Want to improve your overall happiness and satisfaction in life? Truly celebrate someone else’s success.
I cannot remember exactly when he started talking about it, but it was somewhere shortly after we met. My husband wanted to run the Pikes Peak Double. This consists of two races that take place over the same weekend. On Saturday, you run 13.1 miles to the top of Pikes Peak, which has an elevation of 14,115 feet. On Sunday, you run a full marathon up and then back down the mountain.
The amount of available oxygen at 14,000+ feet is about one-third of what it is at sea level. To give you an idea of how difficult these races are, the rule of thumb for the Ascent is to take your road marathon time and add 30 minutes. These are not races for the faint of heart.
In the Pikes Peak region, the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon are a big deal. On race day every year, nearly all of my running friends are lined up at their computers waiting for registration to open. For many people in this area, their entire year of training revolves around preparation for these two races. Many of the running posts I saw over the summer consisted of friends of mine at various places on the mountain. The races are an annual pilgrimage for most of my local friends who run.
A few brave souls take on the double, doing both events in the same weekend. Steve and I have both run these races before. I have done one or the other five times, but never both in the same weekend. Steve is now up to a total of ten finishes. He has talked about doubling for years. As a couple where both of us runs, works and raises a family, we have found getting in adequate training to be difficult. It takes time for us to drive down to the mountain and then spend the entire day running up and down. When our kids were little, we had to either hire a baby sitter or switch off days. If we swapped, we never saw each other. If we got a babysitter, it got expensive to train very quickly. Now that the kids are older, they are both very busy with their own activities. Our solution has been to simply pick different races. These last several years, I told Steve that the Peak was his to train for and complete. This year, the Bryce 100 was my big goal. I told him that his training would come first for the summer and I did my best to make sure that happened. This was his year to follow his big dream of doing the double.
I won’t go into all of the details of his training, except to say that I am very proud of my husband’s dedication. He works long hours and we traveled to sea level at a time when he should have been getting in his peak mileage. But, he did the best he could with what time he had to get his training in.
On Saturday, Steve finished his ascent in a time of 3:44. I could not be there because I was at volleyball with our daughter, but a friend sent me this photo of him up above treeline:
On Sunday, I dropped him off at the start before heading out for my own run.
The girls and I headed down to the race finish about an hour before we expected to see him. I checked the weather and everything looked fine, but when we got down to Manitou Springs, it started to pour. Nevertheless, there is something incredibly special about being at the finish line of Pikes Peak Marathons. All marathon finish lines are a fun place to be, but this race is special. Seeing people really dig deep at the end of a very long and grueling day is pretty amazing. Whether it is a flat-lander who is finishing for the first time, or one of the multitudes of local friends who are running for their 10th time, each finish is exciting and special to witness. My throat still hurts today from screaming for everyone.
My friend, Tracey, was up on top of the Peak and she sent photos of Steve from up high.
We waited at the finish line until we saw him come running in. Unfortunately, I had water in my phone at that point and could not get a picture until a little later.
Though he has run the marathon nearly an hour faster than he did this past Sunday, I could not be more proud of happy for my husband. I have loved watching him fulfill a long-term goal and tough it out through the training and the two days of difficult racing. In the days leading up to this past weekend, I think I was more excited for him than I had been for my own races this year. The best part of loving someone is sharing in their joys and successes. I am ecstatic that I got to be a part of his weekend and witness him crossing the finish line of a goal a long time in coming.
Finally, congratulations to every single person who toed the starting line and/or crossed the finish line this weekend. It is such an amazing experience to share in everyone’s success. There are few places more rewarding than the finish line of race, whether I am running or spectating. Thank you Pikes Peak. Until next year!