My bags are packed, a few miles have been logged, dinner’s done and it’s just about time for bed.
Departure for Colorado is just hours away, and it’s less than three days until race day.
Those days and hours can’t get here soon enough, but to be honest this moment — being packed and ready to go — couldn’t get here soon enough, either.
I signed up for the Pikes Peak Ascent four and a half months ago. At first I was nervous for the race, then anxious, and now just plain annoyed with the waiting game. Four and a half months is a long time to train, and it’s been a mighty long summer. About two dozen workouts were in 100-plus-degree temperatures (including one day at 111), I’ve run enough hill repeats that I’ve grown to love them, and I’ve worn through two pairs of shoes.
Nervousness disappeared a week and a half ago at the Psych Night 10K trail race at Wyandotte County Lake Park when I took 17th, finished in 59:24 and felt remarkably good running the hills. That last part, the hills, was a jolt of confidence heading toward Pikes. It reassured me that all of those repeats on Ogg Road were worthwhile.
When Psych Night was done, I was stoked for two weeks of tapering. The hard part was done; this was supposed to be the joy ride leading up to the race. But it’s been just the opposite. Running itself has been a joy for the most part, but each day crept along. Colorado felt farther away. It’s been hard to hold back.
I logged 29 miles last week; too many by my standards, but almost all of them were at a nice, easy pace. The final one was walking at Race for the Cure.
I got up early Monday morning and ran the trails at Shawnee Mission Park at the same time (7:30 a.m.) the Ascent will begin. Tuesday was a blah four-miler around Lake Lenexa. Tonight was a nice, easy four-miler with the Wednesday night crew. Danny Miller threatened to send me home because he didn’t think I should be running at all, but I couldn’t resist putting in a final light workout with the crew that has helped prepare me all summer for this race.
Now, it’s almost time to go. Only a few more hours of waiting — the hardest part to be sure. Twelve hours from now I’ll be in Colorado Springs, right in the shadow of Pikes Peak.
Then it’ll be time to get nervous.