Sunday, August 16, 2009

5:04:25 on Pikes Peak

Today was the big day. My goal was to finish the Pikes Peak Marathon in 5 hours, 10 minutes, and I beat my goal by about 4 and a half minutes. The weather was great, in contrast with last year's cold, rain, snow and lightning.

By the numbers:
  • Finish time: 5 hours, 4 minutes, 25 seconds
  • Overall place: 42nd out of 711 people
  • Place in age group (M 35-39): 8th out of 97
  • Ascent time: 3:12:17
  • Average pace: 11:37 per mile
  • Elevation gain: 7,815 ft
  • Elevation change: 15,630 ft
  • Elevation at the summit: 14,115 ft

The injury report:
  • sprained left thumb
  • scraped hand, knee and ankle
  • stubbed toe
After doing some reading the day before the race, I revised my strategy to take a slightly slower pace in the first 5 miles, which is the steepest section. It was a challenge to stick with this strategy as I watched 9 people pass me during this section, but paid off in the long run since I had enough juice left to pass more than 9 people during the rest of the race. I ran the last mile of race in just 7 minutes!

How does one sprain a thumb in a marathon you might ask? Well, the race goes up the single-track Barr trail, not the road as many people assume. The trail averages 11% grade with rocks, roots and steps, so running downhill on this terrain can be treacherous, especially when you're severely fatigued. I tripped going down some steps and landed on my left hand, spraining my thumb. I stumbled several other times on the downhill run.

My pre-race routine consisted of eating half a banana, one energy quark (fantastic energy food from Nutropolis), one Clif shot, and one Power gel, plus getting a 3-minute warm-up run just prior to race start.

It was a great experience and a proud accomplishment, but now I'm looking forward to a few days of R & R!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Training for the Pikes Peak Marathon

For the past two years I ran in the Pikes Peak Ascent, and this year I decided to up the ante and race twice as far in the full Pikes Peak Marathon, which is 26.2 miles from Manitou Springs to the 14,115 foot summit of Pikes and back down again, with an elevation change of 7,815 vertical feet each direction. I've been logging about 40 miles of running per week plus a few hours of biking, and I think I'm ready. This weekend will be my last long training run before the race on August 16. I've turned the race into a fundraiser again this year. I'm raising money to help treat kids around the world with club foot deformity. I hope to raise $1000 for the Ponseti International Association for the Advancement of Clubfoot Treatment. Dr. Ponseti is an amazing 94-year-old doctor who pioneered the non-surgical technique and is still practicing medicine today. You can donate to the case at this link.