Snow Run

PPRR Fall Series, Race IV

Hey-O. The last race of the series and sure enough it’s snowing. Fortunately, The Springs is an environmentally excitable place that holds true to it’s mild climate. So, even though the wind was blowing and snow was falling, the brisk air became a welcome addition to the morning’s inclined and rocky run. Unfortunately, due to snowy conditions, about two thirds through the race it became evident, as we looked down the ridge below us, that we and the other individuals within our running pack where no longer on the correct trail. As we went up, up, up, the rest of the race were running down, far below us on flat paved road. It made the going even slower when we could see the water stops and photographers lining the trail far below. However, as we rounded the trail at the top of the hill, we were rewarded to find a pack of runners and a collection of orange streamers hanging from trees, blue arrows in the snow, and a generally well trodden path. However, to our dissatisfaction, young children and a collection of slow pokes filled the trail ahead of us. It was clear our times were going to be severely effected as it was probable that our distance was extended.

In the end, we ran about five and a half miles in fifty minutes, finishing behind about one hundred and twenty other individuals. Depressing. But, hey, at least the views were spectacular.

Today’s Results
# 164 overall. # 19/22 in my age group, shux

Series Results
# 68 overall, # 7/10 in my age group. Damn.

I guess, now I know. As Bernie says.. “good for you, no matter what.”

PPRR Fall Series IV – Palmer Park


Halloween weekend proves successful as a two drink holiday.

This weekend was my second to last obligatory mountain drive and chalked it’s self up to be one more enjoyable Colorado adventure.

Friday morning I packed my things and set out to shop for some Halloween basics, run some errands, and then arrive at Kira’s just in time to see her walk through the door, likely ready for a nap after her high-speed week with elementary school kids. After $40 of fabric and two buttons I felt like we’d be fully cloaked for the party. Then I stopped into Walmart to pick up other inconsequential affects. The parking lot was full of snowy slush and the car had been irritated with some low coolant. Before diving away I popped the hood and checked my levels, moved some ice off the windscreen and generally evaluated the winter conditions of my car. All seemed to be in order so I shut the hood and met a young woman who asked the puzzling question, “Did you just come out of the store?” I answered yes and then waited for the pitch. She didn’t look like she needed money, or had anything in her hands to sell. I was quite confused. She then asked, “Did you drop anything?” I checked my wallet, looked into the back at the goods I’d just purchased, and finding everything in order replied, “Nope.” She smiled, said “Okay,” and started down the parking lot back toward the store. I pulled my keys out of my pocket and then stopped in my tracks. “I pulled my keys out,” I said to myself and while cursing to myself recalled the very first stop I’d made that morning at the jewlers picking up Kira’s newly cleaned and sized ring. In a small plastic bag, wrapped handsomely in tissue, I had carefully put that ring into my right pocket where it was safe from any harm. It wasn’t there. I frantically yelled a “YES!” and then embarrassedly quieted myself and smiled at the woman who turned around and walked back over to me where she asked, “Well, what did you loose?” Wincing I said, “a ring.” She smiled and pulled that little bag out of her pocket and said, “Here you go!” I couldn’t catch my breath yet and kind of cracked through a dozen versions of thank you, I probably even said it in some form of Chinese, though I can’t remember how to say it now. She then turned around and walked back toward the store as I fumbled with my hands, put the ring back deep into my pocket and almost cried.

Up at Kira’s I made sure to tell her the story and give her the ring right away. I couldn’t handle the responsibility anymore. Then I busied myself with a bit of sewing and we were set for our costume engagement. Housed in an old research facility at the camp, there were odds and ends and lots of empty dark rooms without electricity or plumbing in the bathrooms, there were file cabinets full of specimens in chemicals and a piece of plywood across two saw horses. After some quick arrivals and cheers for every costume that showed, the party digressed into a beer pong fest and Kira and I found a connect four set to entertain ourselves, but a long week, an early wakeup, and general party rough-housing ended our night early.

