Farewell, Big Sur

I haven’t mentioned it, basically because I’m too proud, but I’ve been mourning the loss of the Big Sur Marathon for a few weeks now.

It’s THE marathon. The one I wanted to run first. I didn’t because it’s wicked hilly, and I thought a flat 26.2 was a better way to start, thus the Kiawah Island marathon last Dec. But Big Sur remains the race that captivates me.  The reasons for this are complicated, but I’ll just say that it has a lot to do with with my novel, the Bixby Canyon Bridge and Deathcab for Cutie. Also, just take a look at the race description: “Big Sur is the largest rural marathon in the world, winding through redwoods, paralleling ranches, and offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.” I mean, come on.

Anyway, due to the recent financial meltdown, I had to face the fact that I just can’t afford to make the trip. It’s more than a flight. I’d have to rent a car and then there’s the hotel room for at least two nights. You don’t just run a marathon and get on a plane. I mean, I’m sure SOMEONE does, but that person is a machine of running glory and in no way similar to me. Anyway, the point is, this, alas, is not my year for Big Sur.

This is a race that always sells out, so I signed up and paid the $135 entry fee last August. It was my 32nd birthday present to myself (fortunately, though my race number isn’t transferable, it IS tax deductible if I’m not able to run). I was into month three of training when it became clear I was going to have to give it up this year. I cried. I cursed. Eventually, I calmed down. I accepted that I’d have to find another race and have my Big Sur 26 another year.

And then the universe stepped in. No, I didn’t win $20,000 and buy a plane ticket. Instead, I got an email that said this:

” … there will be some last minute changes to three of our six Sunday events as a consequence of the collapse of a forty foot section of Highway One on March 16th, just north of Bixby Bridge.  The Marathon, 21-Miler and Relay will be run on an ‘out and back’ course which will begin at the Marathon finish at Highway One and Rio Road.”

Out and back? No thank you. I mean, if you HAVE to do an out and back, this is the way to do it, but if I can wait and have the full experience, I’m all for it. They haven’t posted the map of the new route yet, but if I had gotten to the beginning of the Bixby Canyon Bridge and didn’t get to run across, I would have been so sad.

Because, I’m still going to run Big Sur one day, but I’m only going to run it ONCE. There are too many other races. And besides, I’m switching to trails. There’s hope that the road will be fixed before the race, and I truly do wish that for all the other racers. But I’m going to hang on to this little bit of comfort at least, that there will be another year for me and Big Sur. That another year will be better.

Hope you’re enjoying the universe today. Have a good weekend, ya’ll.

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