I ran up the mountain, and it was fun. Yes, it was uphill most of the way and the oxygen was less, but it was a great experience. I didn’t push myself too hard, and I enjoyed an occasional picture and breathtaking views. The weather was picture perfect, sunny, a few clouds, and nice temperatures. The complete photo album can be viewed at my Mt Evans Ascent Album. Also, check out the slide show on the Mt Evans website.
Official Time: 2:40:58 (11:07 pace)
Race Number: 103
Ranking: Overall – 93/374, Mens – 76/247, M3034 – 14/34
Distance: 14.5 (14.34 garmin) Nike+ – 15.31
Temperature: Mid 40′s at start, Mid 60′s at Finish.
Starting: Mt Evans Entrance Station
Ending: Just below the summit of Mt Evans
Start Time: 8:02 AM
Ending Time: 10:43 AM
Gear: Shorts, long sleeve tech shirt (SxD Nike+ Shirt), injinji socks, Nike Equalon 2′s, Hat, Forerunner 305.
Nutrition: Breakfast = Oatmeal, golden Raisins, honey
Nutrition: Pre-Race = 1 bag of Sports Beans, 32 Oz Gatorade, supplements (endurolytes, anti-fatigue, sportslegs, race caps & 2 Tylenol for Headaches).
Nutrition: During Race = Quencher gum, 30 oz GU2O with endurolytes added, 2 GU gels, 4 endurolytes, 2 Anti-fatigue.
Splits: (Based on Garmin Forerunner)
Mile 1 – 9:33
Mile 2 – 9:41
Mile 3 – 10:31
Mile 4 – 10:58
Mile 5 – 10:50
Mile 6 – 11:05
Mile 7 – 10:31
Mile 8 – 11:31
Mile 9 – 9:21
Mile 10 – 11:35
Mile 11 – 11:51
Mile 12 – 12:30
Mile 13 – 13:26
Mile 14 – 13:27
.33 – 3:50
Friday: I really wanted my Heart Rate monitor to work for this race. I thought that my 305 was no longer recording Heart Rate (After buying new batteries and a new Heart Rate Monitor and it still not working). I borrowed a friend’s 305 to use on the race and found out that my watch worked, but my Heart Rate Monitor was the problem. So, I wasn’t able to use my HRM for this race.
We Drove up to Silver Plume to spend the night at a friends cabin. We were much closer to the race start and would have a shorter race day drive. We stopped at Beau Jo’s for our pre-race meal. Dinner was a Beaughetti (spaghetti served in a bread bowl).
It was monsterous, and I made a dent in the bread bowl. I had ordered it with chicken, but the chicken didn’t make it to the dinner plate. Oh well, still a very tasty dinner. We opted out of the challenge (A 12 pound pizza for 2 with an hour time limit).
We then drove up to the start and checked out the area. We stopped at Ponder Point on the way up and enjoyed the scenery. Then it was off to the cabin to get some rest before the race on Saturday.
5:15 A.M. - Got up and prepped.
6:15 A.M. – Drove from Silver Plume to Echo Lake.
6:45 A.M. – Arrive at Echo Lake, walked 1/2 mile to pick up race packets. Walked back to the vehicle and dropped off packet. Applied sunscreen (I missed a couple spots). Remember to apply sunscreen to the back of the legs and the back of the neck. The sun at higher elevations can be brutal. We then hopped on a shuttle back to the start.
7:45 A.M. - Last minute stretching and preparing. Standing at the start line the incline of the road was noticeable. The air was a little thinner at the 10,600′ start line, but not too bad. We were told to be prepared on our run to the top. So I had a windbreaker tied around my waist and gloves and beanie in the pockets. I never needed them although :)
8:02 A.M. – The race started a few minutes late. We were instructed to make our way to the left side of the road, so that we could see the traffic coming at us. The road was to stay open, and at times the road got a little crowded with runners, up hill & downhill traffic, and cyclists all enjoying the road.
Off we went, running up hill past the Entrance Station. I passed a sign that said Steep Grades and curves next 9 Miles. I thought what about the last 5? Around 1/2 mile in my calves starting asking me what I was doing, I kept quiet and moved on. I passed a pull off, I think it was for Mount Goliath and then had a sharp turn on the road. There were people cheering here and there the whole way up.
I felt pretty good, around mile 3 the trees started to thin out. I snapped a great picture of Echo Lake and continued on. I was enjoying the scenery and the run up the mountain.
I continued on, taking short walk breaks to enjoy the view, snap pictures and catch my breath. Around Mile 6 I saw some people taking a picture of some wildlife, so I stopped and snapped a picture too.
I came up to the 2nd aide station, I didn’t stop at any of the aide stations, but they were pretty well stocked. Some had bananas, pretzels, and gels along with water and Sports Drink. One thing missing at the aide stations were bathroom facilities. I never needed any, but once you get above treeline, there aren’t many hiding places.
