Captain Grose's Marathon pages




There are few experiences so pure in life to compare to how you feel after a marathon. You feel exhilarated that you completed it. You recollect on the endless hours and endless miles of training you spent to get to this point. You wonder if the pain you have in your legs will ever go away or if you will have to jam an ice pick in your eye to divert the pain.

Such was the case at the end of this marathon. My legs felt, well, like they had gone through a marathon. I stumbled around, wobbly legged and on the verge of a total life threatening cramp-fest that threatened my every step. If I had the strength ever again, I would have to remember to throttle Gary until his eyes popped like so many water balloons.

In this state, we piled into the Caravan, which seemed much smaller now. We looked like escapees from an old folks home being rounded up. We very ungraciously wheezed and ambled our way into the vehicle with every movement looking like we were merely giving suggestions to our bodies and hoping for the best.

All of us just wanted to get home and to that end, we headed down the road. I laid in the back seat, thankful for somewhat of a horizontal position and not daring to pull my legs all the way into a bended position for fear of instant mutiny. A somewhat restful peace came over me and I dozed lightly.

Then it happened. Suddenly, I shot up in my seat and announced “Gentlemen, I am at SHITCON 4.”

If you read Forsaken, you already know what I am talking about. Yes, the tremendous amount of food I had eaten in the last 24 hours was now ready to travel.

Being men, the others completely understood. But for those of you who do not know the conditions, let me explain:

SHITCON-4: this is the least serious stage but still not one to ignore. It means that dumperage is imminent but there is still time. You need to start looking for the can because this is a very transitionary stage and could last mere seconds depending on the situation.

SHITCON-3: The Eagle has landed. This condition is when the mass has dropped and is a membrane away from daylight. This stage is usually triggered when you actually see a facility containing a restroom.

SHITCON-2: also known as the point of no return, this stage surfaces as you touch the door to the bathroom and enter the authorized dump site. In extreme cases, it is simultaneous with the unbuckling and unzipping process.

SHITCON-1: Good Lord, there better be white porcelain within your personal space. This is when your butt actually touches the seat. There is absolutely no return even in the gravest of emergencies.

With these stages in mind and my announcement that SHITCON-4 had materialized, Gary immediately started looking for what he knew would be the land-o-relief for the old Groseman.

Our first target of opportunity was only minutes away. It was an AM/PM that we had stopped at on the way up and we knew it had a bathroom because we had already used it the day before. We pull in and very painfully and sadly unfold ourselves out of the Caravan to what must have looked like to the average bystander as a group of epileptics out for a Sunday fumble.

Using the guide above, you can see that I immediately transition into SHITCON-3 as I enter the store. Looking across the tiny store I see something that freezes my blood. A big white sign that says “Bathroom Out of Order.” Oh, now this was just too comical? No way could this really be happening. Didn’t they know what shit condition I was at? Did they not realize that it took Herculean effort to get out of Gary’s van and now I would have to reverse the process still with pounds of feces knockin’ on the door?

I came back out and explained my misfortune to my comrades. With a mixture of laughter and understanding of my current condition, we sped off to the next possibility.

Down the road about 2 miles there was, by the grace of God, another AM/PM. Why two of the same store are so close together I neither knoew nor cared. All I knew is that my SHITCON was not getting any better.

As we pulled up and with relief in site, I am once again painfully in motion to get out the door. The promise of relief was almost intoxicating but I will not use the analogy that I could almost smell it because that would be, you know, gross.

I enter the store and take a quick look around but saw no restroom. I knew the damn toothless loser behind the counter had to go somewhere and gambled the question. With all the intelligence a junior high education could muster, he points outside. So I bolt out the door and hobble around the corner to see, for the second time in 10 minutes, a site that horrifies me. As though in a movie where the scene seems to stretch out before you, I saw at least a dozen people standing outside the lone door that read “Restroom.” I could have cried.

Back to the van and the snickering assholes that resembled my friends. I was so angry that I jokingly asked if there was a hotel that I could rent a room just to take a dump in.

What are the odds? We got back on the road and sure enough, the law of averages took over. There was not another bathroom in site as we meandered through an industrial area. A sign showed that there was a town about 7 miles ahead and at this point, I was just a quite little concentrator not wanting to make any sudden movements. No one spoke.

Finally, there it was. I was weary because it was yet another AM/PM (how many of these damn things does this area have?). For the third time, I resembled a scarecrow getting out of the van and went to the side where the other store had hidden its bathroom. Nothing but a brick wall. So I followed it around and found it in the back. Incidentally, all three AM/PMs had their bathrooms in different locations within the confines of the structure.

This time, no sign. This time, no line. There it was, free and clear and I was on my way to… but wait. What is this? A lady walking at a tighter angle towards the door. There was not a men’s and women’s but a “universal” bathroom. She had the same thing in mind but no way could she have known or even been in the same league as my situation. This bitch was going down!!!!

So, I bolted to the door like the ass that I was and felt no shame whatsoever. I scrambled through the door, and slammed it shot, locking it. There I was, SHITCON-2 and ready for action. The room was a long one with the toilet at the opposite end of the door. As I turned around, I saw what I could not accept. The vision was not fair. How could there be yet another obstacle?

The toilet was there, yes it was. But what did my eyes tell me? That it was stopped up and there was yellow water clear up to the lip of the bowl. If I wanted to unload this train, I was going to have to earn it!!

“OK, COME WIT IT, MOTHER F*****!!!!”

A man has a certain anatomy that those of you reading this know so I will not go into the vulgar details. But suffice it to say that sitting on a full bowl introduces the problem of certain appendages dipping dangerously close to the putrid water line. Therefore to alleviate said problem, it is necessary to provide support. So with absolutely no self-respect left, there I sat mere microns above someone else’s diluted urine on a public toilet with what makes me a man firmly held at bay from the foreign waste.

To further exacerbate the situation, I needed just a little more breathing room because what I expected was sure to displace some water, to say the least. So leaning forward I had to support myself using the only muscles in my body that I had just put through the ultimate test. My hamstrings, which were already on fire, were being asked to support my weight in order to get me away from the foul brew below. Oh, the humanity!

Just then, I hear a voice. “So, you waiting to use the bathroom?” It was Gary talking to the lady I had just rudely beat to the door. And they were right outside! Three thoughts came to me right then:

1. Shut up, Gary!!!
2. They are both going to hear the dam burst!
3. The result is going to be left when she comes in because the toilet won’t flush!

But folks, we were officially at SHITCON-1 and all sensory input ceased. I was in my own little world and the moment had arrived. It was not easy and there were obstacles but the moment was at hand (the other hand being otherwise engaged, as you recall).

You would think that trumpets would blare. You would think that with some much anticipation that the finale would be something that legends are made of. You would think….

FINAL RESULT:  ever see a Twix bar?

I think the term is anticlimactic. Another phrase for it is God’s little joke.

As a final kicker, the only toilet paper was on the deck which was damp due to the overflowed toilet. Not only was the experience less than glorious, I had to live with no post-clean up regimen.

I unlocked the door and opened it in one motion, ducking right and making no eye contact with the lady who would soon see the result of my efforts. As I got back in the van, what could I say? “Hey guys, no joy!”

As I recovered over the next couple of days, my system cleared its way out and all was good again. But take it from a guy that has been there: either don’t eat a lot before a marathon or be sure you can evacuate before the run. No one, and I mean no one, should have to go through what I did.

The stories:
The Explanation
The Training
The Shopping
The Trip
The Run

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

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