Saltwater 5000 - 2018

Collection of Gimps?
If Saltwater were on the Chinese calendar, 2018 would be the year of the gimp. Among us were were survivors of near career ending back surgery, debilitating knee surgery, Chernobyl-like influenza, even a severe case of last years Jackass Award blues. Sure, nine runners touched the ocean, but it wasn't clear how many would make it to the top of Santiago Peak. Bets would be wagered nearly all day. 

Coming out of the gates we stumbled into an oddity that, on any other day, might have woke the running gods. Jeff P, seemingly gesturing his concern for the homeless, disrobed from his tattered sweatshirt and left the smelly rag on a post at the top of Elevator. His "concern" quickly turned to  babbling excuses when asked how many homeless people frequent the trails of El Moro park. "The ranger will pick it up" was the last rationale we heard. Mona G, annoyed, grabbed the trail waste and wrapped it around her own waist to keep SW litter free. Jackass nomination for Jeff P. 

We continued toward the towering finish line.  The sun was rising in front of us. Then we came upon a random, white chair that seemed to be begging someone to come sit on it, to strike a pose. But who? The designated poser emerged in no more than a 1/2 second when Dave B charged for the photo opp. To say posing is a Basic Instinct of Dave B would be, well, right on the money. As we resumed our journey Cracker appeared to be waiting for Dave B to uncross his legs...     

E wagon Jams

After the McNair step and our first aid station, the Elvis mobile was brought forth and was heard rumbling through the city streets, blowing up the most boring section of the course. The Specials, English Beat, Haircut 100, The Cure turned some heads, but when Intergalactic beamed Jeff P tried to separate from the group and made a dash for the mountain. He wouldn't return until Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline was streaming. But where was Renee? Did I see a flash?   

Jeff P into old camp
Waiting for us was the traditional Jen C Bloody Mary stop with breakfast burritos - nothing better to prepare for a summit attempt '-). As we approached the aid station there were several point blank limes thrown. Tradition can really hurt. The entire crew was waiting, including Al C, Jen C, Wolfgang, Susan K, Marshall, Tom, John W, John D and Victor. At half way, this is by far the best aid station, and heretofore will serve as main depository for the E-wagon.     

Ariel on Joplin

We moved on, steadily approaching the the big climbs. Everyone was moving well despite the year of the gimp, which surprised many of us. But who would leave the Modjeska aid station? Site of the infamous "I'm not in the mood" quip. Words that have already been etched into Saltwater's Hall of Fame. Site of many a DNF. Turns out everyone left the station and began the final ascent to the summit. There would be no turning back now, all nine runners in-tact. All nine moving well.

Father and Daughter

The climb up Modjeska is nothing but a primer, which had Jeff P worried when Ariel was not moving to his liking. A speech ensued at the flag, reminding the rookie to eat her calories or end up like past victims along this route. Next up was the J cubed aid station, where John W and John John made the hike up the treacherous Cadillac trail. Always a welcome site before the hunker down ahead. By the time we hit Joplin, we'd already climbed 5,000', a perfect warm up for OC's most diabolical incline.     

Cracker on his Knees
RDs on Summit

There are moments. As there always are. Moments when you have to just stop and breathe. When you feel the blood pumping into your head, and you still feel light headed. When you feel your legs throbbing, and the pain entices you forward. When you come into the aid station (Mona G) and you immediately hear "lets go!"

All nine runners summited on November 17, 2018. Defying the words of his doctors who said he would never run again, Rob M not only summited, he led the pack most of the day, showing zero signs fatigue from back surgery one year ago. A most inspirational effort. Not far behind was Cracker C, who put down an amazing effort in traditional clown attire, even after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery just a few months prior. And Jeff D, who had fought back a vicious flu a month ago, hadn't run in a month, showed no signs of faltering despite issuing warnings of a DNF.   

Of course the story wouldn't be complete without the conflicted author confessing to a momentary lapse in judgement. One that led the group three-and-a-half-minutes down the wrong trail. Or was it 300 yards? Ok, we'll call it 10 mins already! Jackass received.

Congrats to all the runners for finishing our 15th annual Saltwater 5000! And a hearty thanks to all the volunteers for all your support another year. We couldn't do this stuff without you!!     

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