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Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Twin Peaks That Was Not

Saturday (yesterday) was the day Twin Peaks was supposed to run, but was cancelled due to the government shutdown.  The race director went down to the start line at 7:00 AM to hand out the medals and shirts for anyone who wanted to claim them.  Most of the 25 who showed ran a “Fat Ass 50k” for the fun of it.   (Fat Ass:  a term used for an unmarked, unsupported, unofficial race).  I elected to run an out-and-back to Santiago Peak.  Another runner I met elected for a shorter route than my 22 miles.  Several runners (at least 6) took a ride down off the mountain at some point  (the trails are that tough!). 

Since I had all the time in the world, I took this run with no intentions on pushing myself speed-wise.  Simply running these mountain trails would be pushing myself hard enough.

At the start, I met a group of guys who said they watched my 2012 Twin Peaks video the night before.  I saw some people I knew of, but did not know.  I saw some good running friends too.

Me and Emmett (& John in background):IMG_7968

I’ll try and cut it short.  I ran eleven miles uphill, turned around and ran eleven miles back down. 

Running ITT to Peak & back 10-19-2013, Elevation

Well, that’s a bit too short of a story for my taste.  First off, it was cold.  I drove to the other side of the mountain, the Riverside side, which is much colder than the coastal side.  So, I ran up the nearly seven mile Indian Truck Trail with long sleeves and a cool breeze to my face.  The run was not technical, but it was hard.  And it was lovely.

Running up Indian Truck Trail:

From Indian Truck Trail, I considered turning around and making this a 14 mile run.  But I forced myself onward and I took The Main Divide for that brutal run to Santiago Peak. 

I met this amazing runner along the way:

And this amazing runner too (Scott) – both of these 50k runners passed me on the way to the peak:

Almost there:

Santiago Peak within sight!:

Arrived (Now time to turnaround and run back):

Before summiting, my sock lifted a piece of tape from my foot.  The loosened piece began sawing away at my foot.  It felt like tiny chainsaw moved back and forth along the side of my arch with each step.  I debated whether I should stop and re-tape.  I’m getting a little smarter and decided “better safe than sorry.”  So, I rested at the Upper Holy Jim water stop Jessica (the RD) had provided, and untapped my foot to find a raw slice in my foot.  I re-taped and took off with a much stronger foot. 

Unfortunately, the stronger foot lasted only about an hour.  By the time I made Indian Truck Trail again my right foot felt like it was going to fall off.  But I was now on the LONGEST TRAIL IN THE WORLD!  And I was a little eager to end this adventure.  Concentrating on picking my feet up quicker, I felt content with a 13 minute mile (And that’s downhill!).  That’s all the pain I could take.  If I ran all out, I’d put myself through pain for no reason.  This was a fun run.  Not a race.  Arriving intact was more important than finishing 15 to 30 minutes faster.   

Upper Holy Jim:

In all, the day I was registered to run Twin Peaks, I ran 22 miles.  The day was gorgeous, the weather perfect.  I had plenty of fun, but boy!  The run wiped me out.  I think I could have finished Twin Peaks, but never with a 7AM start.  I would have taken the 4:30 early start, as I will do next year, if I am so fortunate to have another chance at Twin Peaks.

I got my shirt, and I got my medal.  Though the medal was merely given to me, I’m going to consider all those times I dragged myself up that hellish climb to the peak as earning this medal. Winking smile


  1. That is so disappointing that they cancelled the race! Surely race staff & volunteers could have made up the difference for the furloughed rangers? Glad most of you tried to make the most of it, but still a bummer!

    1. Yes it was a big bummer. Technically the National Forest was closed, and I think the race director didn't want to jeopardize future races -- plus the course is brutal. During last years' race we had an air lift rescue. I'm just looking at it now as a year to train for Twin Peaks 2014. :)