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Aaron Atwood's Blog (19)

Pikes Peak Ascent Race Report - A Little Late Like My Finish

Maybe I've finally recovered, maybe I'm lazy - either way, I'm just getting to my race report for the Pikes Peak Ascent. The 13+ miles and 7K feet of elevation gain kicked my tail. I had lofty delusions (I mean goals).


Heading into it, I got psyched up into thinking I could peek at 3:30. I had know idea. I do know that this in itself is an indicator of much growth in my running this season. I went from just wanting to finish when I signed up for the race to having goals...…


Added by Aaron Atwood on August 30, 2011 at 8:12pm — 1 Comment

Zoom in Zoom out

I was reminded of a journalistic technique some wise old editor tried to teach me back when I was a pup writing for newspapers and magazines: zoom in, zoom out. Changing the focus on a story gives readers a different perspective. As I was finishing a short run to the top of the W's yesterday, I stood there looking out at the Garden of the Gods far below. Then I looked at the granite boulder right in front of me. Both were beautiful in different ways. The contrasting sandstone of the Gardent…


Added by Aaron Atwood on August 18, 2011 at 11:00am — No Comments

Sub Four Hours Looks Tough

Ran up to the top of Pikes Peak last weekend. Took about 4:30. My goal is a sub 4 hour trek. It's looking tough right now. My new friend Howard says, "Think of the Ascent as the world's toughest 5K."


What? "5K?" I asked shocked.


"Yep, but it takes about 10 miles to get to the starting line (treeline)," he said slyly.


Well, if I walk to treeline at about a 20 minute mile... that's 3 hours and 20 minutes. I just have the run the last three miles…


Added by Aaron Atwood on August 11, 2011 at 9:13pm — 1 Comment

Bears AND Rattlesnakes

I've heard you can ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway up to Mountain View, hike about a mile and be on Barr Trail. That sounds alot easier to me than running all the way to A Frame just to get some altitude training in. So I thought I'd investigate. My half baked plan is to ride up late in the day, run to the top and hitch hike down to Manitou. With this little scheme in mind, I called the Cog Railway operator to discuss my ride options. This conversation ensued: 


Me: I'd like…


Added by Aaron Atwood on August 6, 2011 at 9:17pm — 4 Comments

Shuffle in the Dark

All weekend I was Thinking about a long run. Thinking though doesn't get me any further along the training continuum. So late Sunday I snatched the few hours of weekend that were left and headed for Barr Trail. With just a couple of "honey do" stops between my house and the trailhead I thought I'd still get a good workout in before dark. I was partially right.

I took off from Ruxton at 6. Hit shuffle on the IPhone and cranked the tunes. I've recently synced my home computer with my…


Added by Aaron Atwood on August 1, 2011 at 10:00pm — 4 Comments

Mind Games

My Pikes Peak Sports teammate Brandon Stapanowich played mind games in the Summer Stampede 12K. I'm playing mind games now with my training. Everyday I'm trying to figure out ways to get up the Peak. Last week I couldn't make it above tree line but every hill I ran I envisioned was a piece of Barr Trail on the way up Pikes Peak.


Wednesday morning I ran the…


Added by Aaron Atwood on July 31, 2011 at 2:17pm — No Comments

Yeah, it's hard to explain

Friday night I was debating - 6 a.m. start in Manitou - all the to the top of Pikes Peak or an 8 a.m. start at the Cog Railway taking it half way and then running to the top. Either way, a hard workout was in store. I had friends and acquaintances going on both trips so I was debating if I wanted to leave my wife home with the kids and for how long. 

My wife asks: "Are your friends training to win this race?" 

"No," I replied. 

"Have they run this race before?" she…


Added by Aaron Atwood on July 24, 2011 at 10:34pm — 1 Comment

High Street Low

I hit a low at the 2011 Summer Roundup Trail Run 12K. It happened about 20 seconds after the compacted dirt became asphalt and the course rocketed skyward. I had to walk. Walking isn't the end of the world. Lots of runners consider walking up hill (especially in the Pikes Peak Ascent) more efficient than running. But for me, I was walking because I felt defeated. The course beat me that Sunday.

Maybe it's for the best. As runners passed me and my time began to look like the elevation…


Added by Aaron Atwood on July 20, 2011 at 3:55pm — 2 Comments

Back on the Wagon - Pikes Peak or Bust

I fell off the wagon.

I think it was a post-race proverbial "hang-over" that was completely alcohol free but laced with plenty of ice cream and diet soda. I know, quite a bender.

