2014 Pikes Peak Marathon

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

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday, 12/09/10 Green Mountain

It was a beautiful morning, mid 50's, calm, sunny and all week I was looking forward to throwing down another quick(er) run like I did last Thursday.  I used the bathroom at Chautauqua to drop a few lbs. and when I came out, the wind was just cranking, which shifted my mood a bit.  I started off across Chautauqua with the wind nearly stopping me in my tracks several times and knocking me off balance.  I made it to the start of the Amphitheater Trail in 4:43 and as I started up, I quickly decided that I was just not that into it anymore.  My legs felt OK, but I was just not at all into it mentally, no willingness to dig in and I knew within a few steps that I would be lucky to break 33 if I decided to push.

I turned around and headed back down to the car, not quite sure what I was going to do, but since I knew I was not going to be going fast, I at least wanted to change out of my race flats and maybe grab a windbreaker if the wind was going to persist.  On the way back to Chautauqua, the wind completely died down and the day was warm and pleasant again. 

To save time, I drove back up to the Gregory TH, parked and started up the Gregory Trail at a very mellow pace, just enjoying the sunshine and now calmness.  Just before descending to the second wooden bridge, I cut straight to follow the faint trail that sticks to the canyon floor.  This soon fizzled out, leaving me bushwhacking in a choked dry creek bed.  I cut left and up, in the general direction of the trail, but intended to stick to the ridge as much as I could. 

Soon I was back on the trail, but only stuck to it for another 60-90 seconds and then jumped off again just before the upper steep rocky pitch and continued on the ridge.  The going was slow, but fun as I zig zagged to pick my way through the ledges, deadfall, cacti and yucca.  Again I met up with the trail at the top of Gregory and followed it to the Ranger Cabin, where I again felt inclined to get away from things and worked my way up the hillside, hiking up the steep and deadfall laden hillside which eventually brought me to the base of the steps on the NW Ridge section of Ranger.  Again, I casually jogged the trail while it stuck to the ridge, but alternately cut my way along the ridgecrest and did some heavy bushwhacking and scrambling near the summit.

Once on top, I figured I would make up for my slow ascent by cranking down the front side, but within 20 seconds, I rolled my right ankle heavily.  I cussed up a storm as I hopped forward, trying to shrug it off and was fearing that this was my long overdue descent injury that would keep me grounded for a while.  The pain surprisingly started to subside within 2 minutes, but my mind was still rattled by it, as this sort of thing happens so infrequently to me.  As I was pondering this, I carelessly stepped on a patch of snow/ice that looked to be dirty enough for good traction and sent me for a huge flailing slip and slide, propelling my down the trail much faster than I could controllably handle.  Somehow though, I managed to pull out of it with out further injury and just resolved to take it really easy and careful the remainder of the descent.  I again got off the beaten track and took the NE Ridge, occasionally stopping to toss logs and branches down the hillside that might have ended up there from previous wind storms.

Though it was not the run (way more hiking and bushwhacking than running) I had hoped, it was still great to get out on a gorgeous December day and see some new scenery.

Splits:

Ranger Cabin:  18:30ish
4-Way:  38:28
Summit:  42:12

Descent:  22:20

1:04:32 RT