I could say that a million thoughts were running through my head, but in actuality I wasn't really paying too much attention when the gun went off. I faintly heard 'runner ready, set, BANG!' and everybody just took off running. It seemed simple enough so far . . .
Okay, now let me back up. For me, the morning began at around 1 AM. I had slept soundly for about three hours when I awoke for a trip to the restroom. Afterwards, I started thinking about the race, and couldn't get back to sleep for a few hours. After tossing and turning for a couple hours, I managed to drift off into a fitful sleep filled with odd dreams for another hour or two. Then I woke up at 4:50 AM, took a nice, hot shower, packed up my suitcase and ate some breakfast (some raisin bran with chocolate soy milk (take note of this) and a banana. The other guys were soon awake and getting psyched up -- the race was only an hour away! Everyone seemed in good spirits, although they didn't eat much of any breakfast. Thanks to all our early morning trail running, I had gotten used to eating a good breakfast at 5 in the morning and then going out for a hard run -- and I knew that I would especially need the energy today.
We checked out of our motel and drove the 10 minutes or so to Manitou Springs. I made some final decisions about what to take and what to leave, opting mostly to take as little as possible. We soon met up with the Eickmann's (Steve was running the race with us) and I was able to give Wendy Eickmann a backpack with extra items to resupply with at the summit, such as a rain jacket, extra running socks, my mini-gators, bandages, an extra water bladder, Gatorade powder, 2 quarts of water, extra sunscreen, and finally a few more Gu gel packets. For the race, I carried a RimRunner Camelback with a 70-oz bladder filled with full strength lemon-flavored Gatorade, 9 packets of Gu gel, a couple PowerBars, a plum (high in potassium), original flavor Goldfish (my salty snack), a hat, a bandana, a handkerchief, a long-sleeve Patagonia wicking shirt, and my luxury item: a 1-oz Aiptek digital camera. I didn't end up using the hat, bandana, or the extra shirt. I also forgot to take out the BodyGlide, my secret weapon against chaffing, so I ended up carrying this too.
Here is Jotham watching Kelby and Nolan while Wendy stows my backpack in her car.
Maybe they will run Pikes with their dad (Steve Eickmann) sometime.
We also met up with Stephen and Shanell Turk. They had come to see us off at the start line, then planned to drive up to the summit to resupply the rabbits in our group, Dan Turk and Eric Sigler. About 20 minutes before the start, I noticed a strange phenomena -- everyone made a rush for the 20-30 porta-potties. It seemed that we all had the same idea at once. I had a hard time getting to the back of the line because it was growing so fast! Needless to say, it is always beneficial to lay aside any extra baggage before a race. About 10 minutes before the start, the crowd started to build behind the Start line. Within minutes, the hundreds of people milling around the several block area congealed into a lean, mean race pack. The tension was starting to build. At this point, I decided to quickly repack my Camelbak so that I could get at my various items quickly without stopping. I ended up giving my GPS to Wendy, as I didn't want to be bothered with carrying it in my hand the whole way, even though track, speed, and elevation statistics would have been fascinating. A woman was laughing at me when I rearranged all these items -- I was only about 30 feet behind the Start Line, with about 5 minutes before the start, and here I was with a pile of gear laying around me on the pavement. Evidently, she thought it was humorous. Altogether, I'm pretty sure that I was carrying less than 10 pounds, so I wasn't too worried, since most of that was water and food that I was planning on drinking and eating on the way up. Following are some pictures we snapped in those final moments.
Jotham Matabi hams it up at the Start line, while Eric Sigler keeps his cool.
Here I am ready to take off at the start -- I figured now was the time for a crazy shot since I won't have another chance to get one.
Soon we heard a faint announcement on the PA system: "Runners, two minutes until the race!"
All of a sudden, the entire crowd took off running towards the mountain along Manitou Avenue. In the left side picture above, you can see Pikes Peak peeking above the ridgeline of the lower hills. It looked VERY far away.
Hundreds of people take off running towards Pikes Peak.
After about half a mile, the course turns left onto Ruxton Avenue -- the uphill begins!
