Overall, this turned out to be accurate; I was able to enjoy some really nice views without having to submit myself to 26.2 miles of relentless hills. However, I did find myself relearning some of the lessons that I originally learned while participating in the California International Marathon Relay – that relays present a lot of logistical hurdles that can put a damper on the whole experience.
The Big Sur Relay Marathon experience began at 2:30 a.m. when my alarm went off. Because of the nature of the race’s layout (a one-way course north on isolated Highway 1), all of the runners have to be bussed out to their respective starts. The full marathoners and the first-leg relay runners have to catch a bus from Monterey to Big Sur that leaves at 4:00 a.m., with the others legs of the relay leaving progressively later. Since I was running the last 9.5 miles of the race, I was on the last bus, which left at about 6:00 a.m. That meant that after arriving with the first runners in our group, I had to stand around in the cold Monterey morning weather for a few hours while I waited for my bus. This was not a fun experience and I tried to distract myself by reading on the Kindle app on my phone; regrettably, the book I was reading at that moment in time was about a band of explorers fighting to stay alive on a tragic expedition to reach the North Pole, so I wasn’t necessarily feeling the warmth.
Eventually I got on the warm(er) bus and made my way out the Garrapata Creek Bridge, which was the start of the fourth leg of the relay. This was a particularly beautiful spot with great ocean views and a small series of trails leading to a bluff.
When I crossed the finish line (4:44 for the team), I was exhausted. It was a fun and scenic race, but I’m going to go ahead and swear off relays for a while.