View Full Version : I ran my first race today!
08-20-2005, 09:06 PM
Last year I started getting more into running for its wonderful health benefits. Of course, just running around aimlessly can only amuse me for so long.
I decided earlier this year that it was time I register myself for a race. Not being one to take matters like this lightly, I decided to sign up for the Pikes Peak Ascent. For those of you not familiar with it, the Ascent is a half marathon (13.32 miles - 21.4km) up Pikes Peak.
Pikes Peak is no small mountain. Even though it's only the 32nd tallest mountain in Colorado, the summit sits at a lofty 14,110 feet (4300m) above sea level. The race itself starts down in the city of Manitou Springs at 6,295 feet. yes, that's right, this race has 7,815 feet of elevation gain throughout the course.
I've been training my legs off for this race all year. This includes twice weekly hikes up what we call "The Incline" - a former tourist trap cable car train that goes up the side of Mt. Manitou and gains 2011 feet in 1 mile. Think of it as the stairway from hell. Additionally, I had spent most of the weekends in the past two months doing my version of exterme altitude training. That is, driving to the top of Pikes Peak (of course, there's a highway up it! and a train too...) running down three miles, back up to the top, down two miles, back up, then down one mile and back up.
All this hard work seemed to have paid off. I set an attainable, yet challenging goal of completing in under 4 hours. I certainly surprised myself today when I managed to complete the course in 3 hours, 35 minutes, and 9 seconds!
Next year I'm doing the Pikes Peak Marathon (same as the Ascent, but you run back down the way you came up to get the full 26.62 miles!)
Whew... I need to take a nice hot bath now...
08-21-2005, 11:13 AM
Wow! Congratulations! I am in awe that you set yourself such a challenging goal and then acheived it! Your training program sounds pretty grueling. I really admire people who have that kind of grit!
My much more modest goal for the summer was to run 20 minutes continuously. At the start of the summer, I had been interval training since January (which was the first time in my life I had done any actual running for exercise) and could run at most 5 minutes, but then had to stop and walk. But I jumped into the middle of a Couch tp 5K plan (http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml). I'm now running 25 minutes a day, and making what feels like rapid improvement in my conditioning.
I haven't really experienced this phenomenon before: put demands on your body, and it will improve! Wild! I've embarked on exercise plans before, but the gains in fitness were always very small and gradual, I think because I just didn't push myself as hard as I should. It's been amazing for me to see the changes in my body. Before, short intervals of running drove my heart was up to 185 BPM, but I kept doing those intervals, and lengthening them. Now I can now run a couple miles with my heart ticking along at 155-165 BPM. That's insane! Who knew the human body could transform itself like that over the space three months? There are visible signs, like my leg muscles growing, but also imagine what's happening inside, invisibly! My heart muscle getting stronger, pumping more blood with each beat, new capillaries growing to provide oxygen to the body . . . The mind boggles.
Maybe some day, inspired by your story, I too, will run up Pike's Peak. But I think I'll try the one in Iowa (http://www.iowadnr.com/parks/state_park_list/pikes_peak.html), which is only a 400 foot ascent. It was discovered by the same Zebulon Pike, when he was a green lieutenant!
08-21-2005, 02:59 PM
That's awesome, Podkayne -- I started running last year in the same situation as you, and amazingly enough used the same couch potato to 5K plan you are working on to get started! I finally hit a point near the end of that program where I could just keep running for as long as I wanted to. It works very well!
What I recommend is finding some friends or acquaintances that are near your fitness level and stick together with your workouts. That's the only thing that motivates my 5:30AM runs on Wednesday and Fridays -- the fact that two of my friends are always there too. Keep up the good work.
And that's hilarious, I had no ide that Iowa had a Pikes Peak as well! (Really strange, considering I grew up only 74 miles away from it...)
