Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First Speed Work, Then Some Inspiration

This morning I was invited to a Rotary Club meeting by my uncle. The reason for the invitation was the guest speaker. She had written the story of the group of Boy Scouts that died when a freak snow storm unleashed itself on the the boys as they were climbing in the largest mountain in the area, Mt. Wrightson, also called Mt. Baldy. This story, as I'll share later, is something I was keen to hear. It was especially compelling as she is the brother of one of the survivors.

The problem with going to the meeting was that it started at 6:30 am, and I had my first speed work session scheduled. Yesterday was 104, today is supposed to be hotter. I decided to get up at 4:30 am and head to the track.

I did two easy miles, then two miles where I jogged and recovered on the corners and sprinted the straight-aways. I finished with a mile cool down. It was a strange morning, cold for here, this time of year. It was 61 degrees! The football field was being watered and spray was tickling the inside track and a slight breeze steadily spread mist where the spray failed to reach.

When I parked I noticed a leaking water main flooding the drainage in both downhill directions. It was so loud that it was the dominant sound of the morning's run. I had worried that it was change from a leak spraying down to something worse. I thought about calling somebody, but who, and at what number at before 5 am?

I started my run and saw a coyote walking across the neighboring soccer field. I did the warm up miles and the first of speed work when I saw another coyote following the same path of its predecessor. I whistled at it. The coyote just turned its head, looked at me, and went about his business without picking up its pace. I whistled again and was ignored. Man, I guess I'm not threatening.

About this time another person had joined me at the track and was walking around the outside lane. I wonder what I must've looked like to him. Sprint, then jog, repeat. I wonder what I would've thought before I knew about this type of workout.

After the run I had to drive home, take a quick shower and head back out to the meeting. There was breakfast served there! Oatmeal, fruit, juices and coffee. YES-SCORE!

When the author told her story, with an accompanying powerpoint, I was totally engrossed, as was the entire room. Before she spoke there were side conversations and clattering of silverware on plates, people getting up to refill their coffee cups. And it's not that she was a powerful speaker. She was a bit mush-mouthed, requiring the microphone which she often failed to project into. The people in the back couldn't hear her very well. But, the power of the story was immense.

Basically, a group of six boy scouts, ages 16 to 11, decided to climb Mt. Wrightson on 11/15/1958. They had been inspired by the climbing stories of Sir Edmond Hillary. The weather report was clear. One of the boy's fathers drove them to the base of the mountain and arranged to pick them up the following afternoon. That afternoon a freak storm rolled in and dump 3 feet of snow at the bottom and 7 feet at the shoulders and top! The conditions two days later were still such that several would-be rescuers needed rescuing themselves! It still stands as the biggest search and rescue effort ever in Arizona.

Anyhow, I've already had a full day and it's not even 9 am. Maybe I'll take a nap now. Vacation is great.
Anyhow, the book that tells the story is called Death Clouds on Mt. Baldy, Tucson's Lost Tragedy, and is written by Cathy Hafault.

No comments:

Post a Comment