Mile-by-Mile number four comes from Arroyo Grande native Linda Somers Smith. Linda holds the current women’s course record for City to the Sea and runs the course regularly as part of her ongoing training. Her tips for this tricky section of the course are spot-on. Whether you’re surviving or thriving at miles 7-10, these tips will help you make the most of this section and get to the finish line in style. Here’s what Linda says:
This part of the race (after the Monte Road turnaround) allows the only option to see who is behind you, whether that means greeting your friends or assessing your competition. Mile 7 starts after you have finished what is probably the fastest (though short) downhill on the course, as you run down over the 101 overpass. What follows is a nice flat, generally shaded area, which you follow back to greet those folks going out. There is an aid station you can hit twice on this section so take advantage, especially if it is a warm day.
Don’t get too excited after mile 7 through mile 8, which is easy to do because it is flat. You need to stay controlled here because miles 8.5 to 10.2 are tough. The upside is that these miles are sheltered so if there is wind, you are protected. The rolling section consists of three or so short but steep hills, just long enough after the previous 8.5 miles to be challenging. That said, once you get through them, you just need to hold yourself together as the rest of the course is forgiving.
As a competitive runner, I use this section to get distance on my competition, as I know people generally slow in this section, particularly if they have gone out too fast. While not everyone cares where they finish, I see this section as the place to keep yourself focused and motivated. Though its sounds cliché, it truly is “downhill” from 10.2 on.
Enjoy!! I love this course.
–Linda Somers Smith, 2003, 2011 & 2012 City to the Sea Half Marathon women’s winner
Mile-by-Mile is a blog series designed to help runners prepare for the race by offering descriptions and tips for each section of the course. These anecdotes come from actual City to the Sea runners with varied backgrounds and finishing times.