Big Sur - T-Shirt


17 down only 35 to go.

Happy birthday to Tim! He turned 47 on November 17th. And this was our 17th HM, so his birthday present was a no brainer this year. Usually, I have to get creative to figure out something that Tim wants that he doesn’t already have. For example, one year I got him a Mister Bubble T-Shirt (makes getting clean as much fun as getting dirty) that I knew he wanted. I also knew that he would never get around to sending in his box tops. Another year, when we were in Hawaii, I got him cage diving with sharks. Because it was Tim’s birthday weekend we chose a more dramatic destination race. I’m happy and relieved to be able to report that this was a wonderful race. I would have felt awful if I got Tim a race for his birthday and then it sucked. This race did not suck at all, in fact it was a damn near perfect day.

Given the number of people doing this huge race (8905) the packet pickup was extremely efficient. This whole HM was one of the best organized races that we have done. The expo was nice but we didn’t spend much time there. I wished that I needed something but I have so many running clothes that it would be silly to buy more. I do love to shop, so Tim hurried us out of there and back to the hotel to check out our swag bag. We were a bit dismayed to discover that our bag only had a T-Shirt and a couple of advertisements. We also had a virtual swag bag that consisted mostly of local coupons. However, once we did the race it was clear that much of the money went back into the race experience itself. The music along the course, frequent aid-stations (all with port-o-pots), amusing mile markers, and great food more than made up for the fact that we didn’t get any pens, sunscreen or chapstick. Also the long sleeve tech shirt and the medal were high quality.

Big Sur - Music


One of the only complaints we had about this race was the earlieness factor. The race started at 6:55am but if we wanted to park in the free parking garage we had to be there by 5:30am. The roads would be closed for the race (yay) so this was understandable but it meant we had to get up around 4am. As tim so eloquently put it – the race started at, “the butt crack of dawn.” The parking garage was about 5 blocks from the start. It was still dark. It was nice to watch the sun rise over the water.

Big Sur -  Sunrise

Normal people are all still in bed

They slowly hoisted the flag up on a fire truck ladder. It was pretty dramatic with the sunrise in the background and a flock of birds scattering. I love it when someone with a beautiful voice sings the national anthem. I know it’s corny but I felt a little emotional about the whole production.

Big Sur - Flag over crowd

Oh say can you see …

When we signed up for this race they asked us our estimated finishing times. Once at the race we figured out that they had different starting corrals based on finishing times. I was in corral K, the second to the last. Tim was 2 corrals closer but started back with me. I really like the corral system because I have noticed that quite a few slow runners don’t get that they are supposed to start near the back. It’s annoying to get stuck behind walkers in the first mile of a race. I always start near the back because it is way funner to pass than be passed.

The thing you don’t get in smaller HMs is the crowd support of a large event. There were many cheering people with signs. Usually this is not something I care about but during this race I found it charming and invigorating. The bibs had our names on them so people cheered for you by name. One cheering guy was dressed as a bear so, of course, Tim yelled back at him, “Thanks for making it bearable.” Oh dear.

Big Sur - asphalt

Kick some asphalt

Tim ran with me until about mile 4, where a nasty hill forced me to walk. Tim walks only for aid stations, and cold/wet wives having a mental breakdown. We were only around mile 3 when we saw the first elite fly by, already on his way back. Remember, the elites started about a half hour before we did. It was beautiful to see such incredible speed and form blur by. You could hear the cheering well before you saw him. The first woman was wearing a sports bra and a pair of those tiny shorts and did she ever look fit. Sorry no pictures – they were moving too fast for that.

Except for the start and finish most of this race had stunning ocean views. Every mile was marked in an amusing way.

Around mile 6 I hooked up with a woman who I ran with for over 5 miles. I wish I could remember her name because running with her really helped me out but my brain seems to turn off in the middle of every race. I remember that she was wearing a hydration pack because she slowed down to wait for me when I pulled into an aid station for water. This made me really happy because I don’t want to be that person who starts yapping at someone who wants to be alone but is too polite to say so. I did leave her in the last mile because she was walking and I try to run as much of the last mile as I can.

