Big Sur Marathon in Photos: The 21-Mile Race

While I work on the complete recap of the spectacular 21-mile race at this Sunday’s Big Sur Marathon from Big Sur to Carmel, Calif., I wanted to go ahead and post some of the scenes from the race, so you can get a feel for what’s in store if you decide to run it next year.

You’ll notice that the weather was much clearer on Saturday, when I drove the course with my buddy Rob, who traveled out to California with me to run the race, than it was on Sunday, the actual race day. The fog and clouds were definitely more of a factor on race day — and the wind — so I’m really glad I got as many shots as we did on Saturday. Still, there’s lots of race day snapshots here that are gorgeous as well.

So without further ado, here’s how the Big Sur Marathon went down, starting with a view of Hurricane Point, as you’re coming down the hill and approaching the famous Bixby Bridge:

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Sign up for TNT and save 50%

For the last week of April, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program is offering a 50% discount off the cost of signing up for their marathon, half marathon, triathlon and other distance training programs, starting on April 22 and finishing on May 1.

Here’s the link to sign up and get the 50% discount — just make sure you use the promo code “I AM READY” when you submit your registration. You’ll get both a community of people with which to train in the weeks and months leading up to whatever race you choose, and the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping to raise money for a really wonderful cause.

Learn more about Team in Training and how to sign up at the Team in Training website.

21 Miles in Big Sur. Am I Crazy?

In two weeks, a good friend of mine and I will board a plane and head to Monterey, Calif., to run in the 21-mile race at the Big Sur Marathon. This should be interesting.

It’s been at least a decade since I have run this far in a race — as readers of this site probably know well, I’ve been sticking to the half marathon distance since the middle of the 2000s, and haven’t run a full marathon since 2001′s Rock & Roll Marathon in San Diego. So why, exactly, am I doing this, you might ask?

It sure sounded like a great idea when I signed up for the race back in November. I’ve had visions of running past the waves crashing against the Pacific coastline, gorgeous views looking out onto the ocean and the mists floating in the air ever since then, and have had the best of intentions with regards to training for the race. But to be honest, my training has fallen far short of what it should have been for this race, due to a number of personal factors, including adopting a Golden Retriever puppy (and learning that he prefers to walk, not run, especially when he was really little — though as he grows up, he’s learning to like running more and more).

Still, I’m planning on pressing ahead and going out to California to run the race. After all, the plane tickets have been paid for and the hotel rooms have been booked. And honestly I am really looking forward to being on the course, and running along the Pacific Coast Highway (the Big Sur race is one of those that Runner’s World‘s Bart Yasso has said you should do at least once in your life).

It’s just that with this race, I’m really going to have to reach down deep and find something within myself to finish those 21 miles. Because they are going to be a CHALLENGE with a capital “C.” Maybe that’s what running — and life — really are all about sometimes. Occasionally, we do need to break out of our comfort zones — which, in my case, has been the 13.1-mile distance — and reach for something we think we can’t really do.

Well, I’m about to find out whether I can do it or not. I’ll keep you posted on how things turn out in Monterey. Have any of you ever set a goal you weren’t sure you could reach, whether it was with your running or anything else?