Thursday, August 11, 2011

Four weeks 'til Pikes Peak

In exactly four short weeks, I will be crashing on my sister's futon in Colorado Springs, resting up for our 3AM wakeup call for the 2011 Pikes Peak Challenge

This event is a 13.1 mile hike to the summit of Pikes Peak, one of America's most iconic mountains. Funds raised by hikers benefit victims of traumatic brain injury, through the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado. An important cause, and the hike is a beautiful tribute. 

This will be my second time participating in the Pikes Peak Challenge, and my second ascent of the mountain. I'm really looking forward to it!

My posts from last year's training and event:
Stepping it up for the Pikes Peak Challenge
The Final Countdown (training outline for final 16 days leading to hike)
Pikes Peak Challenge: A little humor, and those famous donuts
We made it!
Pikes Peak Challenge Recap: Part 1
Pikes Peak Challenge Recap: Part 2

While training for last year's hike, my main goal was to get fit in general. I was transitioning out of a more sedentary lifestyle, and trying to wrap my brain around what was necessary for conditioning my body for the hike. I ended up doing a lot of walking and jogging, but not much else. Once I was actually completing the hike on the day of, I quickly realized that strength training and some agility training would have greatly helped me navigate the rocky and steep terrain.This time around, I have focused mainly on running (thanks, marathon training) but clearly need to get aboard the strength training and agility exercises train. I've got four weeks to make this count, and am going to figure this out asap. More on the specific training plan to follow!

My overall mood for this year's hike is excited / laid back, now that I know what to expect. Last year, I was nervous / excited... also freaking myself out, reading stories of horrific accidents in Yosemite on Half Dome (which does not at all compare to Pikes Peak, it's way more dangerous), and the high risk of lightning strikes (which can honestly be said about any mountain of the same elevation). I panicked about my gear, driving my sister crazy with questions like "Annie, will I need technical fabric underwear?" I distracted myself with funny stories about Pikes Peak, like the famous donuts served at the summit house.

I've got my work cut out for me, but am so, so excited to get back on the trail.

You do the talking: Do you like hiking? There aren't many rigorous trails in SE Wisconsin, but there's one super hard one that I can't get enough of (TWSS!), it's my favorite. It's the black loop at the Lapham Peak Unit - Kettle Moraine State Forest, for you locals.

Have you ever visited Pikes Peak? 
A fun story: One of my favorite bloggers, Kath, has a special connection to the mountain. Her mother wrote a book, Purple Mountain Majesties, about the woman who visited Pikes Peak and wrote the poem that inspired "America, The Beautiful." Neat, huh? When Kath blogged about the book, I left a comment and her mother was so sweet to respond. This year, I'll carry a copy of her book in my pack and take a photo with it at the top!
Side note: In researching a link for Half Dome (Yosemite National Park, California) I came across a remarkable essay from Gina Bartiromo, who survived a fall from the cables and recovered from TBI and other injuries. Her story is truly incredible and inspiring!


Alison said...

Way cool that you're doing this again. I spent a lot of time on the black loop at Lapham this winter, but cross-country skiing, not hiking! It is nice and brutal. Would be fun to experience it when it isn't covered in snow.

Paige @ Running Around Normal said...

I remember this from last year! So awesome you're giving it a round 2:)

Raya said...

This sounds phenomenal!!! Can't wait to read the recap!!! Have you considered trying CrossFit as part of training? I haven't tried it myself but from what I hear it might be good for your needs!