Thursday, 22 August, 2002

Pike's Peak Marathon

20 years ago today, I ran the Pike's Peak Marathon.  That is by far the most physically challenging thing I have ever done.  Starting in Manitou Springs, you travel 13.9 miles up the mountain; first on a pretty decent 4-wheel-drive road, and then a mule trail that winds its way across the mountain and up.  The elevation of the starting line is about 7,500 feet.  The peak itself tops out at 14,110.  The last three miles of the climb are above timberline, with an average rise of 1,000 feet per mile.  It took me three hours and 45 minutes to get to the top of the mountain.  The 14.1 miles back down the mountain weren't a whole lot easier.  I slipped and fell several times on the way back down the first three miles, and after that the steep grades made me backpedal to keep from going too fast and falling over.  I finished the last 10 miles in a mental fog.  Even 20 years ago, I remembered very little of the descent.  Other than my falls, I have two very distinct memories:  the woman with whom I shared most of the last 5 miles, and the spectators all along the last mile to the finish yelling "It's just around the next corner!"  By the time I finally turned a corner and saw the finish line, I wasn't entirely sure it was real.  I was completely exhausted after a little over 6 hours of running.

Where were you 20 years ago?

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the answer is 2.5 pounds per year.  I'm trying to get that down to about 1.5, but it's a tough go.