You stay classy, Pebble Beach

Sometimes it takes an old friend to make you remember who you really are-what you are really made of. (And, how classy you are!)

My dear, friend Eileen came into town to run the Big Sur marathon-the “Best marathon you will run your Worst time in”.

This wasn’t my first time, I ran the Big Sur in 2000 with our friend Jackie as part of her Millennium Goal and fell in LOVE with the gorgeous coastline, the surf, the lifestyle that California seemed to offer.


After our race, we had a drink overlooking the ocean at Rocky Point and Jackie issued her famous line “This is not a bad life we live, is it?”.  Certainly not.

So, I returned home to Pittsburgh-made a plan-and in 2005 I moved to San Francisco to be closer to this gorgeous coastline.

But, lately, this fine coastline has been hard on me-too expensive, lack of people with the East Coast values I’m accustomed to, the feeling that everyone is looking for the next bright, shiny thing-in friendships, in romance, in job security.

If California was a lover, he’d be a bad one at best.  He’d be a cheating (no end to available “Open” 30 something women), stealing (ahem-parking tickets anyone), dirty (just step out onto the streets!), rotten boyfriend who’s afraid to grow up-yet the passion and sex is so GOOD-you can’t let go.  That’s the kind of boyfriend California has been to me (especially San Francisco).  So, I went into this race a little scorned and doubtful of what this state has to offer.

Luckily, Eileen came into town and it felt like my Soulmate could fix everything!! We drove down the coast to the (suddenly) very fancy Hotel Abrego (used to be the Sand Dollar Inn) who even left me chocolates and wine for my Birthday (I must have told them I was starting my birthday month when booking the room (like they gave a shit)-but I guess they DID!)

Anyway, we went out for a fancy-classy- dinner (which ended up being at the Sly McFly Dinner House) and got to bed early like good little runners to sleep well before the morning of the run.

Race morning is never fun- you get up cursing yourself for signing up for something so ridiculous and wonder why in the HELL you would put yourself through a feat like running 21 miles.  I mean, what idiot would volunteer to do such a thing?  But, may I remind you that I hold the title of “Best Ass on the Playa” and feel a little threatened by the competition-so this ass had better get up and move.

Amazing race morning AND we got to sleep in till the decadent hour of 6am since part of Highway 1 had fallen into the ocean (thus, making the race an “Out and Back”)  we didn’t have to board buses at 4am to travel 21 miles down the coast.

The Big Sur marathon (26.2 miles) sells out within a month of opening, so we had to “settle” for the 21 miler (Thank God, since I hadn’t even trained to run over 18 miles).

Bart Yasso (a super famous marathoner) says about this course “If we were told that we could run only one marathon in our lifetime, Big Sur would have to be it.”  This course is called “Moderately Difficult” and they suggest you add 20 minutes to your expected finish due to the hills.  The hours I spent out there reminded me of my experience in CA-lots of ups and downs-moments when I thought I’d never finish and finally, the glorious finish line!

Like all self-respecting races, the Big Sur finishes with beer (something I don’t drink except for Hash’s and marathon finish lines)

Eileen is far more healthy than I (she drank Pineapple juice) but I just ran 21 miles and the beer was well-deserved.  The end of a race is always interesting:  people stumbling around with that glazed look on their faces, boyfriends waiting at the finish line with flowers, hot athletic guys and girls who just did the impossible.  It’s a great place to be-especially when you finish in Carmel and a hot tub and wine are in your near future.

But first, we decided to hit the local CVS for dinner supplies (crackers and cheese) so we could dine Pittsburgh-style (under $10 per head, thank you very much).  Then, we realized our car was about 1 mile away and we had to walk so we asked where the facilities were and were told “Just go through the alley”.  Now, this says alot about Carmel and it’s inhabitants since this alley housed a Rolex dealer!  Where I live now, in San Francisco, alleys are strewn with condoms and crack pipes.  Far classier than I’m used to for sure!

We head back to the Hotel Abrego to drink the free wine I scored and to bask in the sun with our fellow runners (a great group of ladies from Portland, OR) and to reconnect with my cousin and his gorgeous daughters who just moved back from Japan.

All in all, it was the perfect day as Eileen and I drove to Pebble Beach to watch the sunset over Spanish Bay.  This is along the scenic 17 mile drive through Carmel and among some of the most expensive houses in the country.  We drive past privet hedges and past driveways filled with Mercedes to this resort and settle in by the fire pit.  For a couple of Pittsburgh girls, we were feeling very fancy and highbrow until one of the drunken people sitting by us stands up and shouts “We GOT Bin Laden!! I just got a text from Afghanistan!!”

Now, we were in the middle of enjoying our $12 martinis, feeling very important wearing our race medals when suddenly this same guy confirms by shouting “We  FUCKIN’ got Bin Laden!!!!”  and he and his friends start dumping their drinks into the fire, sending sparks our way.

Thinking this guy must be insane, we ignored him until our friend Jackie called to confirm that, yes, we did kill Bin Laden and that people in DC and New York City were climbing trees and running through the streets.

For a minute, we thought it might be a good idea to rampage through Pebble Beach climbing street signs and hooting and hollering, then we realized these people are the top 1% everyone keeps talking about and, most likely, weren’t all that affected by Bin Laden and the ensuing war(s).

And, like many things we consider to be a ‘big deal’ (finishing a 21 mile race-suffering through a bad year-dating the wrong guys), it’s all small stuff in the face of big events.

So, all you can do sometimes, is have a sense of humor about it all- be happy you get to laugh with your soulmate, a drink in your hand, knowing that no matter how classy the place-you will always fit in because someone is always going to act like more of an ass than you!

And, that, dear friends-is real class.


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