But getting down the stairs to the computer was agony!
To my Boston students this week let me apologize in advance for the limping, wincing and the cane. Heh.
I didn't make it to the top of Pikes Peak. They have these cut-off times that you have to make or they'll turn you back. You have to make the first cut-off (7.6 miles) in 3:15 and then you have another 1:15 to make it to A-frame which is close to timberline and 10.2 miles from the start. From there you're only 3 miles from the top, but those last 3 miles are apparently a killer.
I wouldn't know about the last 3 miles because I arrived at A-frame 14 minutes past the cut-off and was turned back.
And for anyone doing some quick math, that means a 13.3 mile race to the top of the mountain, where you pour your aching and triumphant body into a shuttle bus to bring you back down to your car, becomes a 20 mile hike for idiots like myself, who arrive 14 minutes late to a cut-off. *sigh*
I walked down with Jim, who had arrived at A-frame just 5 minutes after cut-off but said it was a mercy killing since he didn't have 3 more up-hill miles in him. You learn a lot about a person on a 10-mile hike down a mountain. Jim has 9 children. His 2 teenage sons, who did this race with him, made it to the top. *clap clap clap* He's an atmospheric scientist, which made me less anxious when the thunder and lightning rolled in. He wasn't crouching, so I didn't either.
Occasionally we walked with Petra, who seemed to have a bit of altitude sickness up near A-frame. She was freezing cold and somewhat delirious. When she got down to Barr Camp the officials took over, warming her up and hydrating her and such. We kept going, but later she passed us in a steady jog, looking ever so much better. We didn't see her again until the sky opened up with 2 miles to go. I don't think I've ever been that wet, even in all those years on the swim team! We were drenched to the core. My cell phone stopped working at some point, but seems to have recovered this morning enough to e-mail me the one photo I have from the day:
This was before it started raining, when I was still smiling! HA!
Evelyn had a sinus headache. I begged her on Friday to use it as the official excuse for us to not show up and look ridiculous, but she would not agree. Breathing on the mountain was really hard for her, and only got worse as the miles went on. Somewhere along the way our roles reversed, which she laughed about while trying to catch her breath. I can't really explain it, since I never wanted to do this race in the first place, but once I was on that trail I had an overwhelming desire to finish it.
Actually, having never walked that far in my life, I mainly had the overwhelming desire to make it to the first cut-off within the allotted time. I figured we would quit, but I wanted it to be *our* decision. Evelyn did quit, but encouraged me to keep going. So I did. Not sure why. I actually passed a few people on the way to A-frame, trying to slow the clock or increase my speed to make the cut-off. It was uphill the whole way, though. No real flat spots to catch your breath. When it was 5 minutes until noon and I couldn't hear voices from the aid station I knew that I wouldn't make it, but I still didn't quit. I just wanted to make A-frame so I could say that I did.
If I had made that cut-off I would have kept going. I know I would have. Mostly it would have been a question of math - suffer through 3 uphill miles or stroll down 10 miles - and 3 is less than 10. The logic . . .so good at the logic! They probably would have had to amputate my legs, though, so maybe it was a mercy killing for me, too.
I called Evelyn from A-frame to say that I was walking back and it would be probably 3-4 hours until I made it down. I suggested that she go home and send John back later. But she didn't.
Evelyn waited patiently for us, even moving the car to the bottom of the trailhead since it was raining so hard. Never had we seen such a welcome sight as that dry car! We gave Jim and Petra a ride to their car/hotel and then headed home. I was drenched, so a hot bath, "My Fair Lady" on TV, two Advils and an early bed-time was all I could manage.
Next year I'll take it more seriously.
Next year I'm making it to the top!
Today I'm just concentrating on walking upright. Heh
Thanks for all the encouraging words. I'm happy (make that downright shocked) with what I accomplished on that mountain.
RMQOTD (OK, but I get to be on top!)