2014 Pikes Peak Marathon

2014 Pikes Peak Marathon
2014 Pikes Peak Marathon, Ready to Rock (or be rocked)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

7/09/09 Quandary Peak

Quandary Peak
East Ridge from Monte Christo TH
7/09/09
5.4 miles/3,370 vertical
Jeff Valliere, Nate Bahrenburg

After nursing a minor foot injury the last few weeks and being crazy busy with all kinds of random things, it was high time to go run a 14er. My foot was feeling better and since Allison, her friend Stef and Nate’s wife Gina wanted to go to Breckenridge for the day, Nate and I decided to make a quick trip up Quandary.

This was Nate’s second fourteener (he joined me for Princeton as his first back in 1997), so after a long hiatus, I was not sure what to expect. Nate runs some to stay fit, so I knew he would be strong.

I started up the trail with Nate as a bit of a warm up, as my plan was to give him a head start and catch him along the way. I went back to the car, ate/drank a bit and got ready. I took my time, sure that I would catch Nate before the top.

I started my watch at exactly 9:11am, 30 minutes after Nate began. I felt OK, but my foot was acting up, where the pain increased little by little as I went along. I was also feeling a little run down and dopey, from only getting 3.5 hours of sleep the previous night. I typically get 8+ hours, but for some unknown reason have been sleeping like crap lately.

I was hoping to break an hour, but was really not sure how close I would come, as I was really starting to favor my left foot. Aside from the foot and the lack of sleep, my fitness generally felt good. I was surprised at where the trail was routed after tree-line, as I have not been up here in the summer since 1995.

The trail was in great shape, but as it got rockier higher up, I was being really careful as to where and how I placed my left foot. I was starting to pass people and goats, but still no Nate…. Did he hide behind a bush and is now watching me chase a ghost?

As I neared what I thought to be the top, I was sure I was going to break an hour, but I naively had forgotten that last spot where you realize you have another 100+ vertical, that today was covered in snow. It was here I spotted Nate on his descent, where he informed me that he made it up in 1:25!!

He asked how I was doing and I huffed out “crappy!”. I tagged the top in 1:02:56, and sucked down one of my two 7oz bottles of Heed. Everyone on top was well dressed and looked at me like I was nuts in running shorts, t-shirt and not much else, though it was a very pleasant day.

My sub goal was to run the round trip in 1:45 or better, but as soon as I started down, I was sure this would be unlikely. My main goal was to quickly catch Nate and hike down with him, but he was making surprisingly quick work of the descent. The rocks and talus were just killing my foot with each awkward step and several steps were just sending severe bolts of pain, nearly causing me to fall down. I gingerly hobbled down the rocks, always trying to strategically place the gimpy foot.

I was so bummed by this, as I have been seeing my PT for two weeks and felt I was making good progress, now it was worse than it had ever been. I hopped along for what seemed like forever and never did catch Nate, just the occasional glimpse of him ahead.

I finally reached the trailhead in a total time of 1:42:01 and was a bit surprised by this. I should have been stoked, but was more upset over the fact that although I had been running Green Mountain almost daily with minimal pain, I was now seeing Pikes Peak ambitions slip away.

I soaked my throbbing foot in the ice cold creek for a short while, talking to Nate about his hike/run. Not that I am that surprised, but I was very impressed that he did the round trip in 2:10, after not getting up a 14er in 12 years, wearing hiking shoes and carrying a clunky fanny pack. I am suspicious that he might be doing some stealth training and not telling me.

Not sure what I am going to do about this foot thing, besides continue with my treatment regimen and ride my bike to stay fit. Things do not seem all that hopeful at this point and am starting to think I have some sort of Pikes Peak curse.

Splits:

Treeline: 14:50
False summit: 41ish
Summit: 1:02:56
Finish: 1:42:01