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This year marks the 6th time I've run/crawled/hiked up Pikes Peak for fun. The infamous 4 hour wall was missed by a little over a minute. It seems like the times I've been close (4:01:08 this year, 4:01:18  two years ago), it was partially a result of really bad leg cramps. I went out pretty fast as I got bogged down in the W's last year while attempting to hold back and save some for the top which I didn't think worked for me. This year my splits to top of W's, No-name and Barr Camp were some of my best splits so far. Perhaps I went out too fast?I haven't figured out any secret recipe to preventing leg cramps so I'm open to suggestions. I've heard pickle juice (haven't brought myself to try it yet), Endurolytes, salt tabs, Tums, and hitting the weights with the legs. The one thing I haven't put enough effort into is hardcore lower-body strength training. Since it will soon be the off-season and the Incline is closed, maybe I'll become a gym-rat.

Despite my several failed attempts at breaking four hours to summit Pikes Peak, I will keep coming back to try again. There is a twisted allure to racing to the top of Pikes Peak with 800 other crazies. On my previous blog-post I said I would be heading down to the Crags and back up to punish myself for not breaking 4 hours. After getting to the summit with legs locked up with cramps, I got an IV which helped somewhat. I was able to move around but my mother and comrades wouldn't let me go down for some more fun. I got a little over-zealous with my plans. I don't think there is really anything that can prepare you for this beast of a race. It is hard. Period. 

Regardless of finishing time, I am honored to be a part of the 2014 Pikes Peak Sports Triple Crown of Running Team. This legendary team, now with the unofficial mascot "mighty marmots", took home some hardware and dominated the field this year.  I've made some amazing friends through this experience and have enjoyed sharing my joys and setbacks in running and exploring the mountains with my fellow purple and gold brethren and our fan-base ;) As a result of networking, I am now also an honorary member of BRT. I found out I must provide ample supplies of adult beverages if I follow through with running this 50k I signed up for awhile back as BRT frowns upon running anything over half-marathons. 

Thank you to Tim Bergsten, Ron Ilgen, Triple Crown of Running, Papa Murphy's, Mountain Equipment Recyclers, Orange Theory Fitness, Emergicare (for the IV) for this unforgettable experience and to all of you fellow runners cheering us on and reading our blogs. Thank you to Jill, Bill, Bubba, Sean, Mary, and Shelley for your high fives, and words of encouragement during the Triple Crown Races. You all did awesome and it was great to see everyone progress through the season. Although injury plagued some, it taught us all what lessons of humility the limitations of the human body can provide. I'm proud to have worn the high-tech, moisture wicking, anti-chafe purple and gold singlets with you. Congratulations to all who completed the most challenging, beautiful, torturous, glorious, frustrating, and painful races in this country. It's been a great race season! See you on the trails!

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Comment by Jayne Sims on September 6, 2014 at 5:30pm

Brianne, you have run the Peak three times now- that is awesome. This year I ran it for the first and last time- got it off my bucket list! Those who do it more than once I am in awe of. Regarding your leg cramping. Where in your legs do you cramp? The fix may be your running form. Does it happen only when you have long runs uphill? Or do you get the same cramping for any run of duration? Do you run with your knees or feet? How do you plant your feet- mid  foot or heel? Do you plant your feet the same when running up hill? Did you lean too much on the Peak thereby adding stress? Before trying pickle juice which may cause digestive problems think about your form- to me, form is everything in running. Hope this helps. Jayne

Comment by Jill Gaebler on August 19, 2014 at 6:58am

I think you're amazing.  I'd love to run together sometime, so let's keep in touch.  Hopefully we can all have a reunion on the mountain next August.  

Comment by Bill Beagle on August 18, 2014 at 10:42pm

"…a twiste alllure." yup, that pretty much sums it up. I LIKE it! Also agree with: "I don't think there is really anything that can prepare you for this beast of a race. It is hard. Period." I don't know about the rest of you but leading up to the event and all during it, especially as it wears on, I find myself wondering "Did I train enough?" "What could I have done differently?" "What should I be doing RIGHT now?" It's a beast and anyone who completes it, regardless of time, should be damned proud.Having talked with a couple of ultra runners prior to race day, I took a salt tab every hour. I did not cramp, although I felt a little tight from time to time. Who knows? I believe that everyone has to find and/or develop their own methods because we're all different physiologically and there is no "one-size fits all," when it comes to training, fueling and running. Well done Brianne and the rest of the team.

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