Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pikes Peak Marathon

Sunday August 17, 2008
Woke up at 4:30 a.m. I always like to get up early on race day.
I took a hot shower to wake up. I had a banana and half a bagel
with some peanut butter on it. Drank some Gatorade and water as
well. Gathered all my gear and headed out around 5:45. Drove to
the start line it was about 6/10's of a mile from my hotel.
I could have walked it but the finish line is an additional half
mile down the rode further. It would have been over a mile walk
back to motel after marathon and I figured I would be in no shape
to walk that far. I was right as I will get to later. I got lucky
found a good parking spot near the start. Sat in my car till 6:30.
As I was sitting there I realized I forgot my water bottle that
I was going to carry with me. Too late to go back for it. I got
out of the car and went over to the bag drop and left them my
gear so I would have some dry clothes afterwards. Then I realized
I forgot 2 of my gels in the car. I did not feel like going back to
the car so I did without those 2. I still had 4 with me. I took one
15 minutes before the start. I had 3 left for the run. Normally that
would be fine for me but this is not a 3 hour marathon for me so I
would like to have extra. Standing at the start line I was very
nervous. It was clear sky and you could see the top of Pikes Peak.
It was so far away and it was snow covered. Friday and Saturday it
snowed up on top 2-4 inches. Like this wasn't going to be hard
enough as it was. Not I get to run on snow and ice as well. The
temp. at the start was perfect 50 degrees but I knew that would
change as I climbed up the mountain. The gun went off at 7:00 a.m.
and we were on are way. The first mile is on the street's of Manitou
Springs until you get to Barr Trail. I ran the first mile a little
over 8 minutes. Then as you go to get on the trail it's very steep
and I had to walk up this section so did lots of others. Some would
run but it was using more energy than if you just hike up it. I found
this to be my best option for most of the run up the trail. It was
just to hard to run it in most sections. I was walking faster than
most of the runners that where running it and I wanted to save energy
for above treeline where it was snow covered and cold. Plus I
figured I could save some energy for the descent. Where I could run
the 13 miles down at a fast pace. As you are going up you would have
sections that would be easier than others so I would run when I felt
it was worth the effort and walked the other times. This was not my
strategy going into this race but sometimes you have to make
adjustments and not be stupid and have your ego get in the way. I
thought I would be able to run up the whole way but I didn't know
what thin air would do to me plus running on a treadmill at incline
is nothing like this trail it has rocks, boulders,tree roots, loose
rock and uneven surfaces. At times it was like running up stairs
instead the stairs were rocks. This was my 15Th marathon and I
never had to stop to use restroom but I could not hold it anymore.
I guess I was over hydrated. The weather was fine until I reached
A frame. This is just before you get above treeline. The temperature
then dropped into the low 30's and it started to snow. The last three
miles to the summit are the hardest not because it's the steepest but
because the trail is so rocky and slippery and dangerous. Oh yeah and
not much air either. Made it up to the Summit in 3:18. Not bad
considering I walked most of it. I was probably in around 50th
position out of 800 starters. So now it was time to go down the
mountain and the first 3 miles down was scary. I was slipping and
sliding all over the place and fell twice in those 3 miles. The first
time I slid into a boulder and got a nice bump on my chin. It hurt
but no time for pain I had a race to do. Then about a mile further
down I fell again this time doing the Superman slide face first into
some runners that were on there way up. Luckily no damage just my
pride was hurt this time. So I got up and continued. I was a bit
cautious after that one. I didn't want to go to the ER. Once I got
down below treeline then the rain began and it rained hard. I was
getting soaked and my shoes where getting wet as well. Then it
started thundering and hailing. What's next I thought to myself. I
think I have seen all 4 seasons in one day. I had to relieve myself
again twice in one marathon what's going on? I was running along
and all of a sudden my heel was hurting bad. I thought I had a rock in
my shoe. I continued on but then could not take it anymore. I stopped
took my shoe off and thought where is that rock. Put my shoe back on
and took a few steps and the pain was back again. I did not want to
stop again so I kept running. Now at this point my pace was
slowing every time I landed I was in pain. I dealt with the pain for
a while and stopped again took of the shoe and tried to get rock out
of shoe.Put shoe back on again same thing. I decided to just run and
try to forget about it. I didn't stop again but it was affecting my
running. Runners that I had passed earlier were now flying by me. I
pushed through the pain and finished. This was my goal all along to
finish time was not as important. I would like to have been able to
run the descent faster but what can I do. I did my best that's all that
matters. After crossing the finish line in 5:33:54 73 overall I grabbed
some drink and food. I got my gear and sat down and took off my sock so
I could see what was going on with my heel. Where is that rock I
thought. As it turned out it was not a rock poking me it was a bad
blister It was not pretty. I had a huge blister it covered most of my
heel. I went over to the medical tent to get some help. First time in
15 marathons I needed help afterwards. The guy looked at it and said
he needs to lance the blister. So he grabbed a pair of scissors and
cut it off and then bandaged it up. My other heel hurt as well but the
blister was smaller and not torn open so we left it alone. I guess my
socks got wet and the friction from running downhill caused the problem.
I put body glide on my toes so I would not have problems but didn't
think to put it on my heels. I have never had this happened before.
Lesson learned I guess for next time. I still had the half mile walk
back to my car so I walked on my toes the whole way back to the car.
It took forever to get there. This was a great experience for me and
I will never forget it. As of today I don't know if I will do this one
again. I would say probably not but you never know. I would recommend
this race to others just be prepared it's like nothing else you will
ever do. Today I am still very sore my calves are killing me. My quads
are not that bad though. Heel still sore to walk on. The pain is only
temporary but the memories are forever.


GZ said...

Well, for what it is worth ... that was very tough weather. Worst weather I have seen in August in a very long time. It was 85 here today while on Saturday it was 55.

Well done. This is one tough hill.

C Brad Poppele said...

Hey hang nine,
Sorry I didn't get to meet up with you. I was at the pasta dinner but I didn't see you. Great job on the double.