Miles 20 - Miles 25 - The Dreaded last Miles!!!!

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Mile 20- Mile 25 – I love mile 20 and the sculptured walls you run through. The design and shapes are so interesting; it takes your mind off of what has happened for a few moments. If you have trained properly, have a CONSERVATIVE estimate of your finish time, your pace time should be holding right on the money, or if you are feeling good, pick it up just a few seconds a mile to add a bit more in the bank. Not a lot, don’t go crazy and burn yourself out, the 6.2 left are the toughest in the race.
From Mile 20 through Mile 22 is a rolling set of hills. You are also getting back into civilization. Around 21 ¾ you have a nice drop so pick it up just a touch and let the hill help you out. I hold my pace, losing a few seconds on the ups, and gaining it back on the downs.
At Mile 22, life will change; we are now entering the Highlands. Mile 22 begins with a very nice uphill climb, take it conservatively. This hill separates the runners from the wannabe’s. By now you have passed many people walking, most are walkers, but if you picked out that special someone cutting through the crowd at the start, you remember the one with the really loud outfit cutting people off in panic mode to make up time from the start, this is where you might see them walking.
The hill runs about ¼ of a mile, but seems relentless at this point, but as you reach the top, you will get onto a nice downhill. However the cant in the road at this point becomes killer on the ankles and knees.
If you duck down really low on the road onto the shoulder, you get just a very slight amount of relief in a few spots.

REMEMBER: YOU MUST REACH MILE 22 BY THE 5 HOUR POINT!!!! That is a 13:40 pace!!! They will pull you off the course and put you on the Group W bus (Alice’s Restaurant). Sometimes it can be tough to maintain your pace, but keep telling yourself, “You do not want to be on the sweep bus with that person wearing the obnoxious outfit!!!” Keep your feet moving forward all the time and you will make it!!!

The next hill takes us up to 23 and an aid station, a very welcome sight at this point.
I always go for the Gatorade and water mix. Before I figured out a problem, I would begin to cramp at this point. Now I grab Gatorade out of habit. Again the climb is a bit steep but short, so be conservative. At the top of this hill you lose more marathon runners to walking.

You are probably slowing down by now. If you are a bit slow, don’t worry, it’s just a few more miles left and you should still be within 5 – 7 minutes of your finish time The road begins to flatten out just a bit, so hang in there and try to maintain.
For me, Mile 23/24 are the longest ones in the Marathon and the most non-descript.
When I get to the Chevron station on Mile 24, I go over and yuk it up with the crowd.
Some of those people have been there a long time and are tired, so they need some cheering and encouragement!!!
As you progress along 24, you will finally see a sign “Point Lobos ¼ of a mile” that gets me motivated to pick it up just a touch, no matter how whipped I am. That ¼ mile to 25, is just a 3-4 minutes away and a huge psychological boost. As you get closer to Point Lobos, you will see cars parked along the shoulder, this is where I start scanning the horizon for the 25 Mile marker.

Posted 11.04.08, 6:10am

Grzldvt,

I was so excited when I saw that you had written your description. Thank you so much for the encouragement and descriptions. I really don't want to end up on the sweep bus. I am using your descriptions along with the mile by mile on the site to do visualization. I am noticing how very tense I am lately.... getting nervous. Hopefully the more calming info I read, the more relaxed I can be. You make the race seem doable to me and I appreciate that!

Posted 11.04.08, 4:09pm

Thank you!! Wonderful reading. I especially love this line:

"if you picked out that special someone cutting through the crowd at the start, you remember the one with the really loud outfit cutting people off in panic mode to make up time from the start, this is where you might see them walking."

So true!

Posted 11.04.08, 5:51pm

I have to agree with Candace, that description and "keep telling yourself, 'You do not want to be on the sweep bus with that person wearing the obnoxious outfit!!!'” was my favorite--when I'm out there I'll have something else to think about that will make me smile when I'm feeling beat.

Not to be redundant, but I also want to thank you again for all of your great advice and descriptions of the course, they have been both enjoyable to read and confidence building. Being the neurotic person that I am, now I guess I can start worrying about being too confident :shock:

So far, this has already been a great marathon experience and I am hoping to meet many of you from this forum out there...


Posted 11.04.08, 6:43pm

THANK YOU GRIZZ...DITTO to all of the above comments. You have put alot of effort into this event over the past 2 plus decades....thanks for taking even more time to share all of the wisdom with us....and you definitely won't find me in anything close to a "obnoxious outfit" nor will I be passing anyone at the start!!!!
Good luck to everyone...see you in 2 weeks!!! Ann

Posted 11.04.08, 7:09pm

Excellent play by play Griz. Your narrative really gives a sense of what it will feel like on race day, thanks.

