Some guides like to try and climb four routes on the Diamond in a day, some like to spend time pulling weeds in the garden, some like to hang with the family and some like to spend their free days watching back to back Glee episodes (your secret is safe with me). I, on the other hand, have been spending my time running: running before guiding, running after guiding and running on my days off. I have almost became Forrest Gump…and I just kept on running.
Why running? It is what I did as a kid, it is what I did through high school, and at times, it is as fun for me as climbing and skiing. I had days this year, while running above treeline, through a sea of wildflowers, when I really felt the amazing freedom running allows.
This was also the year I made an error in judgement on a particularly quiet ski patrol shift, and decided that running a half marathon starting at 6,300′ and finishing at 14,110′ was a good idea…at least I have the sense to quit at the top and not run back down. Yes, the Pikes Peak ascent is 13.32 miles and 7,815′ of elevation gain (well over 1 mile).
The idea was born back as a 15 year old when I visited Colorado with my family. Our first day we went up Pikes Peak and when I discovered there was a race to the top, I immediately wanted to run the peak – my parents compromised and let me run the last half mile!
Thus, for the last ten weeks I have been running, running, running! Setting the treadmill to 14% and running for an hour…finishing a mountain day and running 8 miles at Lumpy Ridge…finishing a half day and running up Longs Peak.
Hopefully I have suffered enough in training that my run up Pikes will be enjoyable. My goal is not time based – I just want to feel good enough at the top that I can run the last few switchbacks without vomiting…and to recreate this photo only with slightly longer shorts on.
AMGA Certified Rock Guide