Lately, I have taken on the mindset that a birthday should be a time to celebrate life and do something that you have always wanted to do but never gotten around to. In recent years, I have sneaked out work early and hiked up to Boulder falls (fortunately before it closed) and I watched Top Gun at Red Rocks. Since I am turning 30 this year, I decided something a bit more extreme was in order.
The other day, I registered for the Ascent portion of the Pike’s Peak Marathon. Since the peak is about 13 miles from Manitou Springs, CO (just outside of Colorado Springs), someone thought it would be a good idea to create a marathon race that goes to the top and back. I, being of (arguably) sound mind and body, only registered for the Ascent; a one-way race to the top with a bus ride back down.
People have been doing this yearly since about 1956. As if a 7700′ vertical climb (11% avg grade) is not enough fun, you’re doing it at an altitude of up to 14,000 feet where you only get about 2/3 the oxygen you would at sea level. They run the race in the middle of summer, but even then there can be snow falling on the peak.
I really don’t know if I am up for this craziness or not. I have been embarrassingly lax on my training lately, but perhaps a daunting goal like this will provide me the much-needed motivation. At least it will be nice to say that I tried it and I didn’t die. There is probably a reason they have have the registered trademark for “America’s Ultimate Challenge”.