After weeks of considering, it was time to make a decision.
Registrations for the Pikes Peak Ascent surpassed the 1,850-runner capacity, but the website showed applications were still being accepted. It turns out they overbook due to no-shows, but it was clear that time was running out. It was time to decide: Go up, or stay home?
After carefully filling out the registration form — if there’s a mistake, or if your qualifying race and time don’t check out, you’re out of the race and you lose your entry fee — I hit “send.”
Chills shot through my body as I waited for the payment to process. Then it took three days of waiting before my name showed up on the confirmation list. My information checked out. My spot is reserved. This is going down … well … up.
The Pikes Peak Ascent is a trail half marathon to the summit of Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs, Colo. It’s 13.32 miles of distance and 7,815 feet of vertical gain to the peak at 14,115 feet.
It’s not until Aug. 20, so I have about 4 1/2 months to prepare, but nerves already are setting in.
How do I prepare to run at altitude when I live at about 800 feet above sea level? The starting line is about 6,000 feet higher. How do I prepare for up, up, up, when I live in the flatlands of Kansas? Am I getting in WAY over my head?
I’m extremely fortunate to have friends in the Trail Nerds and Trail Hawks who have conquered Pikes Peak already, so they’ve provided training tips and confidence. Still, what makes me nervous is the unknown, and it’s an unknown that simply can’t be solved without stepping to the starting line and tackling the mountain, step by step.