This race ate me for lunch. I train on the CA coast, so it was not the hills that did it. What did it was a combo of factors. Not enough sleep, an injury to my right hip three weeks before the race, and never finding a pace. This last factor I partially blame to the new trend/fashion on coarse to LOUDLY set your watch/iPhone/timer to chirp every 30 second so that the runner can switch from running to walking. This race, in the mid and back of the pack was dominated by those who are practicing LOUDLY the Galloway method, with the assistance of a digital alarm. I never got the chance to just hear my footfall or the rolling waves, just incessant CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP. Now that headphones are banned, I hope the next thing banned are LOUD TIMERS. My time was 5:35:35. Meh, my average. I am slow. But now that I am in my 40's, that pavement hurts the lower back. I am chewed up.
The race was beautiful, and the organization impeccable. This is a perfect road race. Yes, it lives up to the bucket list hype. Do this run.
Insiders secret: Book at the HI-Monterey for a bed. $27 a night for a bed, plus free parking, free breakfast, free post-marathon homemade BBQ, free shower after the race. And 1.4 miles from the shuttle bus pick-up to the Start Line. There were about 10 runners who were smart and booked there. The HI-Monterey wants to specialize in marathon booking next year. And I think I was the only USA citizen who thought of this option. The hostel was full of international runners. Locals got suckered into spending hundreds at the tourist trap hotels. It's great for the parking alone. the City of Monterey was towing cars everywhere! The hostel has their own very large and free parking lot. And they are very liberal - you can leave your car there after you check out, and do tourist, post-run activities.