Although still on pavement for the first 1.25 miles, the course soon takes a turn in the upward direction. At this point, many people were still running like this was a flat marathon, not a race up a 14,000 foot mountain. On the right hand side is Jotham (green shorts) and Steve Eickmann (blue hat, white shirt). At this point, I let them cruise on ahead of them, hoping to catch them later. Matt Carpenter's course description warns of burning yourself out in the first couple miles -- I definitely wanted to avoid that. On Friday, I changed my race strategy a bit -- I had been planning on taking it real easy to do a 5-h ascent, then trying for a 2-h descent, but I decided I was capable of more, so I decided to push a bit more on the ascent, especially since the pace calculator showed that for a 7-h marathon time, I really needed to ascend in 4:15 or so. Besides, I wasn't sure I would be in any kind of condition to run downhill no matter how slow I went up.
Soon after passing Hydro Street and the Cog Railway, the course shoots up a steep hill on a spur that soon joins the Barr Trail. This is one of the steepest hills on the course, and many people were walking by then. At this point, I was power walking, even though people were still jogging past -- I definitely didn't want to expend too much energy this early in the race. In retrospect, I should have started walking as soon as it got steep, because I still think that I wasted a bit too much energy in this part of the race. The people who run past you in this stretch are often the same people that you pass again later on the course. Indeed, I did end up seeing some of the same people again and again. At 1.65 miles, I passed the first aid station. The volunteers were really jazzed up and were handing out water cups. I took two and kept going. Just after that, we passed a guy with a boom box playing Chariots of Fire. He hangs out in that spot every year to cheer people on. He was yelling to us, 'When you hear this again, you'll know that you're almost down.'
After the craziness of the first mile, the pace slowed as we hit the single track trail. Since there was little room to pass, I ended up going the same speed as the people in front of me. The pace was pretty good here -- mostly a power walk. Some people were jogging still, but I found that I could hike up just as fast. We started to see some spectators who had hiked up early that morning so that they could cheer us on. This added to the camaraderie out on the course. At about half an hour into the course (2 miles), I took my first Gu gel (amazing little packets that provide pure energy), and I planned to take one every half an hour throughout the race to keep refueling. Altogether, I planned to eat 8 of these on the way up and 4 coming down, along with a gallon of Gatorade, a plum, and some Goldfish crackers. I was hoping that this would be sufficient to stave off the dreaded 'bonk' that many runners get towards the end of a marathon.
This is the view about 3 miles and 1500 feet into the race -- the top of a long series of switchbacks known as the W's, and a little ways past the second aid station on Incline on Rocky Mountain (3.0 miles). It was great to already be so far above Manitou Springs, but I knew better than to get too excited -- there was still another 6000 feet of grueling climb ahead. Soon after this spot, I got my second view of Pikes Peak -- it still looked very far away! When you see the summit from that vantage point, it is almost inconceivable to think about doing the whole thing in one day.
Soon Manitou Springs went out of sight and the trail became even more incredibly beautiful as Mount Manitou came into view. Then the trail climbed steeply through some more switchbacks and through a Rock Arch, where some more people were hanging out to wish us well. Soon after this point, I came to the next aid station at No Name Creek -- I had already gone 4.3 miles and risen 2100 feet in the first hour -- only 22 more to go! A bunch of volunteers from Arkansas were manning the No Name Creek Aid station and were clearly jazzed about the whole experience. This was the first aid station with Gatorade -- I immediately noticed that it was very watered down. I took two cups of this faintly flavored water and kept going. I also tried to eat a PowerBar -- it seemed like it took 20 minutes to finally finish it, as it kept sticking in the back of my throat. Because this had taken so long to eat, I skipped my next Gu snack, which might have lead to problems later. Along this stretch of trail, someone had put all sorts of Pikes Peak trivia signs -- a sign would ask a question, and then a minute later, the answer would appear on another sign further up the trail. This was quite entertaining -- I wish they had put these all the way up to the top!
