December 31, 2012

Saltwater 2012 - The Final Assault

Santiago Peak 5'600 feet at 2:47 pm Sat. December 29
This was a hard one to write. Not because the topic isn't meaningful. No. On the contrary, the final assault was freaking awesome. I think it was hard because it's hard to cram 11.5 hours of so much into so little.

Our first attempt from the ocean to the top of Santiago two weeks ago ended in mixed emotions. Naive about the possibility of the access road closing, we had to turn back with only 2 miles to go to the top. But we weren't prepared. No crew access and eleven runners without water or warm clothes in what would have been 12 more miles and a 45 mile run.  

So why attempt it again? It seems absurd. It was one of the coldest days of the year with rain starting at 9 am and snow starting at 4'500 feet. No vehicles to meet us on top. It was absurd, I think...which I guess is why we did it. But what ensued was really why we did it. 11.5 hours of joking, gasping, sweating, shivering, posing, falling, slipping, sliding, drinking, pissing, eating, crapping, hiking, climbing, worrying, flailing, kneeling, laughing and....oh yea...running. What else are you going to do on a cold winter day in Orange County? Yes, we made it from the ocean to the top of Santiago peak and back down the mountain without vehicles. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't easy. I was just really cold.   

Leading up to the 11.5 hours was, of course, the fact that we haven't failed to reach the summit of Santiago in 9 years. Why let this be the year of infamy? I couldn't bear the thought. 

Thanks Rob M, Bino, and Chris "Cracker" C for sharing my sentiments about this tradition, and for spending those 11.5 hours with me. It was worth every wet, freezing minute. There simply wasn't enough time to coordinate schedules and rally all eleven runners and required crew and transportation for this one. I hope you guys and gals understand. And thanks Jen C and Trina M for dropping and fetching us.        

Pacific Ocean at 5:25 am Saturday Dec 29

"Don't those pants come with big red shoes?"
"Wake up turtles"

"I just texted Padilla...asked him if he's in the mood"

"Smile numb nuts"

My Original Running Family!

Lemon toss tradition....

Jack and the Box. A new tradition? 

Rain Begins at 9 am. Weatherman said 6 pm!

Guys...what else would you be doing today?

Near Old Camp

"I can't feel my fingers!"

"This is colder than I thought it would be"

"Why did we do this?"

"Holy crap, are your lips stuck?"

"Now....both hands on my shoulders..."

"What time did you say we'd be at Cooks Corner?"

"Lets see....I've fallen 5 times and I still have to run down the mountain"

Finally down the mountain. 5:01 pm.

December 22, 2012

Saltwater 5000 v.9.0

"Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face"

Mike Tyson

Call it a lesson learned, a hard knock, a SNAFU (situation normal: all-fucked-up). Whatever you want to call it, Saltwater V.9.0 was a little bitter-sweet. Bitter from not reaching Santiago peak.  Sweet from a great day on trail with some awesome people. Eleven runners started, ten runners ran 41.2 miles. Two runners completed approximately 20 miles. No official course on this day. Only time on foot.

Pre Dawn Start

There were many exceptional moments. A few that stand out are Bino rambling incoherently at the top of Joplin while making his way to his hands and knees...begging for the niceties of a crew. Shivering, chips nearly exiting his upper orifice, but not to be. Tracy D outing Joe R for violating Saltwater's culture by "racing" ahead, only to see Bino flush it down the toilet as he separated from the group up Santiago trail. Dave B et al running on "pizza boxes" through El Moro and Whiting Ranch. Lincoln's dive on the divide. Jeff D and Kevin S shameless ride down the mountain with Uncle Sam. Rob M thinking like and falling apart like the Scarecrow on the top of Joplin (food? layers? what me worry?). Tin Man Kevin S putting the Scarecrow back together. Jeff P not being in  Larry R not complaining once the whole day!

Skate Park

But without the crew the day would have been much different. Locked out of the access road by forrest rangers, they waited at the bottom of Maple Springs road with a half gallon of Meyers Rum. Apparently feeling no pain and hearing some emotion from Tracy D, they ordered forrest rangers up the mountain to save us. Why USFS didn't have the gates open to the public still puzzles me. The website showed the gate was open (see my redemption below) but we are talking the federal government here...

Screen Shot - Open Gate!

A mighty thanks to all the runners of Saltwater 5000 this year, for putting up with my misguided adventure, for sticking to Plan A when the vehicles weren't there, and for getting through it despite the lack of crew, water and revery at the top of Joplin. Also, thanks to all the crew: Dawn, Trina, Eric, Marshall, Ernie, John John, Kevin, and most importantly after nine consecutive years, Al. You guys and gals are what make this event what it really is...a good time with good friends.

Santiago Truck Trail head

Keep it real Saltwater runners and crew!


Larry, Moi, Chris 

Weird Love Affair

Chris and Larry

McNair's Step

Tracy and Eric D

Larry R

"I set the course record in 1993 on....."

We're done!

December 1, 2012

Note to Self...

Just another visual on a day's run. 

Running is a very measurable activity, if you want it to be. Hell, if you're a runner, you might even keep track of your daily miles, weekly miles, PRs, goals, long runs, minutes per mile, heart rate, maybe even your VO2 max . You might even write these things down in a journal somewhere (ok...I'm guilty of some of these, but not all!). But is this a good thing? 

During my run today I told myself to stop and look around once in a while. As soon as I did, I stumbled upon a few things. It was worth the 2 minutes and 45 seconds added to my run. Note to self...try to remember the journey is the reward.  

Maple Leaf Ball?