Pikes Peak Ascent reflection…..I’m typing this blog while the Pikes Peak Marathoner’s are preparing for their tough race and I just literally cannot even imagine turning around yesterday and running DOWN the way they all will today!!!!
I had a great race yesterday I would say. I was shooting to break 4 hours. I would say my biggest stress leading up to the race was that crazy drive down pikes peak which ended up being a non-issue thanks to a very great surprise from my friends, Frankie and Heather who surprised me on top with a sign with my name and then drove us down without me even having time to worry. Having unexpected cheerleaders on top of Pikes Peak was such a warm welcome to the end of the race!
The weather was also another major concern as I carried more clothes than needed, as the forecast was calling for rain. Thankfully the weather turned out to be the absolute most perfect running weather.
The first 10 miles seemed to click off rather quickly. I felt strong. I ran more than I planned and passed more folks than I thought possible. I gained strength from the great volunteers along the way and I promise to return as a volunteer as their encouragement was priceless. My friend Warren cheered for Dave and me at the start looking 100% recovered from his mountain bike 100 mile at Leadville last weekend and our friends Susie and Amy surprised us at the top of Ruxton which gave me a boost. Phil and Denise who volunteer at lots of races were at the first aide station and a high five from Phil sent me running up Barr. I could hear the cheers about a mile from Barr and was looking forward to seeing Anna with her big smile and energy made me feel even stronger heading up the second half. I was on target with my nutrition and drinking, which is often where I struggle. Dave said, “Whatever you do you must eat every 45 minutes and drink Gatorade at every aide station and of course drink drink drink.”
I don’t wear a fancy watch and really don’t know the course that well, but I would say when I hit A frame I was on target for my 4 hour goal. Then I rounded the corner and hit tree line. It seemed like I was on another planet. Not only did the terrain change abruptly but so did how I was feeling. I almost instantly felt like I had just had a glass of wine on an empty stomach. I looked at my watch and had an hour and 8 minute (I think) to travel just 3 more miles. Surely I could plan on 20 minutes a mile – couldn’t I? When I hit the sign that said 2 miles to go I think I had used 22 minutes or so and I was telling myself I could increase my pace and make up that time. BUT – I was feeling more and more lightheaded/dizzy/even stumbley at times – up to 2 glasses of wine, which is a lot for me. When I hit the aide station 1.5 miles from the top those great volunteers asked me what I needed and it was even kinda hard to hear what they were asking. My right ear had been plugged up since Barr. When I hit the one mile to go sign I did not look at my watch, as I really knew I couldn’t likely process the time, meaning do the math, and it didn’t matter. I knew I had likely the greatest race I could have had and I had to feel good about it regardless of where the time fell. The 16 golden steps were really tough. I was tripping, gripping the big rocks trying not to fall over. As I came around the corner I saw a sign with my name and my friends, Frankie and Heather, which really perked me up as the feeling of wine/lightheaded/dizzy was making me feel pretty flat. Then to boot I heard a group of folks saying way to go Marmot, which really woke me up. It was so great being a part of this Marmot Pikes Peak Sports team and hearing the cheers all day, “Way to go Marmot!” They boosted me to kinda run across the finish line at 4:08! I did not hit my goal, but came close and really do feel good about my time. However, 4:07 would have been nice, since I will turn 47 next week! It has really been great to be part of the Pikes Peak Sports Marmot family this season. Thank you Tim for selecting me. Once a Marmot always a Marmot!