Abyss Lake was viewable around mile 6, looking over the edge you could see it far below.
Soon after Mile 6 I took my first GU and some endurolytes. I felt good and continued my Run/Walk approach up. I wasn’t on any speed quest today, and it felt good to go out and run. The incline was noticeable and my calves quit aching, and other parts of my legs would pick up the slack. It was more of a hello we are here than an all out pain. It felt good to get the legs working. Snow was accumulated along parts of the run up, a subtle reminder that even though it was the first day of Summer, some places still had snow. Here is a shot from Mile 5.
So then, at 8 1/2 miles my legs whispered to me, something is different here, what is going on. A downhill – woah, what happened. I remember hearing something at the start about 2 downhills during the course, but thought, ha ha right. Low and behold, here was the first downhill. My legs opened up and lapped up the change. Mile 9 ended up being my fastest mile due to the largest downhill in the course. At the bottom of the decline was summit lake. I decided to stop and snap a picture just before mile 9 and then again at the lake, which had nice chunks of ice in it.
My legs were happy, a downhill, who would have thought… Then they saw what lay ahead, the destination was still over 2000 feet above us. Driving up, I remember seeing the summit from afar and I thought, this had to be one of the only races that you would see the finish before seeing the start.
So, the downhill was shortlived, and the incline started again. I continued on with my Run/Walk approach, giving my body a chance to rest every so often. Just before mile 11 came another shorter downhill, but it didn’t last long and the uphill battle was soon on the forefront. The last 3 miles turned out to be more difficult. The elevation started to make a little difference in the climb. I could hear other runners also having problems with the thinner air.
Just after mile 11, the road started snaking back and forth. Looking up I could see the summit and the observatory at the top. Above me started the switchbacks and the long winding road was upon me.
The last 2 miles took even longer, walking was taking the forefront and my breaks were turned into running breaks. After making a turn during the 12th mile, I was buffeted by a gust of wind. The wind would come and go every now and again. Not very windy conditions, but an occasional gust would greet you on a turn. I continued on, the finish was close. With one Mile to Go, I looked back down the road and saw that I had made progress.
At 14, I jogged up to a women and she asked me for water. I still had 2 full flasks so I gave her one and said that she could give it back at the top. A few minutes later she caught back up to me and handed me back the flask, she thanked me and continued on. Then above me on the road I saw the finish. I rounded another bend and ran to the finish. Whew, just made it under 2:41 with a 2:40:58. A little off of my 2:30 goal, but the journey was a great one!
I went through the finish shoot and my timing chip was removed and a medal and water bottle were handed to me. I finished, I completed America’s Highest Paved Road Race! It felt good, I walked over to the bag recovery and felt for a minute a rush to my head, the headache passed quickly, and I’m glad that I had taken the Tylenol before race start. The finish line only had a few bananas and pretzels along with a good supply of water. It wasn’t greatly stocked, but the race instructions did suggest to put snacks in your summit bag to be waiting for you at the top.
I walked around for a little while and snapped some pictures of some Mountain Goats and checked out the view. I waited for my friend Steve to reach the finish line. Here are a few pictures that I took.
A plaque read I Can See For Miles:
Later, Steve crossed the finish line. We took a moment to rest, and then we saw the next goal. To climb up to the summit, just a few hundred feet above us… But not on a straight path.
A little while later, we were at the highest point on Mount Evans. First line of business was to capture a photo with my 1Miletogo Weezie Wipe with the Geological Marker showing the elevation of 14,258′.
Looking out across the vastness, we could see for quite a distance. Summit Lake was far off in the distance and I could clearly see that most of it was frozen over. Looking over the edge was a steep drop off.
From the summit you could see the observatory and the Crest House AKA, The Castle in the Sky. The structure was once a restaurant and gift shop but burned down in 1979.
We took a few more pictures, and another runner took a picture of Steve and I with the view in the background.
I was victorious over the Mt Evans Ascent. Steve and I had now hiked Mt Evans & Ran Mt Evans, now the only thing left was to bike it.
We made our way back down from the summit and waited for one of the 2 mini vans that would shuttle us half way down the mountain. A while later at 12:15 we caught a ride back down to Summit Lake where we boarded a bus to go back to Echo Lake.
After returning to the vehicle we drove over to Clear Creek School for the after race party. There were sub sandwiches and chips there. Soon, the winners of the race were presented, the 31 year course record was broken by a speedy 1:37:01 for a pace of 6:42 up Mt Evans. That is simply amazing to run that pace at the incline and elevation. For more amazing stats check out his bio – Wow is all I can say – http://www.skyrunner.com/bio.htm
Race Bling: A sweatshirt and Medal.