Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pike's Peak Ascent, Colorado Springs - August 20, 2011

Chris signed me up for this race last year. I was a little hesitant, but then I thought, what the heck!

On August 19th we got up at 3:00 am (what is with these early mornings and races?!) to go to the airport to catch a flight from Toronto to New York, then a flight from New York to Dallas, then from Dallas to Colorado Springs.  It was a long day.  Chris' mom came with us, we decided to make it a family vacation.  We were going to run our races on August 20/21, then tour around and see some of the sights.

We finally got to Colorado Springs, picked up our rental car at the airport.  Drove to our hotel, checked in.  Then we drove over to the race site so that we could pick up our stuff and see what kind of expo they had.  We found it no problem.  It was weird, we were at 6,000 feet or so, could already feel the altitude change a little, just felt kinda tired... then again, we had been up since 3:00 am.

We got to the expo, not really much there.  Looked up at the mountain... oh... my... god... what was I thinking?  It looked really high!

We went back to the room.  There was a restaurant across the street from our hotel, so we went there to have some dinner.  It was pretty good.  Went to sleep.  I was very nervous about this race.

When we got up, I started getting ready.  I was the only one running on this day, from our little group that is, because Chris' race, the marathon, was the next day.  I started to panic and feel very overwhelmed.  I was very nervous because I had an injury in the spring and didn't get as much training as I thought was necessary.  I had no idea what to expect.  I was just hoping for the best.

We got to the race.  We had lots of time, so we were standing around talking with other people.  Okay, time to line up.  Someone sang America the Beautiful (at least I think that's what it's called), it was very nice.  The gun goes off, away I go.

The first bit of the race was on the street, which was slightly uphill.  We then got to a really steep part of the road, already?  There was an aid station there and immediately after the aid station, there was a major jam, it went from road to single track, so of course everyone is trying to get in front of everyone else, because there was single track switch backs for the next few miles.  It was slow going, mostly walking, with some stopping.  People were still trying to pass others... really?  There is no room to pass!  It was kind of annoying, but what can you do.  Up and up and up we went.  Will I ever be able to run?  I thought, at this rate, I'm not going to make the cut off.  Then someone said, don't worry, you'll make it... I guess I said it out loud.

Finally there were some runnable parts.  I ran a little, then it was steep up hill again.  Man, this was nuts.  It was nearing 3 hours (that's the first cut off time).  I could hear all the announcing at Barr Camp, I was close... maybe I'll make it after all.  We kept going and going and going, still no Barr Camp... where the hell is it?  I was going as fast as my body possibly could.  I was starting to feel the altitude already, kind of dizzy, feeling short of breath... plus it was really hot.

Finally, I made it to Barr Camp, the guy there told me unfortunately, you did not make the cut off time.  I started crying... such a baby!  Then the woman standing there felt bad for me and said, well if it's any consolation, you only missed it by 2 minutes... I laughed and said, no that did not make me feel better.  Now what do I do?  The guy told me, well, you can keep going if you want, but you risk not catching the bus to come back down.  No, don't really want to do that.  So they said you have to walk back down.  This was really going to suck.  I had to let Chris know that I didn't make the cut off.

A couple of the volunteers offered their cell phones to me (Chris had mine), but there was no reception.  So, I just decided I might as well start walking.  I was kind of upset.  I should have known this would happen because I didn't get all the training in that I should have.  So frustrating!!  I was worried that Chris would be disappointed in me, which he wasn't, he was happy that I at least gave it a shot!  I ended up catching up with Michelle, this woman that I was kind of running with, and we walked down together.  At least I wasn't alone in my misery.  She said that this was the second time she had tried this race... no more, she was done!  We finally came to the bottom where the trail meets the street.  Now I have to somehow find Chris.  As I was walking down the street, there he was in front of me.  As soon as I saw him, I immediately started crying again and said I didn't make the cut off.  The poor guy, had to put up with all my blubbering.  Then I went inside and had a buffalo burger.

So, to make a long story short, this is my first DNF.  It really sucked!  I don't really have much else to say, except that I didn't have a very good experience and feel kind of bummed out.

Chris ran the marathon the next day, he did great!!  His mom was totally caught up in all the runners finishing.

After Chris' race, we packed up our stuff and started our vacation road trip.  We basically went to Yellowstone National Park and then drove around Wyoming and South Dakota.  The rest of the trip was awesome!!


  1. So sorry you missed the cut off and so close. You gave it your best and that's all any of us can do. At least you started...more than most of us can do! WTG

  2. Sucks you didn't make it, but I'm sure you still had a good time!

  3. You did great. The heel injury really didnt allow you to get in the kind of training that we had hoped for.
    I was so proud of you for toeing the line and trying to make it despite this.
    And yes the mountain was really big. You will get it next time. This is a really tough race.

    PS .. it really wasnt that much blubbering :-)

  4. Sorry about your DNF - unfortunately you picked the hardest 13 miles to run around here :) There are many miles of sweet trails if you ever decide to come back!

  5. Hi Kim! I got here from Chris's blog. So sorry about your DNF. If you want to do this again next year, I'll go with you! It's on my list and I've decided next year is the year.

    It IS high, isn't it? I ran a half there in July and looked up at it.....whoa.....

  6. You made a great effort. When I dnf'd in August 2010, I bawled my eyes out. You will learn a lot from your dnf and for that it will be worth it. :) A friend told me that dnf means "did nothing fatal."