Big Sur Marathon - #2 marathon in less than 2 weeks

Big Sur marathon came within a flash – less than 2 weeks after completing the Boston marathon.

I had some good runs in between the two, logging a 17-mile long run the Saturday in between.

I had mixed goals for Big Sur.

I wasn’t sure how my legs would respond to trying to push hard on the hilly course. A lot hillier than Boston.

More than anything I was mentally tired from the travel, trying to catch up on sleep and rest and being back at work.

We drove up to Big Sur along the beautiful scenic route on Friday. This was a long drive but we stopped along the way to take a few photos, admire the view and watch some beached seals trying to get some sun underneath the cloudy sky.

We were staying at an Airbnb house with friends who were also running Big Sur, in Carmel close to the weekend’s festivities.

We were all participating in the Boston2BigSur Challenge. 3 with type 1 diabetes, 3 without.

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We celebrated Alex’s birthday on Friday evening with a vegan gluten free birthday cake!

A low BGL let me sneak in a rare piece of cake that I enjoyed.

Saturday morning we managed a mini sleep in followed by an easy 3-mile shake out, a stop via the Big Sur marathon expo to get our bibs, and a late brunch of Acai bowls before relaxing in the afternoon in preparation for Sunday’s early morning race start.

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With a household of type 1s we enjoyed asking each other our BGLs, making jokes when someone did something “wrong” or showing off when we had the perfect post-meal BGL.

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I wasn’t nervous about the impending Big Sur marathon – I wasn’t going for a PR. I wanted a respectable time, to enjoy the scenery and not be in pain (mental or physical).

The night before we had a group dinner – Alex and I ate homemade Buddha bowls with a mix of black beans, brown rice, corn, some steamed veggies and hot sauce!

Sunday morning was a very, very early start. I think our alarm went off around 3am with our goal of getting out the house to the shuttle bus by 3.30am.

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The start line/athletes village began to fill up quickly as we huddled together, drinking warm drinks, the 3 type 1s closely monitoring their BGLs to make sure they didn’t go too high or too low.

The fast kids started in front of Alex and I. We were in the front pack as well but a few yards away from the start line.

Go time was 6.45am – I started with a slightly rising BGL in the low 170s.

I was happy with that.

Within the first mile I got a sensor error on my Dexcom. Immediately this took my attention away from running onto wondering what my BGL was. I thankfully had packed my glucose meter in the back pocket of my shorts, so I could manually test my BGLs if needed.

I waited until mile 5 before I took out the glucose meter and got a sweaty, slightly diluted BGL reading of 121. I had my first gel in response to this reading.

I was already tired. I recall telling Alex I wanted to go to bed as soon as we back home after the long drive that awaited us. He was slightly confused but if I knew I could rest after I finished, even if that was 12 hours away, it was something I had to look forward to.

My CGM momentarily came back around mile 6 with a 175 BGL – a little higher than I wanted so I gave a microbolus of 0.2 units.

I was feeling okay at this stage. I was focusing on getting to mile 10 which would be the first big hill and challenge of the race.

I was running side by side with Alex but could tell he was feeling stronger than me. He pushed the uphill while I took it a bit easier.

By the time I got up the 2 mile climb I knew I was going low. I had another momentary BGL reading in the 90s before I got my third sensor error of the race.

I had 3 consecutive gels on the downhill to mile 13.

I needed these not only to treat my low BGL reading but I was way behind on nutrition only having had 1 gel for the first half of the race.

I told Alex he could go ahead after we crossed the Bixby Bridge, around the half way point.

There were rollers from here on out and I planned on taking my time as the mental struggles had started.

Mile 13-17 were the hardest for me. I tried to test my BGLs again with my meter and it wouldn’t turn on. So here on out I was completely blind to what my sugar level was. I had to go off feeling.

I had another two gels before mile 17 which is where I got my 2nd boost.

I wanted to get to the finish line under 3hrs 45mins. That was my goal.

I started to pass other runners as they began to fade and I was feeling better.

I tried to encourage other runners to stick with me.

I understood the pain but wasn’t there at that moment.

The hills seemed relentless and never ending but they weren’t too steep so I could cope.

Coming into the last mile I approached the last steep hill with a lady next to me. We had been going back and forth the last few miles.

We took the hill on together and pushed to the top.

I could hear the finish line announcer and knew we were not far. I started to push harder just trying to get to the finish line.
This guy had overtaken me just past the final hill and I could see him ahead. I pushed to catch up and knew I could overtake. He wasn’t happy with that, so tried to overtake me back.

I wasn’t going to lose this one. I sprinted to the finish line.

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3:37 – not bad.

Alex was waiting for me just over the finish line having finished in 3:22 – an incredible time for his 2nd half of the race.

I was so glad to be done.

I tested my BGLs with a friends meter and a 116 came up on the meter! I couldn’t be happier with that.

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The Boston2BigSur Marathon Challenge was complete.

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We took the 17-mile scenic drive route home after we showered at our friends, friends Airbnb. The warm water was much appreciated.  

I was so glad we decided to do the B2B challenge but I was also happy that our next adventures would be on the trails and the road running wouldn’t be starting up until we would begin our training later in the year for the Chicago marathon.