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By Jen Shotwell
PikesPeakSports.us Triple Crown Runners race team

My hubby and I have different approaches for preparing for the Triple Crown of Running race events.

Mine involves running and the many activities I participate in during my work week at the YMCA. His involves two wheels. That’s it for the most part…and it has served him well. I’ve entered several road races for speed training as part of my conditioning plan, I’ve always asked Chris if he would like to partake, but he respectfully declines and plans a bicycle/motorcycle centric activity.

Never have we participated in any kind of competitive event together, Chris dutifully participates in cyclocross racing every fall and I just started to enter triathlons and running races ... a year ago I never would have guessed that we would  be jointly running the Triple Crown events.

Living where we do, the idea of racing to the top of Pikes Peak has always been one those activities that we’ve felt compelled to do, if we live here, we should do this. I had an easy in by qualifying under the prescribed time during a half marathon last summer, Chris had no option other than by committing to the Triple Crown.

Being total newbies at this sport, every event turns out to be a “personal best” and we’ve enjoyed our together time by running the Jack Quinn’s Running Club 5k every Tuesday night.  It has been the one common “training” thing we do enjoy with any regularity.

The Summer Roundup was a fun race for the both of us. Chris showed his amazing hill climbing ability and lung capacity to finish in 1 hour, 11 minutes. I finished a little better than time I set for myself….but didn’t feel like I put in my best effort.  I thoroughly enjoyed the race and felt truly in the moment taking in all the sounds, smells (thanks to the humidity), camaraderie with other runners on the uphill, and sights especially on the downhill thru Bear Creek Park.

But what made the day really special was the race recap with my husband over brunch at our favorite restaurant after the race. The shared experience is sweet, the good stuff.  To cheer each other on at the turn-around and the finish line, these moments are the highlights of my summer.

So now the preparation intensifies as the date of the Pikes Peak Ascent draws near.  We have become true weekend warriors upping the ante to include more challenging hill climbs on foot and mountain bikes sometimes together, sometimes with friends or solo.
Whatever the outcome of the Ascent,  chances are Chris will be ahead of me somewhere up the trail, just knowing he is there and cheering me on at the finish line will really help me endure the most challenging race I’ve ever attempted.   And yes we will celebrate over brunch together sharing the experiences of the day.

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