Mountains 2 Beach Marathon Race Recap


Only Koo-Koo people pay money to wake up at 2:45am and run 26.2 miles. So that’s what I did on Sunday morning along with about 1,500 other wonderfully nutty runners. Since the race was so early, and nearby, I left my husband at home with our kids this time and drove to the race with two of my running friends, Wendy and Michelle. I parked my car at the finish (the “beach”) and Michelle drove us and parked at the start (the “mountains”). We waited in her warm car and only snuck out once to pee in the bushes and check our bags. The line for the porta-potty was undoable, so we opted to find a bush along with several other runners.

As the sun was just coming up, we casually lined up near Ojai High School for the 6am start of the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon. Almost before we knew it, the gun sounded and it was time to get running.

I decided to do this race about 10 months ago as my back-up, thinking I might not make it into Boston. But when I did make it in, ran it and endured the infamous outcome, running this marathon took on a whole new meaning. Wendy and I ran Boston together and decided that we needed to run a re-do race that we could actually celebrate at the finish line. Even though we tried to celebrate Boston, it just never felt right. Plus, even though we both re-qualified it couldn’t hurt if we could earn a better qual time. So off we went.

Two weeks earlier we had done a long run on the course and knew exactly what to expect. There is a 10K loop around Ojai before turning onto the trail leading you to the beach. The 10K had a few little hills, so we used those as opportunity to slow us down and conserve some energy. We both told each other that we would take it easy, running around a 8:30 pace for the first 6 miles and pick up later on. We kind of stuck to that plan… well at least on mile 4 we stuck to it.

Mile 1-7 splits

mile 1 – 8:10
mile 2 – 8:12
mile 3 – 8:16
mile 4 – 8:30
mile 5 – 8:25
mile 6 – 8:15
mile 7 – 8:20

We then turned onto the lovely wooded bike path that connects Ojai to Ventura. This is my favorite part of the course. It’s shaded with lovely gardens and Sycamore groves along the way, the smells and sites brought me back to my childhood growing up in the mountains behind Santa Barbara. I learned to swim in the rivers there and grew up spending weekends in the Santa Ynez Valley when my Mom and Dad were still married. It was a small window of my life, but some of my fondest memories, so smelling the cottonwood trees and the sage brush brought a smile to my face as I ran those next 13 glorious miles.

Mile 8-20 Splits

mile 8 – 8:04
mile 9 – 8:13
mile 10 – 8:05
mile 11 – 8:00
mile 12 – 8:03
mile 13 – 8:08
mile 14 – 8:04
mile 15 – 8:02
mile 16 – 8:06
mile 17 – 8:15
mile 18 – 8:14
mile 19 – 8:17
mile 20 – 8:19

At around mile 20, the course becomes very exposed as you approach the beach. I do not do well in sun. Because I have Vitiligo and my body has lost about 99% of its skin pigment, when the sun hits my skin it is like pure radiation sapping my system. I feel like the sun is frying my organs and I loose my zip! Well, with all of that exposure, my zip was zapped and I started to slow down. I was dumping water on my head, but around mile 23 my wheels completely fell off.

Mile 21- 26.2 Splits

mile 21 – 8:22
mile 22 – 8:35
mile 23 – 9:11
mile 24 – 9:54
mile 25 – 8:57
mile 26 – 8:45

It was tough those last few miles, I’m not going to lie. I felt like I was shuffling for about 3 long miles. The last section of this course you run past the finish line and do a turn around at about mile 25. You can see from my splits that as soon as I made the loop I was able to pick up the pace a bit. I gave it my all that last mile and finished with a new PR of 3:40:42, which is a Boston Qualification for me with 15 minutes to spare (I need a 3:55 to qualify at my age). It was not a perfect race, but I am happy with it and I’m confident this time will get me into Boston next year.

At the finish line I was able to quickly meet Mason who PR’ed in the full at a unreal speed of 2:45:06, and met Mason’s beautiful wife. A huge Congratulations to Bobbie from In Her Shoes who ran 3:30:49 and Nicole from Haute Running Mama who clocked 3:30:15! Both PR’ed and qualified for Boston. Congrats to my running buddies Polina and Tauna, who both PR’ed in the half, as well as Sarah (1:39:23) and Gia (1:39:42).

Tauna ran a PR of 1:50:51
Tauna ran a PR of 1:50:51.
Polina and her fiance Nikolay after completing her race, and new PR of 1:43:04
Polina and her fiance Nikolay after completing her race, and new PR of 1:43:04.

But, of course, the very best part was seeing my husband and three children at the finish line. I never expect my husband to drag them to the finish line and they are always there, cheering me on those last few painful moments. Nothing could be more motivating then seeing their smiles and hearing their sweet voices!

My Friends from Future Track Running Club, my husband, and kids at the finish line.
My Friends from Future Track Running Club, my husband, and kids at the finish line.

On a separate, but very exciting note, this video was part of my interview at the 2013 Boston Marathon expo with Hyland’s Active. I love their products and have used them for years, so I was thrilled when they contacted me!

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  1. says

    Congrats on the race! So awesome to qualify for BM! Woo! I feel for you with the sun.. I actually felt like that all the time and couldn’t go to the beach or sit at a pool without towels all over me and nothing exposed. Turns out I was having allergic reactions to a medicine i was taking and it had built up on my skin to react with the sun. Regardless, I know it can be terrible but you are amazing and still finished with an excelletn time!

  2. says

    Congrats! Congrats!! Loved reading this and so very happy for you that you got to celebrate at the end of this race. It sounds beautiful and I loved hearing it bit about your childhood memories. And so many PRs! And I loved your interview.

  3. Kristen @ Happy Running Mama says

    Congrats on an awesome race!! This was the perfect post for me to read right now as I am about to run a marathon this weekend and also ran Boston. I’ve never done two so close together but reading your experience just gave me some hope. :)

    The course sounds beautiful and starting so early hopefully helped with the heat. I am horrible in the heat, too, so I can relate. Love the pic of your kids at the end. They are so cute!

  4. says

    “Runners are wonderfully nutty” Probably what I love most about them! Haha! Congrats on another great race! The video is adorable.

  5. says

    Congratulations on a great race Lisa! What a great day it must have been with a PR, BQ, and all those friends succeeding too.
    PS – you’re brilliant in the video!

  6. says

    Congrats Lisa! That is awesome you re-qualified and ran a great race :) So many good times came out of that race – I’ll have to put this on my travel race bucket list. Sounds beautiful.

  7. says

    Congratulations on a new PR! I actually saw you heading to the Finish after that out and back turn. I will still heading towards Mile 24 and you were already heading back. You were looking great when I saw you. I loved the course and PR’d as well. I am 4 minute away from Boston so it was an exciting race for me.

  8. says

    Congrats my friend! You ran a very strong race. Those last miles in the sun were HOT and tough. Way to power through and finish with a giant PR!! Cannot wait for Boston! YEAH!

    P/S I am pretty sure I saw Bobbie out on the course in one of her blog tanks! Small world :)