If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

If you are So Inclined!

Our initial plan for the weekend was to head to the mountains.  We nixed that idea when the weather forecast for the area we had planned looked sketchy.  We'd rather save the drive time and money for a pristine weather weekend.  We were twiddling our thumbs with no definite weekend running or riding plans when we received an email from our friend Jill late last night wondering whether we would like to join them for a climb up the Incline this morning.  I responded a very enthusiastic YES (I LOVE the Incline - it is a great, quick, intense workout that is a nice change of pace.  Steve isn't as enthusiastic about the Incline as I am - he usually goes along mostly to humor me, I think.  LOL!)  One of Jill's sons, B, and a friend of Jill's, are training for a climb up Mt. Whitney later this summer.  Jill's other son, R, and another friend rounded out the Incline group today (as well as hundreds of our 'closest' friends - the place was swarming with people!).
 The Cog Railway Depot
 The object of our desire - the start looking up to the false summit


 Pre-carnage group photo
 Almost to the false summit - about 2/3 of the way up
 Obligatory Happy Trails group photo, of course - at the top


It was kind of neat hanging out on top for a bit, watching and listening to all the people cresting the last step.  There were many locals but probably lots more out-of-towners, no doubt 'duped' into climbing this critter by their dearest friends and family.  Seeing and hearing their excited expressions at completing such a challenging climb was a lot of fun for us.
Saw lots of Vibram Five Fingers going up but heard quite a few comment that there was no way they were running down Barr Trail in them.  Some ended up hiking back down the Incline (no thank you), some hiked down Barr, and we did see a few run down.  Looks too painful to me.  Steve, Jill, and I concentrated on a mid-foot strike in our nice springy shoes on the 4 mile-ish descent and think we did a pretty good job!

 Majestic Pikes Peak as seen from the connector to Barr Trail
Purple Mountain majesty
Today's route


After we all re-convened at the bottom of Barr Trail, we waded through the masses and ended up at Coquette Creperie in Manitou for some quality post run grazing.  Everyone seemed to enjoy their meals as all the plates were licked clean.  We ended a fun, satisfying day with friends with smiles on our faces.  Good times, indeed!

I wasn't sure what to expect up the climb today and was willing to take whatever came (ie, slow).  One of the things Graves Disease causes is muscle wasting and it has affected not only the strength of my legs and arms but also the heart and lungs.  I have been working diligently to rebuild and regain all that has been lost and today was a good indicator that things are heading in the right direction.  Steve and I crested the last step together in 34:56 - TOGETHER!
We have not been running together in months.  He mostly has been a very distant figure way out in front of me - a moving target of sorts, for me to aim toward.  It was a nice feeling to keep up with him today.   He is in really good shape and the Incline is NOT his favorite.  The fastest I have ever climbed the Incline is 32 minutes.  The fastest I did it last year was 33.  Those times seem to be within sight.  I was encouraged earlier this week when I rode 30 miles on the road bike last Monday and saw some hill climbing repeatability - about 3000 feet-ish.  Not fast, but strength seems to be lurking beneath the surface.  I felt GREAT.  Then, on my couple of before-work morning runs, I was able to notch it up a gear a few times (not much of a bigger gear but it was there and it hasn't been).  So combined with today, I am cautiously excited.  Steve says I should throw the 'caution' part out the window, celebrate, put on my dancing shoes (if I owned dancing shoes) but that's just how I roll -  a cautious realist.  It might get thrown out the window if I can get a few more consistently good weeks under the belt.  The 'magic' number I seem to be hearing from the docs and a couple of people is 6 months on the anti-thyroid med = feeling close to 'normal'.  I am at 15 weeks and keeping my fingers crossed.

Let's see what tomorrow brings!  Happy Trails All!

14 comments:

Johann said...

I recognized you on Jill's photo on FB and headed straight here to see if you posted about the incline and here it is! That looks like burning muscles all the way, but so great at the same time. You people make my bucket list very, very long...

Jennifer said...

Woo hoo! I saw you guys on FB first (like Johann) you look super. Sounds like you all had fun! Cheers!

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

K, the time it took you to climb is not far off your fastest climb and you look so strong! Looks like a great day!

kceverymileamemory said...

First you make me want to move to CO so bad. Scenery is amazing. Second that climb looks brutal! I don't know if I could do that so I am pretty impressed. 3 I am SO glad to hear progress is being made. Nothing is more frustrating then hearing no and I'm glad you're starting to get some yes :) Enjoy the beauty of it and each mile you're doing it!

GZ said...

Lots of scary pix here ... just saying. All that vertical, scary. That re-bar at the top ... scary. That image you get of Pikes when coming around the Barr Trail connector ... scary. This is supposed to be a family friendly place! ;)

Laura@Run_Eat_Date said...

It certainly sounds like a heavy dose of cautious optimism and enthusiasm is in order! Loved the excitement! And of course all the beautiful photos! Congrats on a great week of strong training!

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

Kathleen - I'm SOOOO excited for you. Yes, I would say you have made a tremendous "come-back" my friend. Amazing!

I'm agreeing with GZ. I'm scared of heights. I may be able to handle going up, eventually, but the down part would scare me WAY too much. Jill mentioned "y'all" :) took a different route down. Whew!

Jill said...

Hahah, I like reading about those who saw the pics on FB (didn't mention your names, but they all recoginized you :)).

I was more excited to see your time, K, than I was to get my sorry butt up that thing in one piece. I also loved running down that beast with you and though you were not as skittish as I was on some of those rock navigations, I was stoked that I COULD run down. The best part of the day was talking briefly with you after about our debilitating setback with our running and how that was mentally challening. As I said, I would never wish anyone any sort of injury or disease or setback of any sorts, it does happen and it felt good to know how much you understood where I've been for the past year.

Was an awesome (albeit long) day...lunch was exceptionally tasty and the perfect end.

Will eamil you tonight...would possibly be intersted in a bike ride tomorrow if you could possibly meet in Castle Rock?

Hope you're out enjoying a nice trail run this morning!

Knuckledragger said...

Nice job on the incline and the photos too. Way to show that pesky climb / hike / slog / lung and leg burning incline who is boss. Okay, it will always be boss - but you beat it up good.

Meg said...

Yea for running "together!" That made me smile. We pretended to be you and Steve today...we ran the trails in the Laguna Mountains and had a blast...but we forgot one key Steve and Kath element...the camera, doh! Oh, and I didn't wear a skirt. Next time!
Also, I ran across a new word one of you invented...lifesuckiness. Hmmm...that was a word I could relate with and it made me giggle. Just thought you'd want to know your "word" gets around.

runningredrocks said...

Nice day to be inclined for the good ole' incline :) unfortunately, as it use to be one of my all time fave things to do, I have lost all desire with it being opened now to everyone, and it is just too crowded :( but I do plan to run to Barr and back in the near future. If you are interested let me know! Too bad about this morning's rain canceling out our ride :( but, no doubt we need this rain :)

ShutUpandRun said...

That climb is ridiculous which makes me really want to try it!! you always inspire me with your crazy elevation gain runs!

ajh said...

Yeah to feeling cautiously optimistic. It sounds like you are improving. That incline time is awesome. I also saw you on FB! So knew right away what the title was about. Keep improving and enjoy your gains.

ajh said...

Thanks for all the voting for Emily.
I love big cities and big crowds.......as a place to visit and then go home from!

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