One year ago I ran the Big Sur International Marathon -- my first marathon ever.

Some people thought I was nuts for taking on a marathon that's considered one of the world's hardest. Some people thought I was nuts for even trying to run a marathon. But I'd run several half marathons and my times were improving. It was time to take the next step.

So three days after my 32nd birthday, I ran Big Sur.

Here are some highlights from that day:

* Waking up at 2:00 am to get on the 3:30 am bus to the starting line.

* On the bus ride, in the dark, trying to ignore the fact that I was leaning far forward on a long downhill ride toward the start -- a downhill that would later become a monstrous uphill in the middle of the marathon.

* Arriving at the start to the freezing cold morning hours. And waiting. And waiting.

* Spotting the 4:30 pace group and deciding at the last minute to join them.

* The starting gun and all the whooping that followed.

* Sticking close to my pacer -- thank god for her. She kept me laughing and distracted the whole way to the finish.

* Running along the first few miles in the cool woods. And losing that last extra layer of clothing I'd saved for the first few miles.

* Coming to the ocean and getting my first big breaths of the sea breeze.

* Seeing that water and almost having my breath taken away. I intentionally did not drive the route before the race because I wanted to be surprised. I sure was.

* Running alongside a hillside covered with cows that began mooing at us. Our spectators for the morning.

* Starting the climb at mile 10... which would last till mile 12!

* Passing the awesome drummers at the start of that climb. That drumbeat kept me powering up that hill.

* Reaching the top of the hill! Only to be crushed by the wind at the top. I didn't care one bit. I was elated to be done with what was considered scariest part of the race.

* Running slowly down that long hill, into a valley where the sun was pouring in. Again, breathtaking.

* Coming to the halfway point and crossing Bixby bridge. Woohoo!

* Losing my thought in my pacer's story of how she met her husband. That story lasted miles 17-20, when I needed the distraction most.

* Reaching mile 20. MILE 20 of my first marathon!

* My pacer telling me to dedicate each of the next few miles to important people in our lives. One mile for our significant others who miss us while we run. One mile for our relatives who may be too sick to run. One mile for our friends who don't understand why we can't stay out and drink with them...

* Hugging a volunteer and snagging a strawberry at mile 22-23. I loved that volunteer!

* Then mile 24, the pacer said to go. Just -- go. And I did. I picked it up and felt like I was flying.

* The next two miles I felt no pain. No hurt. Only complete and total elation. This must be the runner's high.

* Last 2/10 of a mile. Last 2/10 of my first marathon. Now I'm surrounded by spectators. And my husband is at that finish line.

* Time to RUN.