THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE
Having thoroughly pissed myself off by getting a ticket from the
Lone Pine’s Finest, Brent and I arrived at the Dow
Villa and wallowed in the top drawer, 5-Star accommodations
the motel offered. For the second year in a row, we stayed in
the older (AKA “run-down”) portion of the hotel because the financial
realities of being in the military dictated such behavior. The
motel has a more modern half, set off from the coach fliers, but
that was for big-pants people and we just didn’t rate.
We found Gary and Phil already there and relaxing in the
muggy room. After the initial greetings, we all just fell into
the routine. Some of us got our stuff ready, some of us, poured
over our plans for the race, and some of us pouted about the
stupid freakin’ speeding ticket we just got. But I will refrain
from identifying who did what.
It was time for the annual stroll around the metropolis
that is Lone Pine California. We hit all the same stores (both
of them) and wandered over to the local high school to pick
up our marathon bags. The ever-present joke of not actually
doing the race and going to Vegas instead reared it head again.
In order not to repeat last year’s scenario of being slaves
to whatever was on the tube was solved when Gary decided to
drop by the local video store and open an account. I don’t know
what the prerequisites were to have an account there but my
guess is at least two teeth, one of them being real. For our
viewing pleasure, Gary decided that Gladiator was what
would be bouncing in our memory as we ran the race the next
day. I had already seen it but it had to beat whatever the local
station considered high entertainment.
Before we could baste in the entertainment extravaganza,
we had to feed our faces. Ah, yes, you guessed it: back to The
Pizza Factory where the unforgettable motto “We Toss ‘em, They’re
Awesome” resides. I tempted fate and ordered the same pan of
lasagna that had so callously taken residence in my bowels throughout
last year’s race. Yes, my friends, I live a dangerous life with
What pre-race dinner of pasta, cheese, tomato sauce, cottage
cheese, and bread would be complete without a pitcher of beer.
No one said we were smart marathoners. We ordered the pitcher
which, I must proclaim, must be the biggest pitcher of beer
in the land because it held in excess of 27 gallons of beer.
We had to split it four ways and by the time we were done, I
felt like latitude and longitude lines had formed on my gut.
Waddling back to the room, we arrived and began our individual
marathon-eve race rituals. I pinned on my number on my shirt
and laid out everything I would need in the AM. Phil took about
7 handfuls of vitamins and crapped his pants. Gary put the movie
in and drank water until he peed the bed. Brent just cried in
the fetal position in the corner of the room. Actually, we all
just got our stuff ready and watched the movie. But I thought
I’d throw out the visual for all of you that know the Horsemen.
Nothing too spectacular happened for the rest of the night.
The movie dragged on and we watched the fake lions fight Morpheus,
or whatever his name was. About the only other thing of note
was that for the rest of the night and the next day, we kept
saying to each other “Strength and honor,” our new Horsemen
The drive to the race
Night before the race