Shortly after No Name Creek, the trail passes through a 'Hansel and Gretel' forest and levels off a bit. There were even some brief downhill stretches. Many people picked up the pace through these sections, and I did as well. I was surprised at how fast the miles were going, as I was averaging close to 5 mph for a couple of these miles. About this time, I caught up with Steve Eickmann, who appears in this picture. Around this time, we came to the Bob Road aid station -- this was the craziest aid station -- themed around the animated Sponge Bob Square Pants cartoon character, complete with undersea decorations. A couple girls with hula skirts were cheering us on.
I gave the camera to him so that I could get a picture of myself running up the trail. That's me with the #377 bib and my kung-fu like Reebok headband. Although it looks like I'm in agony, I was just hamming it up for the camera -- after all, I didn't want to make this look too easy :) In reality, I had a big smile plastered on my face for just about the whole race. I was feeling great at this point.
A fellow runner was kind enough to snap a picture of Steve and I running together. From this perspective, you can see that the lines had stretched out a little, but it was still a steady stream of runners.
After a couple of fast miles, the grade increased again and soon Steve and I were at Barr Camp, which is at 7.6 miles -- just a bit over halfway to the summit. In terms of vertical climb, it is almost exactly the halfway point -- 3900 feet down, and 3900 feet up. On most mountains, a climb of 3900 feet would put you at the top (to put this in comparison, this amount of climb is almost as much as the climb from the Colorado River to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon). Overall, I would say that the first 4000 feet to Barr Camp went surprisingly easy, probably because I was stuck in the crowd most of the way up to this point. Since I was just going for the average finish time of about 7 hrs, this pace was perfect for me and probably kept me from burning myself out too soon, which I probably would have done if the trail had been empty. Up to this point, I probably had jogged or ran about 2-3 out of the 7 miles. The rest of the time, I just walked at a quick pace, sometimes passing the people who were jogging.
My time to Barr Camp was 1:56:00, which was 6 minutes ahead of pace for a 4 hour ascent. This worried me a bit, because it meant that I was probably using up my energy too fast. To meet my goal of 7 hours, I really only needed to ascend in 4:15:00, so this really meant that I was probably 20 minutes ahead of pace. Above Barr Camp, the trail soon started climbing in earnest -- still 5 miles to go and nearly 4000 vertical feet! I popped another Gu. The two cups of weak Gatorade I was drinking at each aid station was not going to be sufficient to power me up the mountain. I was so thankful to have the real stuff on my back -- in a race like Pikes, replacing electrolytes is critical. I avoided all the other aid station offerings, such as grapes and pretzels, because I wasn't sure how my stomach would react to them.
About a mile before the A-Frame (about 3/4 of the way up), things started going downhill for me pain-wise -- I started developing some leg cramps. By the 4 to go sign, some cramps locked up my calf muscles to the point where I almost couldn't stretch them back out! Needless to say, this made me a bit worried, because I didn't know how I was going to climb another 3000 feet! Although I had been quite diligent in refueling (a Gu every half an hour, two cups of Gatorade at all the aid stations, plus my own 70 oz camelback of Gatorade), I think that I wasn't taking in enough salt with my fluids. I started munching on my salty snack food (Goldfish), but discovered that I had bought the wrong flavor (original flavor, instead of the cheddar cheese) -- it was very unpalatable to me at this point. I soon found out that the cramps came in waves and that I could keep the muscles stretched out by being careful in how I went over the big step-ups. Matt Carpenter came cruising down around 2h45m into the race (when I was near the A-frame, at 10.2 miles) -- I yelled out 'Go Matt!' as he passed, but he was so focused on the trail that he didn't even acknowledge me, which is understandable. The next guy came passed us coming down about 10 min later. Then I was quite surprised to see two girls cruising down the mountain in the 4th and 5th spots! Needless to say, it was inspiring to see people already coming down -- but it was even more awesome to think that they were roughly 4-5 miles ahead of me! In a regular flatland marathon, you don't usually get to see the winners (except at the beginning), but in this race, you get to see everyone at least once! This makes for a rather social race, as most everyone encourages the people that they're passing. Towards the top, the race almost had the feeling of being a mutual admiration society! The camaraderie was terrific.
