Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pikes Peak Ascent

We're watching Olympics swimming, so this may be brief :)

The weather here isn't optimal, but it has been good for gear/clothing testing. We started in the rain this morning, wearing tights, long sleeve poly pro tops, and Go Lite jackets. Before we hit the trail (about a mile into the race) I had to get that jacket off - too hot! I also stashed my Buff and light gloves in my waist pack but put everything back on further up the mountain.

It was beautiful weather for the first two thirds of the course. Light rain that eventually stopped, nice and cool, slight wind. Great for moving fast, and we both felt great. Passing people, enjoying ourselves, enjoying the race even though there were no views (too much low cloud cover).

Above tree line John found that it was windy and quite cold (I heard 26 degrees and hail at the top) but he wasn't overly freezing. He had an awesome finish, breaking 3 hours by a couple minutes, ending up 2nd in his age group (after they took out the top 10 and the masters winners)!

As I approached 3-miles-to-go there was a flash and a big thunder "boom!" and I knew that couldn't be good. Perhaps 10-15 minutes out from the A-Frame aid station we met runners going back down saying that the summit was now closed (turning people around at that aid station). Bummer! Well, I hadn't held anything back and I was on pace to smash my previous time, so I can't feel back about not doing everything I could to get there in time.

So I made it to A-Frame on pace for a 4-hour climb. Who knows what could have happening after that.

A whole gaggle of runners joined me in starting back down the way we had come up. What a mess, slow going, traffic jam trying to get down the rocky trail with a few people still coming up to get as far as they could themselves. When I broke through that at Barr Camp I started running and then realized that I have another race tomorrow. My ascent was officially over, so I took it easy on the 10 miles back down.

I ran 20 miles today, with some unexpected downhill. Luckily we have been training for multiple days of running up AND downhill.

Now I have a new goal for tomorrow - to beat all "doublers" (people doing both the ascent and marathon) who were turned around today - I'll let you know if I'm able to accomplish that or even figure it out from whatever gets posted eventually for results!
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