Saturday, April 25, 2015

365 True Things: 28/Marathon (part 1)

Tomorrow is the 29th presentation of the Big Sur International Marathon, and I took a few moments this afternoon to stroll around the tent complex that tomorrow will be a hopping madhouse. Today, though, it was fairly quiet. A group of high school students who will be volunteering in the food tent tomorrow were getting oriented, and people were placing compost and recycling containers. Here and there people stood chatting or going over a clipboard list. It was quiet, but with a buzzing undercurrent of tension.

Eleven-mile marker
Across the road, a cluster of emergency personnel—sheriff's deputies, California OES representatives, fire fighters—stood shooting the breeze. I spoke with one of the deputies, Ivan, a friend from Search & Rescue, asked if he'll be there tomorrow. He said yes: he's on patrol, but the marathon finish line is in his beat. Plus, he's the terrorism liaison for the SO. I misheard him, thought he said "tourism liaison." He laughed. "Well, I suppose I could arrange for people to get a tour of the jail, but no: not tourism. Terrorism." After the Boston Marathon tragedy, that makes sense. Sadly. I sincerely hope Ivan isn't called on to deploy in his capacity as terrorism liaison tomorrow.

The BSIM has grown over the years to now include, in addition to the 26.2-miler, a 21-mile, 10.6-mile, 9-mile, and 5K race (plus a 3K held this morning). The 21-miler used to be called the Power Walk, and I participated in it five or six times in the 1990s. There is nothing better than having the westernmost lane of Highway 1—the edge of the continent—yours and yours alone for those five, six hours of the last Sunday morning of April. Well, yours alone if you don't mind sharing with several thousand other runners and walkers.

I remember the first time I did the Power Walk. Disembarking from the bus at 5, 5:30 a.m., I was surprised that the air wasn't too cold. When it came time to decide what precisely to bring on the walk, I decided to leave my sweats behind. I'd be fine! It promised to be a beautiful day! I'd be walking fast and would warm up! Well, no sooner did we round the first turn, but we were hit by a wall of frigid wind. My bare arms and legs immediately turned bright pink. I stepped up my pace. Eventually we wound into a divot on the winding coastline and managed to warm up a bit, shielded from the wind. Then back out into it . . .  and so forth. I don't remember just where the wind let up—just after the infamous Hurricane Point, perhaps—but it finally did, thank goodness, and we were able to establish a comfortable pace, enjoy all the music along the way (and the strawberries just before Point Lobos, a scrumptious tradition), and make pretty good time in the end. Each and every Power Walk I did, I was glad of the effort. And, each one so different, the experience.

Tomorrow, another story about the Big Sur International Marathon.

1 comment:

  1. I liked this walk around including the conversation with your friend, Ivan. The big world, the boston marathon, terrorists, the immediate world the day before the walk and the memories, power walks of the past. I really like how you wander.