The sun blasted through Kira’s window and we pulled ourselves out of bed and into the car following a couple of friends south, down to ‘Shelf Road’ to where the cliffs sprang out of the plains and we’d dawn our safety gear to scramble up and swing down. The last time I’d driven through this place, it was cold, wet, and the clouds sang deep into the canyon we drove through, giving a visibility of about twenty-five feet…. plus I was sitting in the back of a Ford Expedition, looking out a port hole of a window. So this really was ‘New!’

The shelf was covered, like ants, with little climbers, young kids, old men, cadets getting yelled at, and even a couple of regular people where there. But once we walked past them all, remarkably, we didn’t see them any more and we felt alone. The sky was a beautiful deep blue and the trees were bright green and pasted on the beautiful white crisp cliffs. It was gorgeous. Our pals climbed and set up the routes and we went to town, up and down, we became ants too. It wasn’t so bad. When 4:30 ran around we cut loose and left the guys with the clean-up and drove to The Springs where after posing like two trick-or-treaters were were welcomed warmly home and promptly fell asleep, early again.

Sunday I dawned my jersey for yet another Colorado trail race with Christopher, Bernie, and the Pikes Peak Road Runners. This time we ran through 6.__ miles of the Springs Ute Valley Park. Somewhat mentally drained, I stood in line for a restroom as the race clock read -1:00. Then it said -0:30. Then it went to 0:00. Someone said, they don’t start until the line is empty so I kept standing. I then jogged up the hill, found Christopher (my running white rabbit), and got in line. The sounded the horn and I set my sights on Christopher’s heels and shut down my brain. After 53 minutes of up and down rocks and across creeks and over three hay bails I gave a couple of “push! push! push!” yells and slid into the finish que right behind my mark.

Arriving back home I saw the Broncos take a 23 point loss and then my body shut down and I ate a salad and went to sleep for 14 hours. My body was wrecked and displeased with some set of events that had occurred, but who knows, maybe it was weather.

Here’s Your Receipt Mr. Mizell

Friday: Becoming an REI Member

$20 in and 20% off.  Now I’m entitled to all sorts of good stuff.  Hooray!

Saturday: The Pikes Peak Hike, 14,110 ft

Kira and I woke up at 3:30 AM and pushed ourselves over to the lodge where the rest of our nine had gathered, shoved ourselves into the minivan, and zoned out until we arrived at The Craggs trail head at the base of Pikes Peak on the West side.  Dark and cool we lifted one foot in front of the other up the trail in soft whispers and the burgeoning dawn.  Soon the night lifted, the morning broke, and we anticipated the arrival of solar warmth as we watched the shadows recede across the panoramic of the Rocky Mountains toward our trail.  Patches of snow turned icy dotted our route and every pause between steps debuted a glorious one hundred and eighty snowcapped shark-tooth horizon.  It was breathtaking.

Our companions were of various ages.  Twenty-two was the low bar while the oldest hailed from the low altitude of Michigan and celebrated sixty-five years of  vigor.  As our pace was slow and steady and breaks were frequent, several of us had much too much energy in our legs.  However, we maintained our patience.  And as the day wore on and the peak grew closer, our compatriot grew weaker and weaker to the point of anxiety.  As we stepped across fields of ice and tip-toed through small boulder-scapes, we held our breath as steps became harder to take and balance more difficult to maintain.  Water was shared mercifully and snacks were eaten vigorously.  However, the time finally came when, only one more bound from the top, no more than two thousand feet above, that the group split into two, those who would eat lunch in the wind and those who would begin to descend.  Kira and I, being representative of youth and strength, continued on with several others and finding nothing but a heap of boulders leading to the top, scampered quickly from icy rock to snowy hole to glorious cairn pointing the way in the last one hundred meters.

To the delight of all but us hikers, the small two lane road ends here at the peak and atop it rests a restaurant and souvenir stand, a US Army building, a parking lot, view point, and the end of the line for the Cog Mountain Railway.  So as we stood and enjoyed our lack of three hundred and sixty degrees, a group of men dug their raised Ford F-350 out of some ice they’d tried to run through, and an old man threw a snow ball at his grand child, then laughed.  An overweight family fell out of their oversized SUV, and a middle aged hiking couple remotely locked their Subaru.  Several other hikers had ascended with us and had retreated from the wind into the cafeteria, so we followed suit in order to enjoy the relief of sitting in a restroom for a few moments.

