Remember those days before social media existed? When you only had your real-life friends to convince you to try stupid things? These days, my number of “friends” is infinitely higher than it was ten years ago. Obviously, there are tons of benefits that come along with this, but more so, tons more opportunities for peer pressure!
Which leads me to my point…
I registered for the 2014 Mt. Evans Ascent!
It all started last year after reading Heidi, Lynne and Paula’s recaps of the 2013 race. Prior to that, I’d only viewed Mt. Evans in terms of a hiking conquest on my 14er list. You see, Mt. Evans is one of Colorado’s 53 peaks that is over 14,000 feet. Y’all have heard my tales of hiking these mountains, and Evans was crossed of my list many years ago. In fact, I think I have summited it four times now. However, I have never considered trying to run to the top!
The catch with Evans is that it conveniently flaunts the highest paved road in North America. On past hiking trips, I hated this fact since you struggle your way to the summit only to find buses full of tourists, looking fresh and clean in their heels and cute outfits! However, this paved road is what makes this road race a possibility.
In essence, the run starts at 10,600 feet at Echo Lake. The lake itself is beautiful and is one of my favorite memories from childhood. Not only do I still frequently snowshoe in this area, but it’s also the same lake where my parents used to take us ice skating as kids. My sister and I vividly remember my dad skating to the middle of the lake while we waited on shore, awaiting his cue that signaled the ice was safe enough for playtime.
How’s that for a random tangent?!
Anyway, after leaving the lake, the road heads immediately uphill towards the summit. I could go into tons of details, but they really don’t matter. The bottom line is this: the Mt. Evans Ascent course begins climbing at the lake and continues for 14.5 miles until it reaches the summit at 14,264 feet!
The kicker with this course is its double whammy factor: not only are you climbing a ton, but you are also doing all of it above 10k feet! Again, I’ve spent tons of time at high altitude and tend to do very well above 12,000 feet, but this whole running thing will be new to me. Not quite sure what to expect!
In terms of training, I have absolutely no idea what to do. Just do all of my runs while climbing up the side of mountains? Do wind sprints through the neighborhood with a clothespin on my nose to simulate the lack of oxygen?!
Seriously, training tips?!!