Last December, y'all who were with me back then may recall that I went with the track team down to Colorado Springs and we ran up the Manitou Incline - the 1-mile, 2200' vertical climb up the side of a mountain. (ran? haha...um, hiked is a better word).
Last December, I had barely run in 5 months due to that stupid little pain in my foot. I was grossly out of shape, evident at how bad I sucked going up.
Fast forward 6 months: I got the brilliant idea I needed to go back down and
|The group at the start. Anyone notice one of the Happy Trails duo?|
Seemed like the perfect time to do a little Incline! I emailed Kathleen and Steve from Happy Trails and thankfully they were free and anxious to go up too, along with about half the state of Colorado and 300,000+ tourists. Gotta love the tourist who has no clue what they're getting into ;).
|I tried to find out exactly how many RR ties there are to the top and best I can find is 2744|
That's a LOT of steps.
I think I literally saw my PT's blood pressure rise a couple hundred points when I told him today I went up that thing. :)
|That's my son, Brendan, hauling up 40 extra lbs with his backpack|
|View from the top. Stunning!|
|My friend/client and I at the summit. She's going to ROCK Mt. Whitney next month!|
|The group at the top, sans Ryan, who had some asthma problems and bailed half way up.|
That's what he gets for being super fast.
Amazingly, I felt great. Really great!! Yes, I was slow but I wasn't gagging on a lung. I wasn't gasping for air. I wasn't sitting on the side of a step in tears, screaming I couldn't make it (thankfully no one in my party was that victim, but I did witness this); I really wish I would have had the foresight to wear my HR monitor because I am certain it wasn't skyrocketing off the charts like it had in December.
Yet, the real test for my heel was getting down this thing (thus my PT's gasp). One could go back down this little incline, and a few do, but most op to go down the back side of the Incline and take the Barr Trail down to the bottom, a very nice single track dirt trail, which is the trail that will take you to the top of Pikes Peak (used for the Pikes Peak Marathon race in August).
|Barr Trail and 14,011' Pikes Peak in the background (thanks HT for the pic I stole :))|
That girl only hits the trails and runs like a gazelle, graceful and floating over the bigger rocks like they didn't even exist. Me, I mimic more the grace of an elephant and my arms are flailing every which way.
But I made it. The entire 4 miles down. Only stopping once to talk to a guy with a "Quad Cities Marathon" t-shirt on (one must talk to anyone from your hometown, right??).
And my heel? Happy, happy, HAPPY!
Ok, well maybe not 100% pain-free, but the pain I had was minimal and manageable and I ran a heck of a lot faster than I ever thought I could.
When I reached the bottom, my spirit was elated. SOARING!!
This was exactly the confidence building day I needed!
Kathleen and I chatted for awhile after our run as we waited for the others to make their way down - it was the best conversation I've had with anyone in months. K, who's been dealing with her own personal health and fitness demons the past few months, felt amazing up the Incline and fully understood how incredible this day felt to me. She understood how this past year and a half has been nothing but hell for me. ...about reaching the brink of defeat .....
....and driving through on sheer grit and determination.
Like every worthwhile pursuit in life, you just gotta begin by putting one foot in front of the other - and move those feet in the right direction. Reconnecting with my passion to run, the thing I have loved since I was young, is more than remembering the runner I once was. It is the culmination of who I once was was, who I am now, and who I am becoming.
Reminding me that .....everything is possible. Thanks, Manitou Incline - I had an amazing day!
Run Strong, Friends! Happy Summer!!!