The Mount Evans Ascent is no joke. It is a tough race but well worth it to show up and run! The morning started out around 5 am as most weekend mornings do. The start of the race is at Echo Lake, about 10,600′ above sea level. The start line is right next to the visitors center. The shuttles from our cars to the start area are a life saver; we had a good mile to the start from where we parked! As always, checking in was a breeze with no lines and a great schwag bag and shirt.
We found a few Runners Roost teammates(Dan, Ashley, Jeanne, Jeannene, Stella, Dan, Heather and Rebecca) and talked a bit before Courtney jumped in my parent’s car to ride along while I ran. It’s kinda nice, the runners use the downhill lane to run since the road to the top is still open. This means a rolling cheer section is totally possible! I made my way to the front at the start line and saw Andrew as well. He just moved here from Illinois. And he decided to run up Mt. Evans. Crazy! The gun goes off and it’s straight into the climb. I settle in maybe around 15th or so for the first half mile and slowly work my way up to 9th or so over the first mile. I didn’t want to start out too fast, that’s for sure.
It’s a long road that winds it’s way up to the summit and I just tried to stay focused and keep a steady effort. Things were going fairly well until mile 4 or so. My whole right foot started to go numb. It felt like something was stuck to the ball of my foot in my shoe and every step made my foot more numb. It was so odd. I slid my shoe off (laces are never too tight) and everything looked normal! Just had to keep running. Around mile 8, we finally have our first and only break, a downhill section to Summit Lake! My foot suddenly felt better again which leads me to believe it was the angle of my foot on the climbs that was pinching a nerve or just cutting circulation. Really weird feeling running when you can’t feel your foot! This whole time my parents and Courtney will drive past me, park, yell for me and then drive to the next pull out area. That motivation was needed!
I had dropped a place or two as the mile 9 aid station came up. This part of the course isn’t fun because it means our only break is done and the steepest part of the course is next! I kept putting one foot in front of the other but could feel my strength draining. Keep running. Don’t let anyone else pass. That’s all I could do but my legs were so heavy a few more people went by me. I was toast!
We get to the mile 13 sign and the Jeep is on the side of the road. Courtney sticks her head out the window and says, “You need to pick it up. There is a big group behind you that’s gaining on you. You need to push it in. We don’t want a repeat of Silver Rush.” If you missed the Silver Rush reference, essentially my last 4 miles were horrible and I let a good 15 people pass me. So yeah, no repeats of that! Apparently my parents just kind of looked at her like she was a big meanie but it got me in gear. I didn’t let anyone else pass and my pace up that last section of the road was faster than the 3 before it! It is really deceptive, coming up the last few sections of road. You can see the top for about 3 miles but the switchbacks never seem to end. You can see people a few above and you know they were a good few minutes up but you can’t do anything but keep running.
13th overall – 9th male – 3rd age group – 2:11:07 – 9:03 pace
I highly recommend this race but you definitely need to be training hard if you don’t want to suffer on the way up! We hiked the last 40ish feet up to the summit before heading down. It was starting to get pretty windy and cold at the top but luckily we had our own ride back down! Dan and I both had to stop at the start area to grab our awards and by this point, it was a full on rain and snow storm. Pretty awesome to see but we knew the people on the course still were getting hit hard. We also saw about 8 emergency vehicles speeding to the top of the mountain and the flight for life heli as well. Apparently someone fell on one of the faces of the neighboring 14er but I never saw any news on it. Hopefully it ended up ok!
Even though my foot was numb, my gear kept me going! Having soft and comfortable socks is key. Point6 comes through again! And seriously, if you want an awesome shoe, give the Mizuno Ronin a look. One of my favorite shoes over the last few years! Thanks Roost for all the support on the mountain! Loved seeing so many familiar faces everywhere on the mountain.
—– Rest of the weekend —–
We got back down to town by noon and went out to help Phil and Lauren move. They just got a new house and since we had access to a van, it was easy to volunteer our help! We got the big stuff out pretty quick and set up the new patio table and relaxed and grilled and ate a ton of ranch dip and Ruffles. So good! Now we just need to convince Lauren that Phil needs a bunch of motorcycles to fill their giant garage!
CC and I left there to head back to my grandparents for 2 birthday celebrations and fathers day dinner. We had a few family members in from Oregon and Hawai’i so it was good to see everyone. Lots of food was going on today and surprisingly my appetite was pretty low. It didn’t really come back until Monday which is more along the lines of how my body acts after an ultra. Oh well, still had fun! We headed home fairly early because we had a race to time the next morning. Everything went well and before long I was on my way to work. Yes, on Sunday. The good part is that I get to take off early today since I put an extra 4 hours in on Sunday!
We have another really busy weekend planned but it should be nice! Hope you all had a great week and have a good weekend!
Good luck to Wendy running the Olympic Trials 10k tonight and Kircher and Fuller running Western States 100 this weekend and Stephen and JoeZ at Black Hills and anyone else racing!