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THE 2002 BIG SUR INTENATIONAL MARATHON
April 28, 2002



To see spectacular beauty, you usually have to travel to remote areas. The Big Sur Marathon is no exception to this truth and in fact, supports that assertion because the Big Sur marathon path is almost as remote as it is beautiful. Because of this fact, you are not even allowed to drive to the start line. You must catch a bus in the wee hours of a cold April morning and be transported to the beginning of the race, covering in reverse the course you are about to embark upon. It occurred to me that this process is akin to parading slaughterhouse-bound cows in front of freshly butchered ground beef. To this, I will simply say, “Moo.”

It’s all part of the experience and if you have never had the opportunity to witness the course in twilight, you have not seen the very definition of beauty. As the bus wound around the hilly Highway 1, clinging to the cliffs which led to the sea, I was allowed a glimpse of was heaven must surely look like. The sky, a deep blue-black with scattered clouds, was suddenly and vibrantly illuminated by the full moon which cast down silver rays reflecting off the sea below. At times, I could see a few miles out to sea where the moon lit up only a small disk of water and it reminded me of that scene from Close Encounters Of the Third Kind. The beauty and surreal scene struck me as the clearest proof that there is indeed a God.

Despite this eye-watering beauty, arriving at the start line was an extremely painful event. Much like my fellow runners on the bus, I had hydrated my body to the point of almost complete saturation and it doesn’t take a physiologist to understand what that level of hydration and a 50-minute bus ride combine to create. Yes, by the time we arrived, I was ready to crack porcelain!!! So imagine my excitement when we saw the “Start” banner and the equal disappointment when the bus just kept rolling. Keeping with my earlier thoughts about God and biblical truths, I wondered internally where the HELL this bus driver was going. It seems that someone had this great idea to go onward for two miles and turn around before letting their hostages, er, passengers off the bus. What sick mind came up with that little form of water torture?

“OK,” I thought, “I can do this. I can make it…” No thoughts of nervousness about the race or my performance was even near my thought process. My entire world was centered a couple of inches behind my belly button. But endurance and perseverance were the games for the day and I took the challenge. Just a couple of miles back and we’re golden (no pun intended).

In a moment of foreshadowing, another thought crept into my head and I beat it back with sheer denial. As we turned the last curve, that thought materialized in heartbreaking reality. There was a line about 10 busses deep waiting to discharge their passengers.

SNAP! END OF THE GAME. PLEASE PICK UP YOUR PARTING GIFTS AT THE DOOR.

I knew at that moment what I had to do. To my right were two women clucking away, oblivious of my rogue, boorish plan. Behind me, the last bench on the bus was my friend, Steve, who was in as much agony as I was. To his right were two other gentlemen whose eyes vividly expressed the same physical limitations that had me guzzling down the remainder of the water in my water bottle, in preparation for, well, um…. Ladies and gentlemen, it was time.

Almost without discussion, Steve knew the deal. He slid out of the seat and I lunged myself into the corner in preparation for the deed at hand (again, excuse the pun). I will leave out all the gory details but suffice it to say that the unexpected lurches of the bus moving up in the line made for a very challenging session. We’ll just leave it at that but I must add, no violation was made on the play and after following my lead, the other two gentlemen accomplished similar feats.

We all agreed while leaving the bus that all things considered, it’s great to be men sometimes. As for the women, well, I think they would be more jealous than offended if they knew because the last I saw of them on this day was them rushing off the bus and toward to port-a-potties. Me, I leisurely strolled over to the nearest trashcan and made an uneventful disposal of a very full water bottle.



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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