Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Up, up, up ... and then up some more

Looking for that amazing workout that will really get your heart pumping? Look no further than the Manitou Incline in Manitou Springs,  Colorado (a little town just west of Colorado Springs).

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!!

1 mile straight up with 2000' elevation gain.  The steepest section is at a grade of 68% with the average grade just over 40%.  Intimidating as hell! 

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
Small group running today, just two boys (one was Ryan, my son) and two girls and the coach (Brian) and myself.  One of the boys reached the top in 28 minutes.  Brian was second in 33 (but he hung with pathetic me for awhile and stopped frequently to check on us below, making sure no mountain lions had us for breakfast), then Ryan at about 40 minutes, followed by me at God knows how long, and then the two girls about 10 minutes after me.  When I reached the top, I told Brain, who was waiting for us all, "I am OUT.  OF.  SHAPE!"  He laughed and told me to do it frequently and soon I'd be in shape.  I guess so!

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!
Holiday Blog Gift Exchange:  Ok, guys - this is your final pestering love letter.  I have tried to check in on all to see if gifts have been sent and received - but I have totally lost track.  If you haven't sent your gift yet, and I know of at least one who hasn't (ahem!!), you're going to have to overnight ship that sucker.  For anyone who does not get a gift by mid-week next week, PLEASE email me and let me know and I will email your blog buddy to see what has happened.  I know mail is uber slow right now so be patient.  Please, please, please do a blog post with your gift, picture preferred, as I know the person who sent to you would love to see - and me too.  I put a lot of time into this and I just get really excited to see what everyone got.  Thank you to all who participated - it was a lot of fun and I'd do it again in a heart beat (well, next year anyway).  And no, I'm not planning any New Year's Eve blog party - I'm done with the entertainment in 2010.  A HUGE thank you for all of you for the kind wishes - it was a pleasure to bring us all together with a blog this really awesome connection.

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!

Jill

59 comments:

Patrick Mahoney said...

Those are some pretty awesome pics of that trail.

Kate said...

Wow, that climb looks crazy...and with all those steps I see many, many opportunities to fall. Lol. Way to go making it up there!

Thanks for organizing the blog Secret Santa. It was fun getting to "meet" some new bloggers. . I totally forgot to post a picture of my gift on my blog, but I will! Merry Christmas, Jill!

Amanda@runninghood said...

I can't wait to get my gift. I keep forgetting that one is coming. ;)

This looks intense. Coming from a low altitude place to Colorado is always hard when it comes to running...even on a flat course...I can't imagine what my lungs would do on this incline! Good for you for getting out there! Your son must think you're pretty special.

merry Christmas!

Johann said...

Now that is a great run! Well done all of you! That will surely get you in shape if nothing else does. Leadville...someone once said if I ever travel to the US for a 100, I must go do Leadville.

Have a fantastic Christmas!

Jesse - Run To The Border said...

I like running hills, but I'm not sure I'd be up for running 2000' straight up.
I'll just take your word that it was "fun."

Christina said...

Wow! What a trail. Looks like a killer workout.
Guess that saying, "What doesn't kill you will only make you stronger" is true.

Mark said...

Man, what a run!! That looks like something I'd like to try...sounds like you are doing well!

Jennifer said...

Hey Jill! I keep hearing about this incline and can't imagine why anyone would put themselves through such torture. Ha Ha I would probably do it anyway! I love torture, he he. Anyway, I sent my gift but I think my giftee is out of town, like I am until after new years so I would be able to report back for another week or so. Bummer! Happy Christmas and thanks for the lovely card!!!!

marathonmaiden said...

i sent mine out yesterday and paid extra to get it there by friday (or at least that's what the woman told me) so i hope the *ahem* wasn't for me ;)happy holidays to you and HOLY MOLY that is one big incline. definitely intimidating as hell. i think i'd have a coronary before i reached the top haha!

Marlene said...

Oh wow, that looks (and sounds) gruelling! Good for everyone!! I'm also guessing this is one of those climbs where going down is somehow even harder than going up.

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

ahhh, my kind of workout. Totally look forward to it, hate it while doing it, love, love, love it when I have completed the task and ENDURED!

We have a few hills here (you guys would not even call them a hill) that I like to do repeats on. Some of them are totally group runs, because I can't talk myself into doing them solo.

