A Month Ago I Became A Marathoner…2 Years Later

A Month Ago I Became A Marathon…2 Years Later
By Tara Chavanne

“But guess what….a month ago I became a marathoner (a Big Sur Marathoner)….and I am planning on going back in 2015 to kick Big Sur’s butt!!  I got this.”


TaraThose were the last words I wrote about the Big Sur Marathon 2013.  It is now 2 years later and I AM a Big Sur Marathoner 2 times over.  But the big question is, did I kick Big Sur’s butt or did Big Sur kick mine?!?!


To start with, I came up with a few goals going into this second race. #1 No Tears (you would think this would be easy to accomplish, but if you read the first recap…it’s not). #2 Big Sur PR (faster than 4:58:18). #3 Marathon PR (faster than Space Coast 4:35:37). #4 All time PR goal of 4:30:00 and, the most important goal #5 HAVE FUN! 


In order for me to obtain my most important goal, I convinced (suckered) fellow Moon Jogger Rebecca DeVall to run her very first marathon with me. There ended up being four Moon Joggers running Big Sur, Carolyn Guhman ran the 21 miler, Dallas Millican ran the 10.6 miler and we had a guest appearance from our Fearless Leader, Angie, cheering us on at the finish line. 



Even though Rebecca and I live on opposite coasts, we had a great 9 months of training together, stressing together, and getting excited together to run one of the hardest marathons in the country.  We both had minor running issues; Rebecca’s hip had been hurting during long runs and my hamstring was still not 100% since I injured it during my first Big Sur adventure.  We decided to run the race together (with the caveat that if one of us was having the race of our life….or wanted to die….the other could run their own race).  I knew having a running partner with equal running abilities (and sarcastic nature) would be what would carry me to that finish line with a smile on my face (Tara 1, Big Sur 0).


A week before the race, like normal, crazed runners, the Moon Jogger contingent started discussing the weather and how it was supposed to be cold (for California), rainy  (unlike California) with wind speeds of 14 mph (just blah, California)…not the best running weather.  As it turned out, we had PERFECT temperatures.  The race started in the upper 40s and by the time we crossed the finish line it was in the 70s.  BEAUTIFUL!  The wind…well…that was another story.  Although I didn’t think it was THAT bad, (compared to how I thought it was the last time), afterwards we found out that the winds were some of the worst in the races history (Tara 1, Big Sur 1).  All I have to say is Rebecca, Carolyn and I are Rock Stars for killing those winds going up to Hurricane Point (Tara 2, Big Sur 1)!



Let me back track a bit…..on the Friday we arrived in Monterey, we took a road trip to Big Sur.  I wanted to see the course again.  As wedrove up, I had two completely opposite reactions.  First, was the reminiscing…mostly…this is where I was crying…oh I was sooooo angry at this point….gosh I hated this hill…here was the Strawberry Lady with THOSE strawberries!  But then I had a totally unexpected reaction.  There were big chunks of places, sceneries, areas, that I don’t recall at all (probably because I was crying/angry/tuned out).  I had a long talk with myself and decided that if I was going to enjoy this more than last time and not have Big Sur kick my butt, I HAD to take in the scenery.  Look around at the Red Woods… the ocean….. the cows that were running up and over the hill chasing the runners…Yes! This really happened this year and one of my fondest memories (Tara 3, Big Sur 1).


Back to race day, Rebecca and I had planned to start the race with the 4:30 pace group and see what happened.  What happened was we ran with them, or slightly ahead of them, until around mile 9…when they decided to leave us (how dare they).  This was right before starting the climb up to Hurricane Point.  But who needs a pace group, when we had each other…and with Rebecca’s mountain running hutzpah…we RAN all the way up to Hurricane Point (have I mentioned that to get to Hurricane Point you have to run 2 miles up a 5% grade???).  It was not fast and it definitely was not pretty, but we got it done and we got it done with NO tears!!! (Tara 4, Big Sur 1).



Tara4Although I am very proud of myself for running all the way up (I walked most of the way last time…with tears), running the whole way may have been the breaking point for Rebecca’s hip and my…..nope not my right hamstring, my LEFT IT band…go figure!  Shortly after crossing the Bixby Bridge, the official halfway point, Rebecca and I were contemplating taking short walk breaks….I was all for walking because by then the downhills started to kill my IT band.  The lofty dream of finishing in 4:30 was over (Tara 4, Big Sur 2). BUT as I kept telling Rebecca, my head was still good.  I was still having a great time and if we had to walk the rest of the race I was fine with that. (Tara 5, Big Sur 2).


I do have to say, only because I made a point of mentioning that the Strawberry Lady’s strawberries were not all they were cracked up to be last time (for me), the oranges at the Aid Stations were the BEST oranges that I have ever had….ever (Tara 6, Big Sur 2). And the strawberries were pretty great too!  And here is also where I have to say that the volunteers for this race are amazingly wonderful.  They have to be up and at ‘em just as early as we do in order to get on the course before it closes.  And they are all very cheery and happy to see us.  I cannot say enough about the volunteers and the Big Sur community!  I <3 Big Sur (Tara 7 Big Sur 2).


I don’t remember exactly when, but things started to go downhill, quickly…and I don’t mean in elevation….my IT band was trying it’shardest to get me out of the game.  There was more and more walking and the running was getting harder and harder to enjoy.  My head was still in the game but it was taking all my energy to convince myself I was having a good time.  The finish line is all we wanted to see (Tara 7, Big Sur 3).


Tara6And as unbelievable as it seemed…after 26 miles there it was!!! The finish line was in sight!!! The pain was still there, but you can do anything for .2 miles. Right???  I had to convince Rebecca of this, and after 26.1 miles she told me if I felt like it to go ahead.  That was NOT going to happen.  We started this together 9 months ago, we were going to finish it together!!!  And we did… a little worse for wear, but it was DONE! 


Want to know something? Even though Big Sur tried it’s damnedest, I finished the race with a smile on my face and NO TEARS (Tara 8, Big Sur 3)!  AND a new Big Sur PR of 4:54:28 (Tara 9, Big Sur 3). I met 3 out of my 5 goals…not too shabby, if I do say so myself.


Two years ago I became a marathoner (a Big Sur Marathoner).  One month ago I went back to kick Big Sur’s butt…my score card says…..I got this!!!!!



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