After some pictures with the freshly painted “Pikes Peak, 14,110 ft” sign and enjoying a some slices of guda we’d carried up for the occasion, we turned our noses and toses down the hill and began our decent.  It was now close to 3 PM.  We had left the parking lot at 6:30 AM.  It had taken us eight and a half hours to climb the mountain, only to find it heavily populated and significantly lacking any sort of complete view.  There was some serious disappointment as we reengaged the icy rock for our departure.  But as we reemerged on the West side of the mountain, and the panoramic of the Rockies presented it’s self once again, one couldn’t help but smile and keep on trucking.

By 6:30 PM we had reached the cars at the parking lot of The Craggs campground and we easily slipped back into our seats which we had occupied twelve long hours before, celebrated our accomplishment and then went silent.  It was cold and dark again.  What an ordeal.

Sunday: Pikes Peak Road Runners Trail Race, 4.8 miles (Fall Series Race #2)

Kira and I woke up late on Sunday, about 9:30 AM, to the sound of movement upstairs and my mind raced with enthusiasm for the race!  I threw the covers back and then put all my strength into jumping out of bed.  My back screamed and my thighs winced.  My fists clenched and my body threw up the middle finger.  I paused for a good several minutes, standing next to my bed, fearful of the next steps, fearful of the next event, fearful I’d done a terrible thing to my body.  However, with a few stretches and some slow movements I made it to the shower where the warm water medicated my body and soon I was upstairs and energetic.


We drove out to the park where the race was being held and checked in, stretching and doing a bit of a jog I was mentally convinced I was prepared.  I stepped in line behind Christopher for the start and made a deal to never leave his heels.  The pack was tight and keeping up without edging someone out was difficult, but with some ziggs and zaggs and a bit of some pace adjustment I was stuck to him.  After one loop about the grass the trail started, and the group thinned to a manageable density.  Strong and energized as I had started, I stuck with him, however as the hills kept going up and up and as my body began to recognize the endeavors of the previous day I began to slow more and more.  Christopher left my toes and moved forward.  Relentless I managed to change my goal and defend against any other competitor running between us, with the distance between as no object.  Through a few splashy creeks and up a set of stairs my heart was pounding and I felt the drive of collapse catching me, however every moment before I was about to give up, my pace setter slowed his speed and the hills pointed downward and the ground got softer and someone handed me some water and I relished in some sense of relief.  The last portion of the trail contained a set of ropes leading up an embankment, at this sight and with the cheering of a massive crowd I found the energy to leap across the creek and find the rope and with full force and vigor pull myself to the top passing my trail mentor.  With a lunge I was over a small fence and could see the finish only meters away.  However as I put feet in front of feet I found my energy registering a payment due and I slowed myself to a crawl.  Several others passed me, then Christopher reclaimed his position before my nose.  I put some force through, promised myself some rewards, and struck out to the end to enjoy only 3 seconds behind my leader.

Exhausted and satisfied with my weekend’s exercise I devoted the remainder of the day to successful living and a restful night.


3rd of 16 in my age group, 39th of 203 men, 41st of 347 racers

Monday: Root Beer Floats, Hagandaz 5 and Mr. Thomas Kemper

Delicious and rewarding.

Colorado Racing

The Pikes Peak Road Runner’s Fall Series.

Race 1 was an introductory race to get acclimatized to the oxygen levels and the temperature of the fall in Colorado for me.  The race was 3.2-3.5 miles and the second third of the race involved running up Monument Creek, a shallow waterway filled with sand, rocks, and Iron and Copper from local and upriver mining operations.  It was quite invigorating and the temperature made the water effect pleasant.  All sorts of folks participated including Mom!  All went well, however, the next race should be substantially more competitive for me.  Looking to cut my time in HALF!

Future Races are every other Sunday on 10/18/09 (Race 2), 11/1/09 (Race 3), & 11/15/09 (Race 4).

Race 1 Results