A lot of people think runners are crazy. Call me crazy then, because this morning I joined about 350 runners at Echo Lake, at 10,640 feet elevation, and raced them from there to the summit of Mt. Evans at 14,264 feet. Ok, that's an exaggeration - the finish line for the Mt. Evans Ascent was about 100 feet below the summit. I ran the 14.5 miles and approximately 3600 vertical feet in a time of 2:25:15 - I think that was 21st place overall, although I haven't seen the official results yet. My average pace of 10:01 per mile was one #@$%*! second short of my personal goal. I thought I was on track to meet it, but in the last mile, I lost track of the time. I'll blame it on the lack of oxygen. There ain't much of that stuff up there, and every heaving gasp I took in the last few miles was a painful reminder of the low atmospheric pressure. I did pass one guy in the last few hundred yards of the race, so that makes up for it, I suppose.
It was the perfect morning for a race, though. Clear skies, nice temperatures, and no wind, which is very rare in those environs.
The lunacy doesn't end there, however. The Mt. Evans Ascent is just a training run on my preparation for the Pike's Peak Ascent in 2 months. That one will be more of a fast hike than a run though. With more than twice the elevation gain over just 13.1 miles of dirt trails, Pike's Peak will be much tougher.