Would love it if 2011 presents an opportunity for us to meet, that would be so awesome. Wish I had the funds to head your way. Have a friend in C.S. who I would love to see, and I could also visit with you, Tara, and Steve and Kathleen. You guys would have to SWEAR to bring me to some "infant" running areas.

lindsay said...

I especially like the "stair" on top of the pipe. These must not be the illegal parts if they are well-marked?

Oh cmon - you can coordinate a booze-mailing list for NYE!

Merry Christmas!

Anne said...

That climb looks so intimidating, but I'm glad our Jill could hang with the rest of them. Something tells me your time would put us sea-level dwellers to shame.

And we've had truly disruptive weather here in Southern Cal, so anyone who tried to mail a package Monday and beyond may have hit trouble. Yesterday not one, but two, postal cars/buses fell over on the freeway due to hydroplaning.

Kovas Palubinskas said...

I was going to reserve comment and wait for that next blog post, but who knows when that will be? :) When I come visit this summer, maybe we can run the incline together!

Teamarcia said...

Nobody needs a good kick in the ass, I mean glute workout more than me but I think I'm going into cardiac arrest just looking at these pics!
My tardyish exchange gift went out early Saturday...plenty of time, hopefully.

Molly said...

I think I would have been on my hands and knees going up that sucker, but it looks totally worth the climb.

Merry Christmas Chicke! : )

Jason said...

The pics are great and that is some serious steepness....you do that once a week and you will be in tremendous shape for sure. Plus it will cure the boredom of same runs in same places.

Terri said...

Merry Christmas, Jill! That looks like an awesome run - I have trail envy! One of these days I'll take photos of the ridge on the back of the farm to share, though - it isn't as steep as yours but it definitely gets your heart rate up!

ShutUpandRun said...

That is riduculous. In a fun and challenging way. Once the hip behaves I'll have to give that one a shot. 32 mins, are you kidding me? Maybe 32 x 4.

Christi said...

Oh shoot! I wish I had known you were doing the Incline! You definitely have to come back so we can do my favorite workout together because you missed the best part! That would be mexican food and beer at the Loop afterwards!

onelittletrigirl said...

If you don't post fine. But you better not stop emailing me!!!

And 11 Leadvilles??? Psh...my friend, Lindsay, writes raps. So there :)

Heather said...

What a workout! Have a great christmas. :)

Quinton J said...

AHEM!...It's in transit...I PROMISE! I spent more on shipping than I did on the gift. We MUST have HOPE. Tis' the season of HOPE!

funderson said...

NICE! the Incline is no joke! No snow though? Weird. Happy Christmas! and thanks for the gift exchange...SO fun.

Laurie said...

Wow, fun stuff in a crazy, hard, push you to the brink of death sort of way. Great pics though, what an amazing view! Hope you enjoy your holidays!

Emz said...

OMGosh.
One
day.

I will attempt to be as awesome as you.
I'd love to do that race.

amazing.

Meg said...

Oooo, that trail and incline looks SO challenging but super fun! Way to get out there and move it, especially with the kids and coach!
I sent my gift on Saturday, I keep checking on my pal's blog...it should get there!
BIG hugs, how's the heel? Email me with a full report, girl!!
xox

Bethany + Ryan said...

that looks FUN!! I want to run there!!! Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

That looks like such a great workout. I wanna do that!!

okay are you talking about me in my tardiness?!? Hey Army son's home and I work full time and the post office isn't open great hours and my bloggy friend is hard to shop for and and and and...I'll get it out soon. :-) promise!

Badgergirl said...

Intense looking run! But it looks like fun.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Wil Travel said...

That sounds amazing - definitely have to make it out there!

kassy said...

OOOOH WOW JILL! That's such amazing trail - what a workout you got yourself into! :)

Cool runnings!

Kas

Velma said...

Holy glute!! I got my bloggy gift and send mine in the mail :) Happy Holidays!!!

Jenn said...

I'm jealous jealous jealous of your run! That looks just awesome! One day I'm coming to visit and you're taking me there!

Thankyou so much for the Christmas card! You're a sweetheart!

I am REGISTERED for Grandmas!!! I am so sick of wasting money on races that I haven't run that if I hurt myself I'm still doing it even if I'm on crutches. Are you even considering this!!! That would be SO fun! I hear it's a REALLY awesome atmosphere! Do it Do it Do it, ALL the cool kids are doing it:) Merry Christmas Jill!

Rose said...

What an amazing looking run/hike!

Slomohusky said...

someday on that climb. although the elevation out there - just going from plane to baggage claim is enough for me. :)

Char said...

