Monday, April 30, 2007

My journey to Big Sur!

It all started after Chicago Marathon, when in runner's high Rajesh and me were in search of the next marathon to run. Arun higly recommended Big Sur.

Though taunting, the pictures looked extremely scenic and the very same day we registered. We talked to Chakri and Krishna and after the discussion at the party in Rajesh's place Krishna created the bigsur07 yahoo group.

The plan was to start traning in Jan, after all the december vacations. Chakri had the plan all chalked out and Chakri, Rajesh and Krishna started the runs at Rancho. After my recovery from bronchitis I joined them as well.

Each saturday morning my body would have a mini revolution. But then I would remember Chakri's email to bigsur07 and it would make me wanna be a big sur marathoner and run.
Example: Big Sur Marathoners : 10 -12 miles
Rest : :-)

The first mile at Rancho is the best part, where it is all flat and easy. We would usually stretch at the barn and then the hills would start.

The minute we started on the hills, vivid memories of running to the fallen tree (the only time I had previously run at Rancho) flooded me and I knew God did not make me to run uphills. :)
Rajesh was our hill king. He loved those hills and sometimes after reaching the top he would even come back down to run up the hill with me. Wheww!!! Soon Krishna started doing the same and of course I need not say about Chakri's strengths.....

I started realizing that if I did not do the hills, my chance of completing Big Sur was close to DnF (Did not Finish). I started walking all the uphills. If fallen tree was tough, doing the black mountain was a nightmare. Half the time I was either lost in the amazing scenary or in the constant whining going up the hills. Going down was my favourite part. After all I did not have to put effort in pushing my body. Gravity took care of that. :))

While running at Rancho, the favourite passtime was to compute the distances we did and the detailed elevation analysis. Krishna and Rajesh would have detailed discussions on the numbers and usually Rajesh sent an email with analysis of each and every section, the mileage and boy was he strict about it.

Usually the number game just makes me dread it the next time we do the hills. However, on comparing the Big Sur elevation, the realization that our training had more elevation, made me feel really happy. :))

During these runs, Chakri ran into Anil and the idea of running PCTR came up. Well believe it or not, we simply jumped into it and registered for the 30k at Pirates Cove. That run was a murder on the legs. I thought the elevation was infinite and though very beautiful, it was really tough. Between pictures and helping fainiting old ladies :)) we survived yet another milestone. We also ran into Coach Martina and Harry.

Some things I will always remember from the training:
1) When we did the 22 miler, Rajesh was away in Chicago. He comes back and completes the 22 miler at Rancho on a monday morning. Phenomenal energy and way to go Rajesh!
2) I have to definitely mention Coach Raman's infinite strength. Most saturday mornings he would do a easy 6-7 miler. Come back and do a 20 with us and go back to do some more. Thanks coach for all those runs with us.
3) The best part was the post runs. We would enjoy those delicious Sesame bagels Chakri always managed to bring, relishing the thought of conquering yet another double digit miler on the rancho hills. :)
4) Saving fainting old ladies on the hills and the fun we had.

On a final count, we had the following Asha folks running at Big Sur. Coahes Tony and Raman, Chakri, Arun, Rajesh, Krishna, Anusha, Simmy, Anush, Arul and me.

Come the race weekend, Arun and me started driving in the afternoon. Arun had decided to pace me for time. Well, though the thought of running it faster gave me a thrill when I was only hoping to finish the marathon. :( Anyways, I thought I will hang to Arun for as long as I can.

On the race day, We started at about 4:00 am, did a slow jog to get to the buses. Slept a little
on the bus. Rajesh wanted to survey the scene to decide how the hills look like. :) The race was to begin at 6:45 am.

We started slow and the plan was to do a 7 minute run and a 1 minute walk. We were cruising along until we hit the base of the hurrican point hill. My legs gave way and we walked up most of the hill. My best memory from Big Sur was coming down hurricane point (downhill, yahooo) and crossing the bixby bridge. Vast openness and sea on one side and the mountain and greenery on the other. It was simply phenomenal.

We kept going at a great pace and caught up with Karen (from Redback). Come mile 18 and my glutes caught up with me too and decided it is time to rest and went to sleep. I had real trouble getting them to run. Well, we walked miles 18 to 20. After that felt somewhat better and we did run a while. Though blurry on the detail, we crossed mile 25 (which was a mini hill). We saw the finish line and as always raced it to the end.

Some things I will remember about the race:
1) Well many times we kept passing back and forth one Mr.Gopinath, who was a 60 year old and was running big sur for the third time. He was a big inspiration for me to keep running.
2) I would want to give up and walk and Arun would constantly keep motivating me.
3) Stop eating all the food they have out there. The strawberries they had were the best I had ever eaten and they felt great.

Many times in the race, I simply wanted to get on one of those yellow buses and head home, but much thanks to Arun I run (hmmm walked?) all the way.

Last but not the least, a huge thanks to the Asha folks, Anush, Gayatri, Anurag, Arpana, Pankaj, Grishu and Rupal for showing up at Big Sur and cheering us.

Thanks Chakri for the awesome mentoring once more. I cannot put in words all that you have personally done for me. Thanks Rajesh and Krishna for everything.
Thanks Arun for making me realize yet again that moving mountains ain't so difficult after all.

My hope is I will keep running with these awesome people for the rest of my life. Well time to decide on the next marathon. Chakri, Rajesh, Krishna, Arun....????

By the way Flying Horse tasted much much better than the Sam Adams. :)

No comments: