This morning I went on my last run before the Pikes Peak Ascent on Saturday. I kept it short (3.5 miles) and somewhat hilly but not technical. My legs are feeling pretty good, and I'm trying to get as much rest as I can and drink lots of water.
Training the last few weeks has mostly consisted of consistent hilly runs, anywhere from 4 to 9 miles. I also hiked the Devil's Playground trail a few weeks ago, not quite a summit but close. That's a laughable amount of time at altitude compared to what everyone else I know is doing, but it is what it is.
This week, after months of runs that were a struggle from beginning to end, I finally started feeling a little more like normal on the trails. I wish it had come a lot sooner but I'll take it! As frustrated as I've been with losing most of the fitness I had at the beginning of this year, I've also reflected this week on how that's outweighed by the positive fact that my injured knee is completely healed. That wouldn't have happened if I'd taken less time off of running, started back too hard, or hadn't rested as much as I have. Maybe I could've kept some of my cardio endurance if I hadn't followed PT orders so carefully, but I'd probably still have an aggravated knee. So many injuries can linger and fester in the background for years, so if that's not going to be the case with me I have a lot to be thankful for. Even if it means I have to be a slow plodder for awhile yet!
I am also trying to come to terms with the fact that summer races are not going to be my best, at least as long as I have my current schedule. I average only 1 full day off work per week during the summer, and that makes it really difficult to spend a lot of time on top of the Peak or have other summer mountain adventures which assist in altitude training. That is, unless I am willing to sacrifice a lot of other things that are equally or more important to me, and I'm not. So spring, fall, and winter adventures are going to be more my jam for awhile. Does that mean I'll keep Ascent-ing? Probably. But will I ever be a 3:30 Ascent-er? Probably not. :-) And that's okay.
Anyway, I'm excited for this weekend and hopefully I'll see you at the top!