 6:19 min/mile or faster for the next 4 miles.


A slight downhill from the turnaround point


This part was really windy.


I sped up right after mile 9 marker.


Then, I came across Jorge recording me on the video. Everyone started cheering at me and I got another boost of energy. I pushed myself harder. I think I pushed a little too much, because I was running out of breath. My cardio couldn't keep up and I slowed down a bit. But, I caught a glimpse of the runners ahead of me and I was getting tons of crowd support from the runners calling out my bib number. I pushed on.



Go! Toshi Go! Jorge cheering me on.


One of the many mansions on Ocean View Blvd. His wife brought him a cup of coffee as he watched the race.


I passed the water station at Lover's Point and I grabbed a cup of Gatorade. From here, the runners get on a paved trail. I saw a guy in a blue shirt catching up to a guy in a red shirt a couple hundred yards ahead. May be I can catch them. I had 2 more miles to go.


I head back on the trail after Lover's Point.


I passed by the Brazilian band right before the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Brazilian samba raised my spirit. It must be my Latin blood. I ran down Cannery Row and saw the mile 12 marker before the 5K finish line. The US Army volunteers were calling out the splits like a chant, but it doesn't register to me. I just pressed the split button on my watch. Then, I heard a guy saying I'm on 1:23 pace. Right on. I climbed up Cannery Row back on to the trail and saw the guy in a red shirt less than 50 yards ahead of me. I think I can catch him. I passed the final water station and see a little girl dancing. I wiggled my arms like a chicken. I was feeling good. Then, I came to a path where I ran with Judy before the race to do some strides and saw the finish balloon past the bend in the road. I caught up to the guy before the 13th mile marker and made a mad dash to the finish. He didn't answer me, but I kept charging. I heard the guy on the microphone calling my name, "Toshi-kazu Hosaka from San Jose... with a flying finish!" Call it a leap of joy. I caught a glimpse of the time and it's still 1:22.

I finished under 1:23! I congratulated the guy in the blue shirt and the red shirt who gave me the motivation to push at the end.


Forest Gump at the end of the Run Forest Run 5K run around mile 12.



My flying finish. Photo courtesy of Marathonfoto (but I did pay for the digital copies)


Drenched in sweat, I picked up some food, my bag, and the finisher's shirt. Luckily, I found a generous man who let me leave my bags with him while I looked for Judy. He was cheering for his family members.


Thanks for watching my bag, Jaime! We cheered on his wife and his friend and Jorge.


I ran with Judy for the last mile. She had some stomach troubles along the way, but she looked good. Before I found her, I saw a man teeter and fell on Cannery Row. He tried to get up, but collapsed at his feet. Runners around him gathered around him to assist him. They quickly called 911 and the fire truck arrived in minutes. I hope he is okay. Judy finished in 2:05. Not bad for a first half marathon!


Me and Judy after the race


Jorge finished in 2:26 minutes. Despite stopping to take pictures and video, he ran faster than the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll half marathon! Thanks to him for taking pictures and videos!


The finish area


The dogs are in style in Monterey.


The elite runners wait for the award ceremony


We met up with Dan, who works with Jorge. He is preparing for his iron man race next year.


Jorge relaxes with a cup of Joe at First Awakenings after the race. It was crowded with runners, but definitely worth the wait (But, I couldn't wait and downed a cup of clam chowder). Again, he finished the whole plate. I saw the singer of the Brazilian band there and thanked her for a great performance. She said she remembers me from the race!


They're known for their pancakes, too.


Jorge drove back to San Francisco, but Judy and I visited the beautiful white beach of Carmel-by-the-sea.


I still had the energy to play at the beach.


And run...


And run some more!


So did my girlfriend!


Judy showing her Pilates move


A pug at the beach checking me out. There were so many dogs at Carmel.


Thanks to all the volunteers for a memorable experience. Thanks to the Brazilian band chick. You rock! Thanks to the bagpiper, the pianist, the taiko drummers, the US Army volunteers, and all the runners and onlookers who cheered for the short asian dude with a bib# 444. Thanks to Judy for praying hard for a safe run and a beautiful race day. Thanks a bunch to Jorge for taking pictures and videos! Now, I'm off to Cancun. Anyone know a good trail in Cancun?

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