My mantra when things really start to hurt is “This isn’t pain, it is only severe discomfort”



Posted 11.04.08, 10:49pm

A question for Grizz. Speaking of sweep buses, I have a question about those who fail to finish. Usually about 30% dont finish BSIM. What happened to them and what's the breakdown? Are there a lot who end up of the sweep bus, like 5% or about 200 runners?

Posted 11.04.08, 11:29pm

OK... honestly, these percentages completely freak me out. And if 30% don't finish and 10% are on the bus, where in the world are the other 20%? OHHHH De-composer is not a joke!! Yuk... a few more sleepless nights....

Posted 12.04.08, 1:16am

To be exact, last years DNF was 29.82% (finishing time of 6 hrs)

2006 was 34.15% (finishing time increased to 6 hrs)

2005 was 36% (finishing time in 5-1/2 hours)

2004 was 36.37% (finishing time in 5-1/2 hours)

As you can see, the number of finishers improved when the time limit was increased by half hour. A 30% DNF seems to be high for a marathon. Most marathons I am aware of have a 10-15% DNF's. Even if we say that 5% just decided not to finish, 25% for those who get injured or miss the cut off time seems to be a lot. 25% is 1,125 runners. That's a lot of DNF's.

So to play it safe, I'll do as Grizz says to take it easy on the first 5 miles. There seems to be a lot optimism in this board possibly ignoring the fact that the course has a high failure rate.

Posted 12.04.08, 3:12am

Everyone... Thanks, for something that started out about the starting area it certainly has grown :D I have had a lot of fun doing it. Feel a touch guilty at times because I struggle to remember some of the details of the miles that might be helpful.

As far as the failure rate, it is high, BUT, I have sat across from the finish line for many years watching people come in after me. Many of these people were walking by mile 16-17 and had no idea what they were getting into. Many look as though they should not even been out there to begin with.:roll:
I could tell tons of stories running with people coming into this thing with the long run of 18 miles, or less on a flat course and 4-5 miles a few times a week.
That training, unless you have some strong running history is simply too light to survive well.
You will be amazed at the number of marathon runners walking from the Highlands to the finish.
One year I paced a group at 5:15, there were seven of us. Around mile 6 three of the guys got antsy and took off. I tried to warn them but they fluffed me off.
Around Mile 21 we came across all three waking. Ego's got the best of them, and they tried to stay with us. They couldn't do it, they dropped out of sight by 23. My group finished at 5:15:43, if I recall correctly(We were under 5:16) I never did see the other three finish.
I have the distinct impression that everyone here has been training, and paying attention.
A 13:54 pace is a fast walk on the uphills and a slow shuffle on the downhills and flats. If you have a good training program(at least one 20+ miler, more than 5 miles a day in the last three weeks) and the ability to keep your pace discipline YOU WILL BE FINE :wink:

Posted 12.04.08, 5:19am

Thanks Grizz for the insight. Here's my concern for this first marathon of mine. My longest run is actually only 17 miles. I have done 12-14-10-16-17 LSD but all have rolling hills with elevation gains from 600 ft to 1200 ft. My long run have been cut short by my asthma that showed up 2 weeks ago. Since then I could not run anything more than 10 miles. To compensate, I have alternating between 1 hour pool running (btw, which are equally tough) and a hour of kickboxing for the quads.

The hills are not problem for me. I am actually slower if it is all flat because I just cant sustain sprinting. Hills are better for me because I have strong quads and calves from a 3 year history of hiking and mountaineering. I actually managed to dayhike Mt Whitney (14,500 ft el) in a day, hiking 18 hours straight. So your suggestion of the 13:54 pace has given me as well as others in the same situation a good plan for finishing. I am confident that I will not have any asthma problems in Big Sur because the pollen level is low in the coastline.

Posted 12.04.08, 8:09am

"I am confident that I will not have any asthma problems in Big Sur because the pollen level is low in the coastline."

I have some asthma allergy issues and haven't ever noticed a problem running Big Sur, There's lots of flora but like you know its close to the water and generally there's onshore flow so you should be just fine.

Good luck, you'll be fine.

Posted 12.04.08, 9:43am

Just wanted to throw in my thanks to Grzldvt for a great description of the course. Like many others, this will be my first marathon and the mile-by-mile has really helped me mentally prepare. Good luck to all and see you on the course!

Posted 17.04.08, 3:32pm

Lets bring the series back t the top one more time

Posted 24.04.08, 4:48am

Here is the mile 20+

Posted 07.04.09, 11:22pm

Quote: Excellent play by play Griz. Your narrative really gives a sense of what it will feel like on race day, thanks.

My mantra when things really start to hurt is “This isn’t pain, it is only severe discomfort”


Haha! Awesome mantra! 

 

Posted 21.04.09, 9:04pm

1321

Posted 06.04.10, 4:29am