I think most of you know I run with some of the kiddos from school on the cross country team; the coach is a friend of mine whom is an incredible endurance athlete, as well as an amazing coach. The kids adore him. With the closing of cross county season a few weeks ago, the kids took a short hiatus from running but are now back at it with pre-season build-up base mileage for track season, which starts in a few short weeks. As coach said today: The bigger your training base in December and January, the more speed you can do this spring, and the faster you will run. Ok, I'm trying to listen. In pre-season track running, the coach is trying to get a few different runs thrown in from the everyday run in the neighborhood, or the state park in our backyard, for the kids to get psyched-up - and have fun. And today's adventure took us to the Manitou Incline.
The Manitou Incline was built as a cable car to carry materials to build pipelines on Pikes Peak. After the pipelines were finished it was turned into a tourist attraction. After a rock slide damaged a section of track in 1990, the Manitou Incline was closed down and the rails removed. Some locals started using it for a tough workout. A portion of it is private property and it’s illegal to hike up the ties of the old cable car. That hasn’t stopped it from becoming the most popular hike in the Colorado Springs area.
Below is a picture of Pikes Peak (famous in the running community for the "Pikes Peak Marathon" - 8000' up in 13.3 miles. Did this a couple times, very hard, but very fun. Well, not so much fun, but oh so rewarding! Come and join me in '11) See the line going up the mountain just to the right of the white snow-capped peak ? (just a little off to the right from smack in the middle of the picture. That long straight line you can almost see) That is the Manitou Incline. That's what we went up. Total crazy steep!!
My studette friend, K of Happy Trails, can go up this thing in 32 minutes. I cannot. Not even close. About half way up, I started counting 30 steps and gave myself permission to stop for a short break at 30. I don't know how many of these 30-step short breaks I took, but it was plenty. One time I was hurled over trying to get some air in - kinda like when I run mile repeats and gasp for air at the end. But I didn't time my climb, I didn't want to know - truthfully, I just consider myself lucky to have done it. Lucky to have the lungs to make it up the thing without them exploding. Lucky I didn't get dizzy and fall backwards. Lucky I live in such a place great place where I get the opportunity to run up the side of mountains, despite not thinking so at the time.
|Start of my climb up. See that line all the way to the top?|
Yep, that's the trail!
|Coach there in the red jacket, who didn't stick with me for very long|
|The steps. Can you say holy glute workout!?|
|At the top with the cross country coach and two of the girl runners|
|View down below to Colorado Springs, and beyond, from the top|
At the top, you have two options: Go back down the steep incline that you just traveled up or take a spur trail that leads back down to the parking lot. I think there are two trails, one shorter and one longer (thanks, K, for that info today!!). Brian wanted the kids to have the miles so long it was. Pea-sized gravel marked the trail and sections are pretty steep, which make your footing slip on the gravel (or at least mine) - I was grateful only two twisting of the left ankle, but nothing serious, thankfully. The girls, Brian, and I all stuck together on the way down; the girls decided to go at a neck-breaking pace and Brain even commented it was WAY too fast for his liking (this guy has run 11 Leadville 100's [btw, registration is open, if anyone is inclined to register. I'll come crew ya :) ] - he knows his descents. And ascents. Obviously).
But we made it down in one piece, and had a blast doing so. I got a killer workout in, my lungs are still intact, and I felt really good - for the first time in what seems like forever - with a run. I think I need to add a little more adventures like these in my running routine - and I think the Manitou Incline may have to be revisited in the very near future. I can't wait.
|Ryan and I at the bottom of the trail we took down|
(totally regretted wearing those pants at the start of the run -
glad I had them at the top, such a huge temp change in 2000')
|Today's crew - small, but mighty!|
I may try to post again before Christmas (stop laughing - you know who you are!), but most likely I won't - so if not, I want to wish everyone out there in this vast world of runners and athletes galore:
Happy Holidays, from my blog to yours!