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.


Michael Friedl said...

Great job, guys! I hated missing either of these assaults this year. Let's get it on the books for 2013. Happy New Year Willie!

Anonymous said...

FUCKING EPIC !!!!! It's funny that I don't remember the cold now . You don't truly know what you are capable of until you're faced with "Quitting is not an option" or "Suceed at ANY cost" Thank you Will , everything turned out alright......just like you said it would !

Will Cooper said...

Thanks mike f. You were missed. Bino, it's hard coming back down to earth!

Mountain Mayhem said...

Leadville Opens Tomorrow!! SIGN UP!!You would have an awesome crew - your family "and" experienced crew and pacers with the DeMarco family!! Happy New Year!!

Will Cooper said...

Cindy, I just signed up for Leadville today! See you in August!