After an amazing weekend at Teacher Training... Monday called for a long run. Amber and I headed up to the Pikes Peak hwy at 7:15am with a plan of doing Elk Park (about half way up the highway) to Barr Camp (5.5mi) and then Barr Camp to the Summit (6mi) for some altitude training. Elk Park is definitely in my top 5 Colorado trails. Love it, period.
Once at Barr Camp, we knew we were in for a hawl to the top. I've only been to the top of Pikes Peak one time...two years ago doing the same Elk Park to the top workout. Surely I'm in better shape now, right? It sure didn't feel like it the first 20 minutes of slow-step, grandma-pace jogging. One more toe-grabber miss-step and I was going to scream. Well, I did actually, and a big ol' F-bomb came screeching out. Amber turned around and said "That isn't the I-hurt-myself-yell/cry". She was right, that was the I'm-pissed off-why am I doing this-I'm slow & never going to get there-scream. After a few short breaths, I informed Amber that we best get-a truckin' before the tears came. At this point, it really didn't help that Snuffalupagus (sp?- Amber's nick name for D-bag/I-have to catch up & pass those girls-but not going to say anything- clumsy guy we passed just above Barr Camp) came a strolling up on my heals. Big, fat, arg. Amber paused as we needed to allow some space between Snuffs and ourselves...I could feel Amber's blood boiling.
After my mini-melt down, we collected ourselves and continued to try and find our happy place as we made our way up. After tree-line, we knew we had hit the point where every mile would feel like eternity. Shortly after this, we ran into this couple, this guy was very inspiring and was exactly the break we needed. Ashely Nelson was also up there kicking butt and taking names (doing the dreadful 3-2-1 workout from the top)...and also making my hike up seem more like the stroll of a blind turtle stuck in mud.
I honestly don't remember much of the last 2 miles other than my head feeling loopy, just wanting to be done, hoping I didn't just step off the side into oblivion, and realizing why the top 10 finishers are usually the only ones running at this stage in the actual race.
Once at the top, I swear everyone (by this I mean tourists off the cog) was moving at a snails pace (or my pace the last few miles) wherever they were going in the Summit House. Seriously folks, I know there's lots of stimuli up there, but come on! I ran into a teacher of mine from middle school: Ms. Breece...as well as a former classmate April. Ms. Breece looked like she was having so much fun, and we got to visit with her while she was on her break. I don't know if I was a chatter box at this point...but there were some laughs.
All of a sudden, Amber and I were ready to be off that mountain. So, we headed to the parking lot to begin looking for a ride back down. It didn't take long, as the first car we waved at stopped and let us in. It was two women traveling from Oklahoma...all I really remember was: hoping they would offer us some white chocolate covered pretzels located in the back seat with us (which they didn't), them wondering why in the heck people race up this thing, and then sharing with us how hot it was in Oklahoma. Good times.
The ladies dropped us off back at the Jetta located at Elk Park...here, we so conveniently ran into Sean, who happened to have his camera- thanks Sean! We are only smiling because we are donezo. Friends: note Amber's Carmex in her super cute arm sleeves (yes, from CRC)...see, I'm not the only one with a chapstick/lip issue while running!
As nausea set in on the way back into town, we knew we were beyond starving, and we had to FIND FOOD NOW. To Great Harvest we went...love me a huge sandwich! As we decided what we wanted to eat, while shoving free bread slices into our mouths, Amber apologized to the worker, "I'm sorry, I know you are asking me questions right now, but we just came off the mountain and I'm having major problems trying to give you answers." I was dying laughing. GH girl didn't seem so enthused. We did make a decision, and felt much more human after a little food to the brain.
I can laugh about this whole experience now...but why is it when you're in the moment, it feels so dang dramatic and that the world is ending? Thank you Pikes Peak. Thank you Amber, for putting up with me and seeing me through it!
6 hours ago