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I have finally run to the top of Pikes Peak. It was a beautiful Colorado day, a day I have most officially named, The Day of the Marmot. Our furry, mountain friends were my constant companions during the last three miles of the run, cheering me on from the edge of the trail. Here is one of my kind and fearless amigos:

I should note that I didn’t run from the bottom of the mountain to the top. Matt and I ran in on the Elk Park trail, which dumps out at Barr Camp. We ran to the top from there. Here is an awesome photo of a lovely, alpine bridge on the Elk Park trail.

I ran well the first three miles from Barr Camp to the A-Frame, almost keeping up with Matt. I felt strong and relished the slight humidity, the quiet, and the many memories of the trail. Here is a great photo from the A-Frame.  That's Matt trying to get ahead of me.

From here things didn’t go so well. I ran the first mile at a 20-minute pace, doing my best to swing my arms and keep my legs moving. But as the second mile began, the lack of oxygen made itself known to my legs, who were yelling at me to stop. Thankfully, the marmots continued to push me along, with their cheerful chirping. I’m pretty sure I saw one clapping for me too.

The last mile was the worst. I clocked a 26-minute mile. Honestly, I should be able to crawl that fast. How can it possibly take me so long to walk ONE mile? The mile was made worse by the fact that I didn’t see many of my marmot friends, who obviously know that no normal mammal should ever venture above 13,000ft.

And here I am at the top. If you look closely, you can see a rain shower in the background.  Breathtaking.  I should note here that Matt kept telling me to smile, but this is all I had to give.  A grimace.

But I'll be back next week--and I'll do my best to find a slight smile for the top of Pikes Peak--because it deserves that and so much more, for being such an amazing and beautiful playground.

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Comment by Bill Beagle on July 28, 2014 at 9:53pm

ummm, how could it take you that long to do a mile?  ummm, maybe because you're at 13 and 14,000 feet? Are you trying to make me feel bad after I was reveling in my 27 minute mile from A-Frame to 2-mile mark last week…and THAT after only coming down from the top, NOT from running in from Elk Park. Yes, I dare say marmots probably are smarter than us for not venturing as high. Good job Jilly.

Comment by Gene Chavez on July 27, 2014 at 9:10pm

Looking good Jill.  Any time you reach the top it is a great feeling and accomplishment.

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