Whenever I sign up for new race distances or athletic endeavors, I always envision feeling far more "ready" when race day/week/month actually arrives. The time between signing up and executing stretches on forever, week upon week of mythical training runs cascading into the future, after which I will arrive in a different place than where I started.
I guess I should have figured the Pikes Peak Marathon would be no different, and I would once again feel like I will be winging it. I've done all I can do at this point, and I'm going to have to trust that it was enough. "The hay is in the barn," and all that.
The Attack Pack, inspired to help one member train for the Leadville 100 a few years back, started incorporating a night run into the summer schedule. It's usually around Rampart Reservoir, but after the Waldo Canyon Fire, we had to pick a Plan B for August 3. The Falcon Trail on the AFA is of a similar length, and with military IDs from some of our members, we were allowed on base at night.
Of course I ignored all the "check the batteries in your headlamp" suggestions helpfully posted to the group's email list, so my light was a little dimmer than would have been ideal, but that forced me to keep pace with the front of the pack for most of the 14 mile run. There was a lot of starting and stopping to keep everyone together, which hurt by the end, but made the parking lot beer taste even better. More pictures here.
I rested all day on the 4th, feeling a little beat up from the previous night's run, then on the 5th I drove to Elk Park with a couple of group members for a final workout to the summit. I was able to keep a really steady pace above treeline, and I crushed my time from Father's Day. That erased a lot of the doubts I was struggling with the previous week. So something is going right.
This past weekend I accomplished the oh-so-important Sea Level aspect of training, visiting North Carolina for a wedding. I guess I will get some last-ditch altitude exposure when I pick my friend Mike up at the top after the Ascent.
Get some sleep, everybody. Six days!
Me (not in running clothes, for a change) and my friend Pranita from high school at her wedding.