Above the A-frame (another aid station), the trees start thinning out and soon the trail winds its way above treeline.
At this point, the views become incredible, although the summit is still out of sight.
As we got to the 2-mile mark, people started passing more regularly on the downhill. At this point, I was in conservation mode -- I pretty much just followed the crowd. My pace slowed from 20-minute miles to 25-minute miles. Towards the top it became quite congested, and the people going up often had to wait to the side for 10 or 20 seconds at a time as 5 or 10 people in a row would pass on the downhill. By this point, I was feeling okay -- not really nauseous or anything, but pretty tired. I could feel the altitude, and at one point, it felt like my heart was racing and pounding, but for the most part, I think following everyone else's pace probably helped me to keep from overdoing it. I never got an altitude (or exertion?) headache the whole race! I think all the training on 14'ers this summer definitely paid off! Eric, and then Dan passed me coming down about a mile from the summit -- they were in 100th place by then, so already I knew that they must be having a bad time, since their goals were to finish close to 5 hrs. I could find out later that Dan was also experiencing leg cramps and Eric wasn't feeling real well either.
Just before the one mile to go sign, I passed the Cirque (11.9 miles), an incredible area carved out by glaciers. The rescue team was sitting on the overlook with kazoos taking requests from the passing runners! They started the Star Wars theme which really got me inspired. I had been warned of the last mile, as it has been referred to as 'the Green Mile' -- but I saw no signs of upchuck or nausea anywhere. For the most part, people looked like they were doing all right. Some looked like the altitude might be wearing on them, but everyone was starting to get excited because the summit was now in sight!
The only obstacle from here to the summit is a series of steep switchbacks called the 16 Golden Stairs. The trail becomes quite rough and rocky at this point, with high step-ups to go over. For many people, this causes sheer agony. My cramps definitely made this a challenge for me, but by this time I was feeling a little bit better. I had spent so much time at 14,000 feet this summer that the altitude was not an issue for me. It was just the sheer endurance factor of having to climb uphill for more than 4 hours.
Here is a view of the Congo line stretching back down the mountain! Quite impressive -- it is hard to imagine getting lost on this race course, unless one happens to be strong enough to be in front of the pack. To be able to keep decent time, you definitely need to be down the first mile before you meet the crowd coming up.
Here is the view of the final few hundred yards. Just about this time, I met Jotham coming down. He seemed in good spirits and didn't look like he was afflicted with leg cramps like Dan and I. Seeing him so close to the top gave me encouragement, because I was wondering if I could beat him in this race. I figured that he might go out too fast in the beginning and burn himself out so that I could catch him on the downhill. Steve Eickmann was right behind him.
The final switchback was easy for me -- I could hear the crowd cheering people on at the top and was looking forward to seeing Wendy and her kids.
I powered up to the cones under the banner and the race directors tore off one of my bib tags and logged my time. I reached the summit (13.32 miles) in 4:18:47, just a few minutes slower than what the pace calculator showed I should do for a 7 hr ascent. At this point, most people just turned around and started shuffling down the mountain. I decided to take a little detour . . .
First I snapped a picture of the incredible views. We were almost as high as the clouds! Actually, the weather was a bit cool and windy -- I would estimated that it was in the mid 40's. The cloud looked threatening, but didn't seem the type that would turn into a lightning storm. I was more worried about a passing rain shower.
I was a bit disappointed that the race didn't actually go to the summit. It seemed like a major cheat to have come up 7815 feet only to stop 50 feet below the summit! I decided to walk a little higher and see what was up there. A cog train filled with tourists was just departing for the hour-long ride back down to Manitou Springs. Little did they know that at one time, Matt Carpenter, the record holder of the Pikes Peak Marathon, had once run down in only 1h15m!
The tourists depart. At this point, I probably should have headed down the mountain, but I wanted to have a better look around and use the restroom. This was my first and only restroom break for the whole race.
