A few more details might help a bit. Jenny and I met in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when our husbands were in Medical School. During that time we became the best of friends when we trained for the 2004 Chicago Marathon together. Eight years later (along with 5 kids between us, a ridiculous number of phone calls and texts to stay connected and hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical school debt) Jenny convinced me to run the 2012 Big Sur Marathon with her. It would be a back to back Big Sur attempt for her (and her 6th marathon!) and my second attempt at conquering the legendary 26.2. And because this bunch of Barron's loves the Heyboer gang we decided to make a family vacation out of it. And I am so, so glad that we did.
The marathon was insane. I mean more difficult than I could have imagined. The hills were relentless. I expected that. What did knock me off me feet (literally) was the wind! According to the paper the day after the race it was one of the toughest (windiest) runs in the 27 year history of the Big Sur Marathon. I thought I was mentally prepared for a windy run. Big Sur is however often windy. But I was NOT prepared for what blew in our face with little reprieve from mile 6 to mile 26. Jenny handled it like a champ. She is a true Montana mountain momma. I have more respect and admiration for her than she will ever know. I felt great for the first half. I even "enjoyed" the legendary 2 mile, 500 foot elevation gain ascent to Hurricane point. But something happened around mile 16. Call it chest pains. Call it a stabbing pain in my left shoulder. Call it crazy. Whatever it was it resulted in this ...
Everything checked out fine. I expected that it would. But when the pain was just getting worse and an ambulance appeared around the corner I had to have peace of mind that my heart was ticking just as it should. Jenny embraced the moment as part of our Big Sur experience and snapped a few pictures.
From there on I was struggling. Honestly, I wanted to stop and walk it in at mile 17 but I knew it would be a long, cold, windy, hilly, depressing walk. So I plugged along with Jenny by my side until I officially "hit the wall" somewhere around mile 21 or 22. I knew I hit the wall when I began spewing F-bombs repeatedly and started moaning uncontrollably like a cow in labor. It was a very strange experience and honestly I'm just very lucky I didn't puke and crap my pants. I thought I was going to. I knew my body had maxed out. I urged Jenny to go ahead because she was more than up for the challenge. And I willingly succumbed to my fate of walk/running the last few miles. Honestly, it was the most beautiful walk of my life.
Crossing the finish line with a time of 4:56 was equal parts exhilarating (because I could finally eat, drink and sit) and disappointing. I had trained my butt off for this race and I was really hoping for a better time. It wasn't until the next day when I drove the course with Matt and the kids that I felt ridiculously proud of what I had accomplished. Running a marathon is never easy. Ever. Running from Big Sur north to Montery along highway one is insane. Thank you Matt Barron for building me up like you never have before and speaking words of encouragement to me on that drive. I have never seen my husband more proud of me. Honestly. Not even when birthing our three children (which I might add was 1000 times easier than this marathon).
* * * *
|Heading out for the start line.|
|The legendary piano man (who Jenny asked, "Do you remember me from last year?").|
|Pictures can not capture the feeling or beauty of this race.|
|When we made it back Henry greeted me with a big hug|
and said, "Momma I prayed for you that you would win."
Fat chance son.
|Claire admiring my medal. I can't help but wonder if she'll ever run a marathon.|
|The fantastic shirts that Jenny made for all the kids.|
|Still can't believe I ran this coastline.|
And can I just say that I am so, SO impressed
by Pete and Jenny Heyboer.