08-21-2005, 03:40 PM
That's very encouraging! I think I might have reached the run-forever point, because my HR is staying very steady throughout the run, and I'm almost as fast in the second half of the run as the first. (I run 12.5 minutes, and turn around, and after 12.5 more minutes have elapsed I'm almost back to the starting point, which is a new and exciting development.) I've had the urge to start running much farther, but the Plan has been good to me, so I'm stickin' to it and increasing gradually. :)
The "official" goal I set with my trainer was to run a 5K by the fall, and I thought I'd never make that, which is why I set my 20-minute goal . . . but now I think I'll be able to do the 5K within a month, easily. For a long time, I've thought of myself as a not-very-fit person, someone who has a hard time acheiving fitness goals. I figured that as long as I was excercising, that was a victory in and of itself, and I didn't need to push myself to acheive arbitrary milestones. I mean, why set myself up for disappointment? But think that attitude is starting to change.
I find that as long as I keep changing my workout, I stay motivated. I fantasize about my next
workout (is that weird?) and get excited each time my longest interval increases. The gym's opening back up next week when the semester starts, and I'm looking forward to meeting with my trainer and planning speed intervals on the treadmill. Over the summer I've only been running three times a week, partly because that's what the plan advises, and partly because running on the road has been a little hard on my joints, especially at first. But last spring I was running five days a week on the treadmill without much complaining from the joints, so I think I'll be upping the total amount of time I spend training, doing speedwork on the treadmill and endurance on the weekends.
Thanks for the advice and the encouragement!
Do I remember reading that you're from Dubuque? That's where I'm from, too.
08-21-2005, 05:15 PM
Wow! Congratulations, that's just plain awesome. Go you! That's quite a target to set for your first challenge, a freakin' half marathon up a mountain! I'm very impressed!
I stumbled through my first 5k this summer, and plan to do another one this fall, and oh boy... it does feel great to see improvement in my training but I feel like I'll be a beginner runner forever ;) It always encourages me to read others' experiences of getting started. I'm running 3 times a week at the moment, one distance run on Sunday (did my first 5k since the race today. Bleargh. Need to work on that!), speed training on Tuesday, and just a gentle 30 minutes on Thursdays. Uh, this week I also ran on Wednesday for the fun of it. It is very hard to imagine myself as a person who runs 30 minutes outside of a required fitness schedule, for fun! I am very overweight and so my time is nothing fantastic but man does it feel good to have completed a race.
Nicest thing was that everyone up the back of the pack in the 5k were encouraging each other to finish the damn thing. Such amazing people.
08-21-2005, 08:20 PM
For a long time, I've thought of myself as a not-very-fit person, someone who has a hard time acheiving fitness goals. I figured that as long as I was excercising, that was a victory in and of itself, and I didn't need to push myself to acheive arbitrary milestones. I mean, why set myself up for disappointment? But think that attitude is starting to change.
You know, I've found my crazy co-workers that run 100 mile ultra marathons were right. That is, the biggest challenge in running is mental. Once I saw myself starting to make progress and hitting my goals, everything became so much easier to do. Now I run 7 miles before work twice a week and think nothing of it. I'll even occasionally do 12 miles after work without blinking an eye. Two years ago I never would have believed this is possible. (As a side note, I'm about 60 pounds lighter than I was when I moved to Colorado three years ago! Although, the fact that I started playing ice hockey regularly accounts for about half that weight loss, the rest is from running)
Do I remember reading that you're from Dubuque? That's where I'm from, too.
Not far from there; I grew up across the river in Galena.
08-21-2005, 08:21 PM
That's quite a target to set for your first challenge, a freakin' half marathon up a mountain!
I guess I've always been one of those "if you're going to do something, go all out" types of people. :D
08-21-2005, 08:36 PM
Whoah! WTG EnginNerd! I am in awe! Seriously... I used to run track, but long-distance running... ouch! Distance training is grueling work.
Hey Podkayne, it's pretty incredible, isn't it? If you're already at a relatively healthy body rate and don't have any respiratory illnesses, you can build up your aerobic strength remarkably quickly. Much more challenging is getting your leg muscles to the "run forever" point. Good aerobic performance can be achieved in a matter of weeks or a few months, but the muscles take longer. Keep at it! This year, I started riding my bicycle everywhere - to work, to class, into town to run errands. At the end of six months, I had gained six pounds of muscle, all in my legs (which had grown scary-big) and I could turn the pedals forever. It feels good, and it sure is fun!
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