I wanted to run this race for two reasons. First, it's an almost local that I have never run. The race has always been sold out by the time I thought to register. Second, tomorrow, officially kicks off my training for Mountains 2 the Beach. It’s always fun to kick off training with a race.
The race was scheduled to start at 8AM, but we were sent an email telling us to be there at 6:45 or 7. An hour early seemed like a bit much, but I dislike dealing with parking, so I figured I would try make that happen. My alarm went off at 4PM, and I groggily pulled myself out of bed. For breakfast, I had my usual--a bagel with cream cheese, a banana and coffee, of course. My husband was nice enough to get up and have coffee with me. I was out the house by about 5:30. The drive was uneventful, but very windy. I had hoped the prevailing wind would be at my back, but, clearly, there would be a lot of crosswind.
When, I got to San Simeon Beach, there was plenty of parking, but the lot filled quickly. There were 300 registered and that lot probably held less than 50. It was nice to be there early, because the sunrise was magnificent and the elephant seals were out.
I went down to the beach to take a pic and one of the monstrous seals scared the bejeebers out of me. He was the same color as the sand. I didn’t see him until I was up close. I was focusing on the sunrise and walked right pass the caution tape without even seeing it.
I thought that I had tons of time, but with all my puttering around, I really had the perfect amount of time. We were called to head to the road for the start. Everything was low key. I chatted, and off we went. I knew that this would be an amazingly scenic race. We were running along the beach on the highway. For some reason, I had talked myself into believing that the elevation was flat. We took off up a hill. I kept a really fast pace, but it was killing me. I felt a breeze, but really the wind was a non-issue. My problem was that taken off way too fast up that hill. I was doing OK in beginning, but the hills kept coming. At about the 4 mile mark, I teamed up with a gal to make it to the top of one of the hills. We were chatting back-and-forth and encouraging each other, but I knew that at the top of the hill I would let her have it. I just didn’t have a whole lot of fight in me. People started passing me around the 6 mile mark. I didn’t even try to press back. The view didn't help. It was breathtaking. Every now and then, I would look up and my heart would lift, but my pace would slow.
The race was a straight shot down the beach. There were no awards and no bling of any kind. There were assorted breads to eat and an ongoing raffle. I didn’t have my phone to take a pic of the board. I was number 37 overall. I’m guessing, maybe 10th women. There were some women in their 40’s ahead of me, but I was the first 45-49. Regardless of how competitive I was (or wasn’t), my time of 1:05:07 was slower than I wanted. I’m going to look on the bright side. What would be the point of training 4 months for a race if I were already where I wanted to be? Thankfully, I am capable of 8 miles at MP, but I’m going to have to start speed work sooner than I hoped.
Back to the race...organization was great. The volunteers were friendly. They had an old school method of timing, but it worked out just fine. My only advice for anyone wanting to run this race would be to get there early because the lot will fill up. Also, there are only four bathrooms at the start. By 7:30, I had to wait 15 minutes in line. Participants had to be shuttled back to the start, but when I was ready to go, a shuttle was waiting.
The final treat was seeing the zebras on the way home. Zebras roam around Hearst Castle, and if you are lucky, you can catch a peak from the road.