Pikes Peak Can’t Terminate Me

Last time we chatted — or, rather, last time I yammered on while you read — I was feeling down and out over a bit of knee pain at the WORST possible time – when I should have just been starting my most intense training. OK, OK, yes, I know there are more inopportune times to have a setback; I know things could have been much worse. Still, this was not at all ideal.

I’d like to say that I was resolute to make a comeback and NOT let a near injury – not even an actual injury – get me down. I’d like to say I took a page from Arnie’s book – you know, machine masked in flesh wearing a daunting look of ‘get the hell out of my way’ on my face:

Note: This movie NEVER gets old. Period.

Truth be told, though, I was pretty bummed. I was a whiny, pouty little sissy, angry at the world for a couple of days.

That said, I knew I’d need motivation for my two tough runs that next week once I returned. And, lucky me, that’s exactly what I got in a big, BIG way.

Made it!

Made it, bum knee and all!

First up: a trip to Elk Meadow Park in beautiful Evergreen. Now for a lil’ ‘Melissa 101.’ I put a LOT of pressure on myself to do well in most anything I do, especially running, and especially during marathon training. There’s a lot to be said, though, for cutting yourself a little slack once in a while.

I wasn’t at all expecting a ‘Matt Carpenter‘ performance by any means – Just wanted a solid effort up the four miles and nearly two thousand feet to Bergen Peak. Not only did my running companion for the night and first-timer to Elk Meadow and I chat it up the whole way up.

We made it up almost exactly three minutes slower than the last time I was there, but we stopped only twice and for a much shorter period of time than my last trip up. AND I had two good legs back then.

It was still absolutely nowhere near holding a candle to Matt Carpenter on his worst of days, but I’ll take it!

Take two – Three hours of running between the summit of Pikes Peak and A-frame – all above twelve thousand feet, a.k.a. tree line. I had attempted this about a month earlier and clocked in at a mere two hours, four minutes, and forty-eight seconds, covering just over six and a half miles and two thousand, three hundred feet of elevation gain and felt, well, uuuhhhmmm. . .

First Pikes Run

I’d need to be a lot tougher by the time Pikes rolled around.

This time, I did it and was just a hair shy of being forty seconds faster per mile for ten miles with just over three thousand, five hundred feet of elevation gain. How did I follow such a feat – Immediately getting back to a more oxygenated environment? A nap? Peuking? Nah.

There was only one way to commemorate such a great day of running – with fellow crazy people all doing their own crazy workouts on Pikes Peak, food, beer, and lawn games at right about twelve thousand feet:

Post running high way up high!

Post running high way up high!

Hmm, think I may be OK after all, minor setback or not.

No matter how hard I try, I may never be as tough as the Terminator himself. If you even think about trying to terminate me, though, I can assure you two things: I wouldn’t give up without a fight, and it wouldn’t be pretty.

Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., a long-time road and trail runner, conducts applied child development research and works to influence child development policy and practice at the University of Denver. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.

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