A tourist was kind enough to snap this picture of me on the summit. From the smile on my face, it is clear that I was proud of this accomplishment. But the race was only halfway over. The best was yet to come . . . I wandered over into the parking lot looking for the highest point but was disappointed to see that it was perhaps a tenth of a mile away. I decided that it would take too much time and headed back towards the race. Although I was basking in my achievement, I probably got a little carried away -- I spent almost 22 minutes on top!
I refilled my Camelback with more full-strength Gatorade, put in my remaining three Gu gels and also picked up a few more from the aid station (they had Hammer Gel -- I didn't plan on eating them during the race, but wanted to see what they tasted like for later). I wasn't cold, although Jotham had been freezing at the top, so I left my long sleeve shirt with Wendy. I also took a minute to switch socks, which I am sure played a key role in maintaining my foot comfort on the way down. I also put an ankle brace on my right ankle, as well as some mini-Gators to keep out the sand and gravel. My legs were so cramped that Wendy had to help me put my shoes on, otherwise I'd probably still be stuck up there in my socks! I gave my little camera to Wendy and showed her how to take a video of me leaving for the second half of the race. With my pack set, I headed off for the fun part -- the downhill! You can view the clip here (Windows Media Player format):
Video clip of my departure broadband: 2297 Kb modem: 234 Kb
I was pretty excited when I started down -- one of the reasons I run up hills is so that I can run down -- since the downhills are my favorite part. Most people dread the downhill, or at least view it with suspicion. By this time, their legs feel like putty or lead weights, and running downhill is mentally exhausting as well. Since the brain runs off of the same glycogen as the muscles, a shortage can lead to problems, and each year several people end up with bad falls and a few broken bones or sprains. For many, most of the pain in the race comes in the downhill part. A recent news article covering the marathon discusses how the descent can sometimes the more difficult part of the race. The old adage, 'It's all downhill from here', takes a twisted turn in reality, as the eccentric motions of downhill running conspire to cause extreme pain for some. Being aware of all this, I still headed down in high spirits. I was hoping to be able to descend the 12.89 miles in only 2 hrs if I was feeling well enough to run the whole way. Despite spending 22 min on top, I was wondering if I could catch Jotham.
It was very congested near the top, so I couldn't gain much speed before I'd either hit a cluster of people still coming up, or get stuck behind slower people going down. I tried a few technical moves to pass small bunches of people (like running up on the rocks beside the trail next to a 10 foot drop-off), but in the end decided that I better just play it safe since I didn't want to fall or hurt my weak ankle. Plus, I wasn't sure how much I could trust my legs -- they were pretty tired by this point. I put in some good speed spurts when the trail wasn't too technical, but after a mile or so, my leg cramps returned with a vengeance. This time it was mostly my hamstrings -- some guy passing by noticed my troubles and asked where I was cramping -- he suggested that I try to run with feet out ahead of me to stretch the hamstrings at every step. I tried this and it helped some, but it was still pretty slow going. Another guy (actually, this might have been the guy that finished just ahead of me, a 71 year old!) gave me a salt tablet, which I think was very helpful. Pretty soon I was back to a running pace, albeit slow. I ended up pacing off of various groups as I went down, since I figured that an all out run would not be very wise at this point -- first I walked behind some guys at a good clip, then I latched onto another group which was doing a slow run -- I followed them for a mile or so. One of them near me fell and skidded to a stop in the dirt, which must have hurt. Evidently it wasn't the first time for him. As my hamstring troubles diminished (maybe because of the salt tablet), I felt more confident about running.
