The fifth and final installment of the Mile-by-Mile series is here! This one comes from SLO local Dusty Davis. He has run the race on four occasions, with a personal record time of 1 hour 21 minutes. Last year, Dusty paced the 1:45 group dressed as a Bavarian man. Here he talks about what to expect in the final miles of the course, as well as what it’s like to finish on the edge of the Pacific Ocean:
Once you crest the hill just past mile 10, the hardest part of the course is behind you. You have just three miles of primarily downhill running to go and a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and Shell Beach coastline off to your right.
I let my legs “float” along the first big downhill to recover, work on getting my leg speed going, check my form to keep efficient, and mentally focus on the finish. Hopefully you were smart and tactical through the middle miles, because this is where your heart takes over from your mind and you leave it all on the course.
The roads are wide, with long rolling descents and three short rises. Work hard here to keep your pace high, using your momentum over the rises, grab some water at the last aid station just past mile 12 and look for the huge ALEX BAR-B-Q sign. That sign is located at the turn off of Shell Beach Road and tells me I have less than half of a mile to go.
You run a steep downhill through the neighborhood to the coast, then make a left turn onto Ocean Boulevard and along the coastline. Start your final charge to the line once you turn on Ocean – the road curves enough that you won’t see the finish line until you’re almost on top of it. This area is packed, so the crowds really lift you – SPRINT!
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.