After the Garden of the Gods 10-Mile, I rested for a couple of days. That became almost a week. Then my wife went out of town with the kids. I had good intentions, I really did. But I just didn't run much.

Then I went on vacation with the family and you know how that goes... never is there as…


Added by Aaron Atwood on July 5, 2011 at 5:30pm — 1 Comment

Crushed it!

My time at the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile was 1:20:31. That was way faster than my goal and I surprised myself. My splits were pretty close (except mile 7-8) which tanked by about 20 seconds. I even got there before the thing started - which was my main concern! I took some video along the way but the only one that is even watchable is this one of the start. The others are basically just of my fingers (ha!). I tried.



Added by Aaron Atwood on June 14, 2011 at 5:30pm — 1 Comment

Pre-race Jitters

I remember in high school before a race I'd do anything to keep my mind off the upcoming race. Now I feel like all I can do is think about the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile.

I'm excited. My biggest concern is over sleeping!

It's going to be a great challenge to see what I can get my body to do.

Here's my strategy: Run to win the prize. OK that's a bit overzealous on the surface - and unrealistic when inspected in light of my lack of race experience since 1994. But… Continue

Added by Aaron Atwood on June 11, 2011 at 10:09pm — 2 Comments

A Lunch Break to the W's

With the beginning of the Triple Crown Series only nine days away, I was torn between working through lunch or working out at lunch. I chose working out mostly because my wife told me to work - I like to push her buttons.


The Garden of the Gods 10 Mile is June 12th (7 a.m.). Are you signed up? You should be. It's one of the best races in the country according to Runners…


Added by Aaron Atwood on June 3, 2011 at 5:30pm — 5 Comments


You've heard the call - the Spanish accented sports announcer screams, "GOOOOAAAALLLLLL!!!"

That's how I felt Saturday when I jogged into Memorial Park in Manitou Springs with Chris Bittinger looking at his watch saying, "Guys, Aaron just finished in 1:27!"

The High Altitude Running Team invited me along for a training run on the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile course. This was my first chance to see the whole course - start to finish. It was a chance to size up my goal of…


Added by Aaron Atwood on May 31, 2011 at 10:25pm — 4 Comments

Star Struck

He's not a regular guy.

Despite the testimony of many who know him well who say, "He's just a regular guy, who happens to have competed in the Olympics three times.

As we crunched gravel under our hundred dollar shoes, I tried not to say anything stupid that Justin Chaston would hear at least. Being a new runner, I'm still star struck…


Added by Aaron Atwood on May 25, 2011 at 7:30pm — 1 Comment

A few thoughts from the trail

Garden of the Gods 10 Mile - here I come!

Added by Aaron Atwood on May 24, 2011 at 2:12pm — No Comments

Are you a RUNNER?

Last night while jogging on a kitchen pass from my loving wife, I got to thinking...

In my view, there's a distinct difference between being someone who runs and being a RUNNER. As I've gotten connected with the Colorado Springs community of RUNNERS, I realize that I'm probably just someone who runs (at least at this point).


My observations are that RUNNERS:

1. Get up so early they pass people coming home from the bars on their way out to their morning…


Added by Aaron Atwood on May 24, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments

The Difference a Team Makes

Saturday I ran at the Garden of the Gods as part of a team. It was good. Being part of a team makes running better.


I'm very blessed to have been selected to be part of the Pikes Peak Sports.US Triple Crown of Running Team. When Tim Bergsten was putting the details of the team concept together, a few local running coaches offered to help those of us that were…


Added by Aaron Atwood on May 16, 2011 at 1:42pm — No Comments

Keeping Track of Time

I posted the first of what I hope will be many videos last night. It's funny, I thought it was 6:30; it was more like 8:30. I'm happy with my pace but am feeling it a bit today.


I have Coach Chris Bittinger helping me work on a plan.


My goal is to knock out the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile in less than 9:00/mile so that I can get into the first wave of the…


Added by Aaron Atwood on May 11, 2011 at 12:02pm — 1 Comment

40 Days and Counting

Forty days.

It's almost biblical in tone. In 40 days I'll be standing in a throng of people wondering if there Reese's Cup station somehwere along the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run. It's the first in the Triple Crown of Running series that culminates in the Pikes Peak Ascent/Marathon.


"Why are you doing this?" my wife…


Added by Aaron Atwood on May 3, 2011 at 3:53pm — 3 Comments

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