I was pretty sure I wouldn’t enter this year. I am slowing down allot at age 55 and that second race is pretty intimidating now that it’s a half marathon, but I was in need of some good “trail therapy”by the time i decided to enter the Pikes Peak Ascent. After entering the Ascent, i realized I was also in serious need of a few interim goals along the way to keep me on track, so here I am in the Triple Crown of Running once again.!
Often, I think we do find ourselves so entrenched in our day-day routines of work, family obligations, and basic routines,that we just need something to snap us out of the mundane, put a little “spring” back into that stride and into life!
For me, this feeling hits in the summertime after sort of hibernating much of the winter and spring!
the catch is I “hibernated “a little too extensively this year, I doubt I ever ran more than 10-15 miles a week all year, so, now, due to no one else’s fault other than my own, I have to execute a race plan with that 2.5 hour cut off time as my goal. I hope to be closer to 2 hours, but have to be realistic!
I , like many of us this weekend, will be looking at cut off times and knowing those minimal paces needed, so at least there will be company for all of us “bringing up the rear.” last year, I was under 2 hours and many of the folks in this pack where stopping to “smell the roses,” pausing for pictures, etc, so this is a fun place to be. You still have to be in decent shape, you can’t just get up off the couch and accomplish this, it’s something to be proud of! In the first race, Garden of Gods 10miler, this likely means power walking or granny gear jogging the uphills and then aiming to have a more fluid stride on the downhills ,walking through the water spots, and building in a little” buffer” time. Since the cut off is 2 and a half hours, or a 15 minute per mile pace, 13-14 minute miles should suffice nicely to ensure an “official” finish and a nice finishers medal!
So far, after going into this challenge after a year of only running(jogging?) about 3 times a week( often with my husband or son, i leave a few minutes before them and they chase me down on a 3-4 mile route)i’m having a blast! I’ve introduced a few longer hike and jog adventures into my routine and hope that helps me out come Sunday.
I think the nicest thing about reintroducing these longer hike/ jogs back into my routine has been getting back on pikes peak and reconnecting with old friends( like J’ne from Denver, who i’ve been meeting on the Peak regularly for over 25 years!) and making new friends as well, like Alex, who I see regularly at my YMCA workplace, but finally we’ve connected to explore trails. This is the story every year, meeting new people and reconnecting with existing friends who I may not make the time for without this common goal of getting more fit!
On our lastest longer jaunts, we focused on visiting places that may be difficult to do now that the pikes peak highway is no longer open to vehicles other than the shuttle service, such as Mount View and also going on to Elk Park to get a ride down.
My mid age knees and lower back don’t love the downhill running the way they once did, so i now lean toward bottom to top endeavors with rides down. in fact , i hope this years Ascent can be faster than what I did the Roundtrip in as a twenty- something, when i used to matter of factly rationalize that “I may as well run “down the mountain because it was faster than getting that ride down! times have sure changed, literally and figuratively!
We will see, but, meanwhile, let’s get through this Sunday first! one mile at a time! Good luck to everyone!