I was elated when I got to Barr Camp -- only 7 miles left! By this point, I was feeling pretty tired, but definitely not the totally wasted feeling people describe when they 'bonk'. I jogged a bit, then walked some, maybe for a mile. I then decided that if I wanted to finish in a descent amount of time, I definitely needed to try to run the rest of the way (otherwise, I would be closer to 8 hrs than 7 hrs). I paced with some more joggers through the flat stretches and walked on the uphill parts. Then as it gradually got steeper and steeper, I found a stride and soon was passing people. By this time, the pack had thinned out to the point where sometimes I couldn't see anybody up ahead, or just one person. I started playing a mental game of trying to pass people. I got behind some people that were going at a good clip and paced off of them for a while, but then I would say to myself -- 'I think I can go faster than that' -- so I went ahead and passed them. Each time I did this, I picked up speed, and was still feeling fine -- even energized -- perhaps due to the adrenaline. At around 5 miles to go the trail starts descending in earnest, and by the time I passed the rock arch, it was bombs away. I just let gravity do its job and offered as little resistance as possible, as you can see from my splits. The splits are a bit deceiving because I stopped to get some more Gu out of my pack for a final refueling -- I think at times I might have been running close to a 6 min/mile pace. Running down the W's was simply awesome! The trail was so smooth and straight (besides at the turns) that I was just flying down the mountain. By this time I was passing all sorts of runners. I was going so fast that it felt like they were standing still -- I was probably going twice as fast as most of them. By 2.9 to go I was still feeling really well and was happy with my speed -- the dreaded bonk was nowhere to be found! I came careening down the hill and passed an aid station -- no need for water now -- at this pace I would be done in just a few minutes.
At around 1.9 to go, I tweaked my ankle a bit and I could feel the cramps starting to return -- soon they were back with a vengeance and I had to slow way down. It was a bit embarrassing because I had just passed some people like a banshee, but they soon caught up with me and then passed me! I decided that I only had a mile and half left and that I would just try to run through the cramps, stretching with each step. Soon I ran past the guy playing Chariots of Fire this energized me even more -- I was starting to get psyched up for the finish! When hit the pavement, it got a bit harder to keep running, and by the Cog Railway, I cramped so bad that I had to just stop and stretch on a fence. The train had just gotten to the bottom, and all the tourists came out and were cheering for me, and all I could do was just stop and stretch -- talk about embarrassment. But I still had a smile (albeit a sheepish one) on my face. Despite all the pain, I was still having a great time. About this time, the 71-yr old came running by. The last half mile was quite painful -- I alternated between terrible cramps and feeling like I was on the verge of them. The crowd energized me however, and I milked them a bit, waving my hands and giving people high-5's. When I heard my name announced, a flood of emotion overcame me. I couldn't see the finish line because it was around the corner, but I held up my arms and put in a final speed spurt as I rounded the corner and ran under the banner. It was a great finish to a spectacular race, at least from my perspective.
At 7:10:15, it was over. As I ran into the tent, I had to go through a gauntlet of race workers. Someone logged my time and another person put the finisher's medal around my neck. Next a medical person asked me if I was feeling all right and if I needed any medical attention. I made a semi-coherent comment about just having some leg cramps, but otherwise I felt fine. I definitely didn't want them to force an IV into me, so I made sure to look mentally and physically strong. I then made a mistake -- I snarfed down about 4 cups worth of their weak Gatorade, knowing that I needed to rehydrate. This influx of fluid soon started to make me feel nauseous. It took about half an hour and a salt pill before I started to feel better. Soon the awards ceremony began, and I felt well enough to eat a few potato chips. By the time we went to take a shower at the city pool, I was feeling much better. I drank some of my favorite recovery drink, chocolate soy milk, and by the time we got to Taco Bell, I was feeling great. My energy level was high and I was definitely ready to eat -- I was starving. The other guys were still feeling pretty sick to their stomachs, but I was able to eat a 7-layer burrito, a bean burrito, and Baja Chalupa, and still felt like I could eat more, but didn't. I figured that I better not overdo it. When I got home, I went for a 2 mile walk to try to stave off soreness -- I still had plenty of energy, even at the end of the day, whereas all Jotham wanted to do was crawl into his bed.
