Surf City Marathon 2018

I woke up with a headache.  My iphone’s alarm, the default radar tone, pinged repeatedly at 3:30 AM and I fumbled with it in the dark.  I cleared it and saw a notification banner from AirBNB.  Apparently my host for my Boston Marathon accommodations cancelled in the dead of night.

I wanted to believe his reasons were legitimate and not because he thought he should be charging more.  I was though (and remain) annoyed that if *I* had cancelled the booking, under the strict cancellation policy the host had, I would’ve been charged the full price of the booking anyway.  But I’m not compensated in any way, shape, or form when the monolith cancels on me.  It’s the same thing when an airline cancels a flight: I don’t get paid a $150 change fee but if I were to change my ticket you can bet your sweet bippy that they’d be billing my credit card.  The consumer is not protected and no one cares.

Contemplating this as I grabbed my running gear and car keys, I found myself once again wallowing in a sense of hopelessness and ennui.  My heart and soul is broken when I think about my country at the moment – the lies and innuendo, the Nunes memo, the embarrassing grade school level of discourse *on both sides* of the aisle, the threat of nuclear war as an approval ratings grab by the ultra conservative apocalypse hawks.  I feel depressed and demoralized and more than anything I feel paralyzed.

It was in this mindset that I walked out my front door and headed to the car to drive down to Huntington Beach for the Surf City Marathon.  I actually contemplated just not going.  What does it matter?  What does any of it matter anymore?  But I had overeaten under the guise of “carbo loading” when in fact it was just “the same old, same old” binge eating.  I needed to at least TRY and work off SOME of the calories with which I had stuffed my face.  That more than any other reason was what compelled me to hop on the 5 South freeway.

Traffic is the bane of my existence here in southern California… and really almost EVERYWHERE I go these days.  I’m not sure ANY place I’ve been recently hasn’t prompted the hurry-up-and-wait start/stop road rage in me.  The one nice thing about 4 AM on the CA freeways – they actually do kinda work at that hour.  With minimal cars on the road, you can actually drive and traverse the distances in something approaching what Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower wanted for America’s highways post-seeing-the-Autobahn.  I made good time down to HB and though wound up parking a bit farther afield than I might have liked, at least the side road I found was free and thus I did not need to fork over the $15 for parking the area lots would have had me pay.

I’ve done this race before.  In 2009, I ran a 4:11:20.  In 2016, it was a 3:33:47.  Tomorrow I’ll login to my photo cloud storage and see if I can’t pull some pics from those years to compare to today’s race.  But for now, I’m just going to post some of the very few pictures I snapped along the way.  I felt like I’d documented this thing in the past; the course remains the same and it’s a mind-fffff… a mind-farce that plays tricks on you as you circle back and forth along the Pacific Coast Highway.

The race went ok I guess.  My butt was bothering me once again, that same nagging injury lingering on from my wet leaves slip-and-slide debacle of late 2017.  Maybe some day I’ll stop racing for a few months and do a proper rest and rehab in try and get that sorted once and for all.  But anytime I’ve tried doing such things it never really seems to work.  I do what I’m supposed to do and I wind up just wasting my time, energy, and wherewithal; it never seems to work out correctly.  That’s been true of house repairs, airBNB reservations, and various health issues amongst many, many, oh-so-many other instances.  There’s a reason the cliché “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” still resonates.

There’s an unpleasant story at mile 25 about two beach bum surfer dudes who rode past me on their bikes, carrying their medium sized surf boards.  It was as if they sought to use as lances in jousting, hoping to impale me and to get me to move.  You think I’m joking or exaggerating but honestly it was an entirely rude, nasty, and mean spirited interaction with these yahoos that made me sink ever deeper into a murky depression.  I really thought about quitting right then and there because if these two gentlemen of Huntington Beach were indicative the townsfolk, if their curses hurled at me for not paying attention to where I was going and blaming me for causing them problems on the beach path this morning, if this is how the townspeople of Surf City want to treat visitors and tourists to their town, well, screw them.  I don’t recall Jan and Dean singing “two dicks for every boy.”  I vowed not to return to Surf City Marathon; I refuse to patronize places that choose to patronize, condescend, insult, and generally demean me.

It’s a dark place I find myself at the moment.  Maybe that’s not surprising given the days and nights of the calendar.  But, man, what a cruddy day.

And I still have a headache.  But that might be dehydration.