That mountain can be as unforgiving as it is beautiful. Anything that can make its own weather, on a moments notice, to include snow in August, deserves our respect. Maybe because I see Pikes Peak every day, I somehow think it a trusted and old friend.
But it's not.
It's a force; a powerful and mighty foe, that is almost deserving of our worship, kind of like Mordor, I suppose.
I had my last long-ish training run on 'the mountain' this past Wednesday afternoon. I ran from Memorial Park to Barr Camp, and between the heat, humidity, pouring rain, stormwater flows, ruts in the trail, and the occasional worrisome thunder, I was reminded of my mortality and my love/hate relationship, with this feisty friend.
We live in its shadow, which is a fine reminder of its grandness, its power, and its ability to toss me aside, with a laughing pebble slide, despite my careful and fairly intense training.
My husband ran the Ascent in 2008, when they closed the race and turned runners back down the mountain at the A-Frame. These runners had run 9 miles, in freezing temperatures, only to be told they couldn't finish, and yes, they must now run those 9 miles back down the mountain.
This memory could repeat itself next Saturday. Is it likely? Not really. But this memory plays a game in my head, and the mountain encourages my worry, as it throws rain down on itself on an otherwise beautiful day, and taunts me while I slip and slide down the trail.
Only one more week until I meet the mountain again for our final battle. Until then, I'm done 'putting hay in the barn', and will enjoy a train trip with my family to Lake Tahoe.
But the mountain knows I'm thinking about it. And it looks forward to the ecstasy and defeat of the many runners who will test their will against its awesome power.
Good luck to all of us. We are amazing and fearless athletes, and together we are strong and together we will persevere.