Altogether, I thoroughly enjoyed the race; it was a grand experience for me. I had a smile plastered on my face nearly the entire time (which multiple people took note of -- hopefully I cheered up some people that weren't having such a good time). The camaraderie was fantastic, and I think I met all my goals to my satisfaction -- which were to have fun, to not require medical attention, and to run it in 7 hrs. Besides the cramping, I really didn't have much pain at all -- and I never felt really bad on the course. I never felt like I bonked either! I probably used up most of my glycogen stores by the A-Frame, where the cramping started. But I kept refueling and rehydrating and never hit the proverbial 'wall'. If I did, it was a really thin one that I was able to punch right through -- maybe when I walked the mile right after Barr Camp. But even then I think I was just being a little bit lazy and trying to conserve my energy. I also was not afflicted by other common ailments, such as blisters and toe jams (many people lose toe nails after the race). From all my training this summer, I learned how to prevent blisters and chafing -- I had none of these problems this time, or at least not to the point where they caused me any pain (I found out later that my backpack had chafed a bit on the back of my neck). I still learned a couple new things:
Altogether, I was very pleased with the experience and think that I'll definitely do it again next year. Next time, I'll run it more like a race and try to go for a good time, maybe under 6 hours. The cramping was definitely my limiting factor this year -- without the cramps and time spent at the top, I should have been very capable of doing it in 6:30.
So again, thanks for your encouragement and inspiration. I'm also thankful to God for protecting me and sustaining me through the race. I didn't even come close to falling, especially when I was running like a crazy lunatic. It is only by His grace that we survive through a single day, let alone a race like Pikes Peak.
So in summary, the race was fabulous -- I had lots of fun and will definitely be signing up for next year. I think I'm definitely hooked on trail running and will start looking for some more races to try. I think I'll also run the Barr Mtn Trail Race next year, because the lower half of Pikes was such a blast to run.
I left my GPS with Wendy at the start line -- I thought it might be too distracting and annoying to carry for seven hours. I soon discovered that I could keep track of my pace just as well with a stop watch and the handy mileage signs. For those unfamiliar with trail running paces or speeds, I've created a fun little color-coded guide that tries to describe how fast a given speed is in a qualitative sense. Of course, what is a fast pace going uphill is comparatively slow going downhill.
You can look up my official race results here. Be aware that my descent time includes the 22 min I spent on top.
So here are my unofficial race splits:
|2003 Pikes Peak Marathon Results||Jonathan Vigh||Unofficial Splits||indicates estimated split times|
|For fun, here are some color-coded speed zones to help understand my splits||< 0.1 mph: you aren't going to finish if you average this speed for a split||0.1 - 0.9 mph: uh-oh, this is going to take a long time to finish at this speed||1.0 - 1.9 mph: a slow walk -- must be very steep AND less air||2.0 - 2.9 mph: a good uphill walking pace in the steep sections||3.0 - 3.9 mph: walking (this is a fast pace going up hill near 14,000 feet, but rather slow for going downhill)|
|4.0 - 4.9 mph: a slow run||5.0 - 5.9 mph: a moderate run||6.0 - 6.9 mph: a fast run||7.0 - 7.9 mph: flying down the mountain||8.0 - 8.9 mph: bombs away||> 9.0 mph: inconceivable (you must be Matt Carpenter or Bernie Boettcher)|
|Pikes Peak Splits||split time||split distance||pace (min/mile)||time (minutes in decimal)||average split speed (mph)|
|first 1.32 miles||0:16:11||1.32||0:12:16||12.2667||4.8913|
