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Are there really only eight weeks until the Pikes Peak Ascent?

Somewhere along the way, I added a week in my mind, so I had a minor freakout earlier this week when I realized I'd been counting wrong!

I'd been feeling pretty confident about my training, but after learning I'd lost a week, I began panicking that I wasn't doing enough.  Thoughts turned to: I didn't start Ascent training early enough (an injury late last summer followed by a minor medical procedure put me on an anti-gravity treadmill until winter...a slight addiction to said anti-gravity treadmill because it's the most amazing thing ever then continued to keep me off the roads/trails until nearly spring)! I haven't gotten true high altitude training yet!  I'm concentrating too much on hill tempo runs and not doing enough long runs!  Worry after worry after worry.

So consider this my companion piece to my fellow my fellow Mighty Marmot's last blog post

"I am NOT ready for the Pikes Peak Ascent -- OMG, the Sequel!"


My goal is top 10 in the Ascent.  I really feel like I have it in me with the proper training (hopefully this is not an inflated belief in myself!).  But now I'm in second-guess mode, looking back at the last few months and worrying that I'm doing it all wrong!  I think the main thing I'm concerned about is just that I didn't start my Ascent training early enough.  I had all these plans last year after tendonitis sidelined me from the Ascent to start my training for it over the winter.  But as I wrote above, next thing you know, I wasn't peeling myself away from my beloved Alter G until March.  My husband, an Army reservist, is deployed right now, and that's been a blow to my getting high altitude runs.  He's a mountain biker, and we usually spend late spring, summer and fall traveling together to mountain towns to run and ride.  Without him here, it's been harder getting away because those long trips aren't as fun driving by yourself.  Worry after worry after worry.

Vail isn't as much fun alone.

I think part of my problem is I'm a perfectionist with my running.  I always want to be at my best when I compete, and I sometimes put way too much stress on myself to be so.  That was why I think the Garden of the Gods 10 miler was a great thing for me.  I made the decision in March to focus solely on the Ascent due to the time squeeze, knowing it would be at the detriment of the Garden and Summer Roundup races.  In years past, I may have avoided those races completely because I wasn't ready.  Instead, I took the Garden as a fun run.  I decided I'd see how I felt on the first mile, and if the speed wasn't there that day, I'd just chill and enjoy a 10-mile run instead of a 10-mile race.  I didn't worry about where I lined up that day, instead wrapping up my restroom run with three minutes to go.  I even ran holding my keys (pure training run mode).  I didn't realize it at the time, but I was running with a stomach bug, so by the end of the first mile I felt HOT.  I thought I was badly acclimated to the heat at the time, but I think I was feverish since I would end up being sick a few hours later.  Combined with a minor flareup in the knee I had surgery on a few years ago, and I decided it was definitely a fun run day.  And it was.  It was a slow time for me, but it was a blast.  I wouldn't want to run every race like that because I do enjoy trying to run fast, but on that day, it was a nice change to just enjoy the camaraderie with my fellow runners and not care what the numbers on my watch said!

My point: I need to teach my brain to not stress so much about how I'm going to do in the Ascent!  It's not like I'm going to have to turn in my Mighty Marmot jersey if I don't achieve my goal, haha!  It's a tough race.  It's my first time.  If I don't do as well as I'd like to, it'll still be exciting to finally check this one off my bucket list!  I got a thrill just from reporting on it a few years ago...now I'll actually be a part of it!  And if I don't do as well as I'd like, I'll learn what to do better for next year! 

And of course, if I do achieve my goal...few things are better than the feeling you get after a race well run! 

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