It occurred to me the other day that one of the real benefits of being on a “team” is the motivation it provides. Since we’re not competing as a team for any particular award there is really no pressure or concern about letting your teammates down. The motivation comes from just knowing other people that are pursuing similar goals of running and finishing races, challenging themselves, striving for PR’s. This was a benefit I hadn’t really considered when I applied to be on the PikesPeakSports.us Triple Crown Runners. I suspect we all had different reasons for applying. Sharon has talked about the sense of community among runners and this is very true. Being on a team also provides camaraderie and support for your individual effort and in that regard this team has been great.
So the good news is that teammates provide motivation. The bad news is that teammates provide motivation as it was Sharon who suggested we run Pikes Peak on Fathers’ Day and catch a ride down with her and her Dad. So I rise at 4:30 a.m. on “my day,” when I should have been allowed to sleep in, be fed breakfast in bed and had my feet massaged. Instead I’m pounding my poor dogs up the Barr Trail in the early morning light of a spectacular Colorado day. Knowing there would be no aid stations (what’s with that? C’mon, it’s Dad’s Day!) I took plenty of liquid with me. Early on, 2-3 miles in, despite all the training, my legs are noticing the significant increase in the amount of weight I would normally carry on a run. I finished just under 6 hours (including breaks for snacks and water).
Sharon, who started nearly two hours behind me, finished just about 15 minutes after I did. Don passed me on the way up and finished in 3:22, chagrined that he was 9 seconds off his all time best. I suspect he’ll get his PR during the actual Ascent. Katie had parked at Elk Park and ran from there or did she hitch a ride up the highway...hmm?. Just kidding. I have to accept my position in life as a slogger, marveling at the people jogging by me at treeline and above and also those doing the 3-2-1 training. In the interest of full disclosure I walked all the way from Barr Camp. Now I was carrying a full camelback, a 16-ounce bottle of Gatorade and snacks that I won’t be carrying on Ascent day. That’s my excuse for now and I’m sticking with it. That and trying to breathe on the upper part of the trail frequently swarmed by...what? what are they, gnats? What’s with the gnats...or whatever they are. Come on! It’s difficult enough just trying to breathe at elevation without inhaling a bunch of bugs at the same time. If you’re in the kind of shape where you can just breathe through your nose while keeping your mouth shut, fine but please, tell me these flying annoyances will be gone by August. Or should I run with some mosquito netting over my mouth? Other than being bugged it was an absolutely spectacular day to ascend the peak. Blazing sunshine but a consistent, cool breeze that made it feel like 55-60 degrees all the way to the top. Thanks Sharon for providing the impetus! Pictured in the photo: Katie, Sharon, Sharon's Dad Phil, Donut Don and the Old Dog