|12 to go||0:16:58||1.00||0:16:58||16.9667||3.5363|
|11 to go||0:17:23||1.00||0:17:23||17.3833||3.4516|
|10 to go||0:15:11||1.00||0:15:11||15.1833||3.9517|
|9 to go||0:13:16||1.00||0:13:16||13.2667||4.5226|
|8 to go||0:13:31||1.00||0:13:31||13.5167||4.4390|
|7 to go||0:12:25||1.00||0:12:25||12.4167||4.8322|
|6 to go||0:19:57||1.00||0:19:57||19.9500||3.0075|
|5 to go||0:21:03||1.00||0:21:03||21.0500||2.8504|
|4 to go||0:24:36||1.00||0:24:36||24.6000||2.4390||2 miles:|
|3 to go||0:28:36||1.00||0:28:36||28.6000||2.0979||0:53:12|
|2 to go||0:27:40||1.00||0:27:40||27.6667||2.1687|
|1 to go||0:32:02||1.00||0:32:02||32.0333||1.8731|
|time at top||0:21:56|
|11.9 to go||0:15:23||1.00||0:15:23||15.3833||3.9003||2 miles:|
|10.9 to go||0:13:23||1.00||0:13:23||13.3833||4.4832||0:28:46|
|9.9 to go||0:11:42||1.00||0:11:42||11.7000||5.1282|
|8.9 to go||0:18:34||1.00||0:18:34||18.5667||3.2316|
|7.9 to go||0:12:08||1.00||0:12:08||12.1333||4.9451|
|6.9 to go||0:13:11||1.00||0:13:11||13.1833||4.5512|
|5.9 to go||0:10:56||1.00||0:10:56||10.9333||5.4878|
|4.9 to go||0:12:15||1.00||0:12:15||12.2500||4.8980|
|3.9 to go||0:06:46||1.00||0:06:46||6.7667||8.8670|
|2.9 to go||0:08:32||1.00||0:08:32||8.5333||7.0313|
|1.9 to go||0:08:00||1.00||0:08:00||8.0000||7.5000|
|0.9 to go||0:08:55||1.00||0:08:55||8.9333||6.7164|
|time to top||4:18:49||13.32||0:19:26||19.4333||3.0875|
|time on top||0:21:56|
|time to bottom||2:29:42||12.89||0:11:37||11.6167||5.1650|
|time if I hadn't stopped at top||6:48:36|
|next year's goal||6:00:00|
To see the splits for Eric, Dan, and Jonathan side by side, click here.
Here are a couple of other interesting statistics:
I think the reason that I didn't bonk can be attributed to the fact that I adequately refueled and rehydrated, and that I didn't push my pace close to my limits. All total, on race day I consumed over 6000 calories, and 3500 of those calories were before and during the race. Here's a summary of what I ate (roughly in order):
|Date||Item||Calories||Daily Total||Protein g||Fat g||Carbs g||Food Weight||Sodium||Potassium|
|08/17/03||2 servings Raisin Bran Crunch||380||380||6.0||2.0||90.0||420.0||420.0|
|Sunday||8th Continent Chocolate Soy Milk||140||520||7.0||3.0||23.0||190||400|
|9 Gu gels||900||1678||0.0||18.0||180.0||495||360|
|16 servings Gatorade||800||2718||0.0||0.0||200.0||1200||400|
|3 servings flavorless goldfish (Original flavor -- don't buy again!)||420||3138||6.0||18.0||57.0||690|
|lots of cups of really watered down Gatorade (maybe 6 servings)||300||3438||0.0||0.0||75.0||450||150|
|few potato chips||160||3678||2.0||8.0||20.0||180|
|8th Continent Chocolate Soy Milk||140||3818||7.0||3.0||23.0||190||400|
|2 servings 8th Continent Chocolate Soy Milk||280||4098||14.0||6.0||46.0||380.0||800|
|Boca Cheese Burger||130||5600||8.0||8.0||6.0||420|
|KS big bun||220||5820||8.0||2.5||43.0||440|
|Vanilla Sun Soy||110||6010||7.0||3.0||15.0||95||300|
|chocolate chip cookies||292||6302||6.0||12.0||40.0||200|
I definitely plan to keep on running, and will be looking for some shorter races to run this Fall (maybe a 5 K and a half-marathon, preferably on trails). I definitely plan to run the 2004 Pikes Peak Marathon, and will probably enter the 2004 Barr Mountain Trail Race as well (this only goes halfway, so it is more of a speed race than an endurance race).
If this race report has inspired you to run the Pikes Peak Marathon next year, please let me know. Next year, the race will be held August 22, 2004 -- registration begins January 1, 2004.
If you can't seem to get enough of marathon stories, here are a few links you might like to look at:
Bill Wright's 2003 Ascent and Marathon (Doubler!) Race Report Bill's race reports are extensive and very interesting. Check out his previous year's races as well.
Pikes Peak News Story Archives Matt Carpenter has archived the various news articles from this and previous year's races.
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