This minor milestone, the BIGWIG Double 5k on May 27 (photos posted compliments of Tim Bergsten himself) will lead to a couple of other milestones this year, namely completing another Triple Crown of Running series, which culminates with the big goal for the summer, my 25th Peak race, which will be the Ascent race.
The Big Wig double 5k allowed for me to try my new pikespeaksports.ustriplecrownrunners uniform, my shoes, and a bit more sidewalk pounding than I am used to, and since I was not drawn to going to the Bolder Boulder and fighting those crowds, allowed for a racing experience in my own backyard.
Now, I look forward to the Triple Crown Races as the next goal for 2012 . Each race in the series allows for a measurement of fitness as well as a checkpoint in training before the next race. I know, for example, that if I am well prepared for the Garden of the Gods 10-miler on June 9th, that my body will be ready for the 12-13 mile Ascent training efforts I have planned periodically throughout the rest of the summer to prepare for the Ascent. And I know that the Summer Roundup race July 8 will give me a taste of faster running on a more technical and crowded trail so there won't be any surprises come August 18th in the Ascent.
I have settled in on the Ascent race after years and years of humbling experiences on Pikes Peak. Once upon a time I rationalized doing the Roundtrip each year, saying to myself when I got to the top "I may as well run down" because that did not take any longer than getting a ride down. And, coming from an enthusiastic running family who trained for the roundtrip for years, the peer pressure to do the whole thing would win over year after year. This all ties together, actually, to another milestone: My 50th birthday coming this year. With that milestone comes, at least for me, humility, perhaps a greater awareness of vulnerability. And when I enter the Ascent now I am fairly confident that I will make it to the starting line, while if I entered the roundtrip the training may well do me in, injure me, and come mid August I could be sitting at home sulking, missing out on all the fun come race day(Yes, this did happen to me once or twice--I have lost count!)
I really respect those "rountrip people" allot, don't get me wrong. They have permission to call me a wimp whenever they want, but at this point I am pretty content in this little groove of moderation that I have been in. Every once in a while "one of those doubler people" will tell me I must put the double (ascent and roundtrip races back-to-back) on my bucket list. I respond politely (even though I think they are crazy, but that refreshing kind of crazy) since I believe in never saying never.
Do I ever get bored of this training, you might be thinking, does it get repititious? Believe it or not, no, though I can see why you might think so. Maybe the Colorado winters actually help, because I only have the freedom to train the full Ascent a few months out of the year, free of snow. If I were training those same four hours on the road the time would seemingly stand still and I would be in lots of pain, but when I do those same four hours of training on Pikes Peak (yes, I allow for plenty of hiking) it seems it is over in a blink of an eye. Plus the rest of my life is pretty packed so the mindlessness is welcomed. What else could you wish for?
Good luck in your training, everyone, if you've picked the right event I honestly believe the majority of the time, you, too will experience this feeling of timelessness in your training and racing as you meander along....Next thing you know, if even by mistake, you will be doing some event (or events) 25 times or more and wonder what the heck just happened!