That looks so tough! It makes the mountain I ran up this morning look like a molehill. Good on you for getting up it.

Aimee said...

What an amazing place to run!! I have to go there someday! The pictures were awesome!

I hope you have a great Christmas! Hopefully we'll be able to hook up next week!

Beth said...

Wow what a butt buster! That looks really intense. Your son is very lucky to have a superstar runner for a mom. My mom is a runner and I can't think of anything better.
I got my gift in the mail (thanks Jess!) and my bloggy buddy got her gift, I just need to let her know it was me. Thanks for setting that all up!

Detroit Runner said...

That looks amazing. The pictures are great!

Melanie said...

this is just pure insanity! totally amazing though. how blessed you are to live where you can run such an incredible path!

ajh said...

Hey I did Barr Trail - although not running. And I stood on one step of the Incline. I think Mary wanted me to do it but we were pretty busy with lots of other things. Maybe on another visit! You are amazing my friend!

Suzy said...

All I can say is: Holy Crap! That is steep. Way to tackle it and make it to the top. My lungs would have exploded inside 10 steps at that altitude. Way to go!!

Julie said...

Holy cow!! I can feel the burn just looking at that trail and those killer steps! Way to go:) I love the pictures...where and the heck is your snow?

I am so far behind on my blogging but will do a post tomorrow:) I need to take a few pictures of my gift. Actually, I have already watched it twice:)

Merry Christmas Jill!! Hugs to you:)

Chris K said...

Awesome story/post there Jill. Great pics! I think I could run up that so-called "hill" in 27 minutes. It looks like a mound to me. I am really good at running in altitude. BTW, you mentioned in your email that no one teased you. Well, teasing you is what I live for.

HappyTrails said...

So was this your maiden voyage up the Incline???
When you revisit, are we revisiting together? It is one of my fave 'fast' workouts. I think people don't realize that it is not a 'run' up the Incline for most people but a steady march to the top. Hey, when can we be shouting hallelujah for a 32 minute mile??? :-) The run down Barr is good, too. Glad you had FUN!!!

misszippy said...

Wait! I had my ticket booked for that bloggy New Year's party!

That looks like an AWESOME workout! Would love to have that at my fingertips. You are a stud for doing it.

Thanks so much for organizing the exchange...it has been fun. I sent my gift out last week, but I don't think it has arrived yet, so I'm starting to sweat it!

Have a fabulous Christmas Jill!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Merry Christmas!!!

Everyday, I rush home from work, run to the mail box with eager anticipation, but nothing has arrived as of yet.

Silly Girl Running said...

Ahhhh! How I love the trails! :)

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

Just stopping by to wish you a very Merry Christmas Jill. Thanks for the card, so sweet. So enjoy reading your adventures, trials, and trails throughout the year. Thanks Jill! Merry Christmas!

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

The Pike's Peak Marathon is on my short list. Don't think I'll make it in '11, but but maybe in 2012. I know it will be an experience like no other. Merry Christmas!

Keeley said...

Holy Toledo, batman, that climb makes my butt hurt just looking at it.

Merry Christmas! =)

Anne said...

What a beautiful trail...and um Jill, I note that you reached the top before the two young athletic girls...I guess you're not that out of shape :)
Merry Christmas to you and your family my dear!!

Adam Culp (Crazy Floridian) said...

This is a MUST do on my next trip to Colorado, perhaps in summer. :)

ERG said...

I'd like to come run that with you! I am sure it would kick my butt too. That's some serious incline! I finally mapped out my 22 LR with an elevation map and it's only at 7% max. Whew!
WHat a beautiful place to run.

Merry Christmas!!!

Glenn Jones said...

Impressive slope! They'll be more than ready for Whitney.

elaine said...

Okay I really want to do that ascent, some day....with you. Betcha I could gasp more!

Black Knight said...

Now I know what I don't have to do: the Manitou incline! Is there for me a Manitou flat path? Great pictures.
Thank you again for the Blog Gift Exchange, a great idea!

HappyTrails said...

Bummer! Too bad you guys couldn't have come down TODAY!!! Back to work tomorrow. I will climb vicariously through you - don't start too hard, keep it a steady march and you will PR!!! Then you can log your time into this nifty new deal:
http://www.outtherecolorado.com/blogs/see-where-your-times-stack-up-with-our-new-incline-tracker.html Woo-hoo - an Incline Time Tracker!
Have LOTS of FUN! :-)