One of my favorite moments happened at some point during the second half of the race. I saw an otter playing in the water and watching runners. The only reason I spotted him was because I saw someone point him out to her friend. The little guy looked quizzical. He would play a bit then stop and watch runners with a – where did you all come from and what are you doing? – look. After crossing the finish line and getting an awesome ceramic medal I saw Tim. There was a longish line for food but it moved really fast. There was a wide variety of food to choose from. When I looked happy about the strawberries the volunteer gave me a whole pint. She said they had too many. Score. They had another line for soup. I have decided that soup after running is as good as chocolate milk. This race also had chocolate milk. Yay chocolate milk and yay to this whole race.

Big Sur - US

My shirt that chafes the least


  • Must be by parking garage at 5:30am
  • Race starts at 6:55am, a little early for November (still dark)
  • Limited swag featuring local coupons
  • First couple of miles were crowded
  • Aweful beer (Michelob Ultra) Tim didn’t even take his free beer


  • Perfect weather
  • Free parking close to start/finish
  • Very well organized
  • Very green race
  • Long sleeve tech shirt with no sponsor logos
  • Music on the course
  • Multiple timing mats (option of online timing)
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Great crowd support
  • Name on bib (people cheered for you by name)
  • Frequent aid stations all with port-o-pots
  • Great ceramic medal
  • Great food spread including soup and chocolate milk
  • Immediate results available
  • Out and back course that allowed runners to see the elites
  • Roads were closed so no disgruntled drivers

We both loved this race and would recommend it as a good destination, special occasion race. It was spendy ($135 each) but they put a lot of that back into making the race a great experience. For the size of this race it was amazingly well organized. Although this was the largest race we have done it had the friendly good feeling of a smaller race. It had a beautiful course with fun crowd support and nice volunteers. What’s not to love? The logistics of a race this size take a little more effort (longer lines, having to get up way early) but this race was worth it. You won’t be disappointed.

Big Sur -  Master

The Masters (over 40) champion

Please leave a comment. I love comments and am lonely without them.


  1. Best medal yet! And happy belated birthday to Tim! This race looks divine. And thanks for the image of the Masters Champion — that will be burned into my retinas all day….

    • Are you going to be in Seattle Saturday? If so we are meeting a couple friends for dinner and would love to have you come carb load with us. Looking forward to seeing you. Dress warm I checked the weather for Sunday.

      • OHmahgawd. I just looked at the weather. I guess this means I can’t wear my lucky Goodwill shorts… I will be with inlaws on Saturday but will see you at or after the race. Safe driving, you guys!

  2. Happy Belated Birthday Tim! What a nice race to give as a birthday present Sharon – it sounded as close to perfect as one could get (do you think this the nicest you two have run in so far overall?).

    I have done 3 Meet Me at Maynard’s so far with Bella – wish I would have gone with you while you were here in Tucson.

    I got my calculator out – you have run 222.7 miles so far, just in races alone – awesome.

  3. Hi you two! I’m back in Tucson after a fabulous visit with Denise. Catching up on your happenings. I am SO JEALOUS that you were in Big Sur. It was one of Dean’s and my fave places, we always liked to eat at Nepenthe’s. I will be going there again next year on the Coastal Crawl.

    I am delighted to hear that you had a near-perfect race! And that it happened in Big Sur is even more wonderful (to me, at least).

    You both look wonderful and happy – and I love love love the photo of Sharon and the margarita! I hope to talk with you this week and get caught up on your trip and SD and what’s going on. Stay happy and healthy. I love you!

    • It was great talking to you. I’m happy you had a good vacation but I missed getting a blog comment from you.(because I’m selfish that way) I hope you had the best birthday ever. We hope to see you soon in San Diego.

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