Sunday, April 03, 2005

Lost in Pebble Beach (Or I'm ready!!!)

Somewhere between 21 and 244:18:14Downtown PG to Spanish Bay to Peter Hay to Poppy Hills to Highway 1 to Pebble Beach (Carmel Gate)to MPCC to CC Gate to HomeProbably around 11:15 min./mi. or so

Two weeks made a load of difference since my last long run, a troubling 22-mile affair that had me cryin' for my momma.

Yesterday's run confirmed several things for me, in order of importance:

1) I am ready to run the Big Sur Marathon.

2) Running the marathon is going to take toughness, because it will be hard and painful.

3) The signs and roads in Pebble Beach are confusing, especially when you've been running for three hours.

4) Getting hit by a German or Japanese luxury car probably kills you just as much as getting hit by a Chevy.

Now, onto our story.

I had obtained permission from a buddy at work to enter Pebble Beach by car, bypassing the $8.50 fee that the prestigious gated community usually charges us plebes for the priviledge of driving through its gem-encrusted streets. This gave me the opportunity to map out a route running from sea level up to the tippy-top of the Del Monte Forest, looping around the summit once,(picking up a bottle of gatorade I hung on a roadside sign) then heading back down the hill and north to Pacific Grove in time to collapse in a cramped mess in my apartment. The total distance was to be 20.7 miles.


The first part of my run went perfectly. Over the first 40 minutes, my shin splints hurt a lot, so I took it easy. Forty seems to be a lucky number for me, because the pain disappeared at 40 minutes, which was good. Soon I was chugging up hills, Spyglass Hill, then another hill, then a big, long ascent that doesn't really have a name. It was tough, but I was comforted that I had a new bottle of Gatorade waiting for me at Mile 11.

I got to what I thought was the top of the hill and then turned. Then I turned again. All the sudden, (30 minutes later) the scenery was the same. I had gone around in a circle. I hadn't seen my bottle of Gatorade. I had been running for 2:15 minutes. I was completely lost, although completely lost on a road with sweeping views of the decending sun over Monterey Bay.

So I took another turn, and was greeted by a steep hill. After plodding up that, I found myself on another circular, winding road with more sweeping views of Monterey Bay. I heard the vultures circling overhead. My gatorade had been depleted for 20 minutes and I was certain I was nearing a very scenic end. At least, I thought, perhaps my ghost would haunt Del Monte Forest, stealing people's expensive golf balls depressing multi-million dollar property values.

Ten more minutes of running, and I realized that this was not to be. At 2:35 on the stopwatch, I found my Gatorade, and my previous wrong turn had been corrected. I had no idea how much longer I made my run, but I'm guessing my unexpected detour added at least two miles.

Soon, I was at the Highway 1 gate at the summit of Pebble Beach. I flew down 17-Mile Drive against traffic as I raced the sunset. With no shoulder on the road, Many Benzes, Beemers and Lexi (that's the plural of Lexus) came within inches of hitting me. But with a painful stitch in my side and a good bit of oxygen deprivation, I didn't really seem to care. Besides, they were probably all well-insured.

I reached the bottom of the hill at 3:10 on the watch or so and had about 6.5 miles to go. Up hill slow, down hill fast, up hill slow, down hill fast, all in the dark. By the time I got to the Pebble Beach gate, exiting into Pacific Grove, I was filled with joy and covered with salt.

I had escaped being hit by cars. I was almost home. And I had enough gas left in my tank to speed up a little. It was all downhill from there and I coasted back to my apartment.

I've run about 530 miles since I started training. There a three weeks left to taper for the race. I'm ready. It's all downhill from here.

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