Captain Grose's Marathon pages

 
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THE 2002 BIG SUR INTENATIONAL MARATHON
April 28, 2002



Mile 22 was a kick in the pants. Up to that point, I was on a 3 hour and 45 minute pace, 15 minutes faster than my goal of finishing in 4 hours and feeling great. Somehow, I shot up Hurricane Point with the help of a strawberry Cliff Shot and was pacing out a comfortable run (as comfortable as running 22 miles can be, I guess). I had made it through some rough spots but now I felt that gliding in was well within my ability.

And then it happened.

My legs decided that this foolishness had gone on long enough and that a message needed to be sent. The message, which was received loud and clear, came in the form of simultaneous cramps in both of my quads. It was my legs’ way of saying, “Hey Jason, guess what, we’re gonna slow this down a bit and to make sure you understand, here is a little number we like to call ‘Cramp in A minor.’ Hit it boys….”

Obviously, I have never given birth. But from what has been described to me, what I experienced at mile 22 must have come close. Looking down, I fully expected to see the knots burst through the skin of my thighs. Needless to say, my pace suddenly slowed to that of a sloth on valium.

I suddenly had a rush of thoughts scream through my head. Was this it? A year of training and it comes down to this?  Will these cramps go away? Will anyone notice if I wander off and slit my throat to embrace the sweet release of death? (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating but damn if it didn’t hurt!). The muscles starting convulsing, throwing my legs every which way but I tried to keep a somewhat forward motion as the cramps ravaged my legs. I was terrified that the mental preparation I had worked so hard to master was going to be overtaken by purely physical realities. I realized that “gutting it out” might not be an option if the 10% of long-distance running, the physical part, came from behind and overtook the mental majority.

I was raising my knees high in an effort to stave off the mutiny of my leg muscles when I noticed a total stranger, another racer, had stopped on the side of the road and was looking at me. I found this strange because I had kept silent the enormous pain I was feeling and other than the likely grimace on my face and the silly high stepping I was performing, there were no external indications of my precarious predicament.

Then something wondrous occurred.

Somehow she knew. Call it intuition, call it the unexplained link between marathoners, or call it a kinship of shared hardship but she was somehow aware that I needed help and needed it quick.

Having my headphones on and having Sarah McLachlan serenading me throughout the race, I was deaf to the sounds of the environment. She mouthed something I did not hear and pulled out a bag of candy from her running pouch. I lumbered the two painful steps in her direction and thrust out my hand without shame and she dropped what I found to be the most ironically appropriate items into my trembling hands. She gave me two Lifesavers. Even in my questionable mental state, I found the humor in this and popped both of them into a smiling mouth.

As fast as she appeared, she was gone. A drive-by humanitarian gesture.

I wondered if this would have any effect. I knew that a lack of salt, potassium, and/or liquids usually contributed to cramps, none of which are ingredients in Lifesavers, as far as I know. But as they dissolved in my mouth, I could almost feel the sugar absorb into my body and race to the emergency area. Suddenly, I could run again. Not only could I run, but I could run comfortably and the cramps all but disappeared.

While I didn’t quite break the 4 hour barrier (4:16), I finished the race running. Thanks to the eagle eyes of a passing runner and a selfless act of mercy, I was shown the true spirit of the Big Sur Marathon and completed the race with a little help from my friends, all 10,000 of them represented by a kind lady and two Lifesavers.



The stories:
THANK YOU, WHOEVER YOU WERE
COMING IN FULL
MARATHONERS, START YOUR ENGINES
CRAMP IN A MINOR


The pictures:
My pics

How it all started...

2000 Wild Wild West Trail Marathon
2001 Wild Wild West Trail Marathon
2002 Big Sur International Marathon
2002 Wild Wild West Trail Marathon
2002 Bishop 50-mile Ultra-Marathon

Email -- jdgrose115@polyglut.net
Web -- http://members.tripod.com/~jdgrose115/

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