We did the Manitou Incline today in Colorado Springs. It’s almost a mile up, a 2000 ft climb, over 2700 steps and finishes at an elevation of 8500 feet. You can go back down the steps ranging from an average grade of 45% up to 68% or you can take the Pikes Peak Hiking Trail, The Barr Trail, down.

I ask my daughter “on a scale of 1 to 10 how taxed are you”? She makes me answer. I say 4. She says, “me too”. Then we get to the middle section she turns around to look at me and says,“I’m at a solid 9”. She was humbled. It wasn’t our legs, but our lungs.

On our way climbing up, we see a shirtless man running the steps down. If I were to guess, he was in his 50s and ripped. We keep climbing, he passes us on our way up. He asks me about Ironman and he congratulated me and runs past us. We see him on the way down. We are almost at the top, maybe 30 steps left and the Little Athlete says, “OH MY GOD, Turn around”. And it was him on his third repeat. My daughter and I just sat there speechless. He says,“I just wanted to encourage you on your last steps”. He passes us AGAIN. And I ask,“how many are you doing? ”.He laughs and says only three. BEAST.

On the trail, there were tons of trail runners. More than when I hiked it. Pikes Peak Marathon is in a few weeks and everyone is training.

Honestly, it was harder than I thought it would be. Looking at the photos you can see my face swelled, especially my eyes, from the altitude. Both the LA and I are managing altitude headaches. We are staying tonight at 10,000 feet. Mount Elbert is tomorrow and the weather here isn’t good. Lots of rain and low clouds. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Proof that glamour is rarely the end goal of my endeavors: today I completed my first full marathon! Not only that, but it was the grueling Pikes Peak Marathon, which ascends and then descends over 7,000 feet in altitude in each direction. I was absolutely weepy at the finish line, realizing that I did something I didn’t even fully believe I could do. Then I drank all the craft brews. Yep, corset loving folks are SOOO unhealthy.


Spectacular views, cold mornings, tired runners, and plenty of Gatorade! Summer may be winding down, but for this August weekend, Manitou Springs warms up to welcome runners from around the world to compete in the weekend’s challenging race. Welcome to race weekend, welcome to the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon!



Doubler (those crazy enough to complete the Ascent & the Marathon!):

  • Male: Dave Mackey (A): 2:34:17 (M): 4:01:59 (Overall): 6:36:16
  • Female: Connilee Walter (A): 2:58:45 (M): 5:10:31 (Overall): 8:09:16

Congratulations to all of these adventurous, tough, inspiring, and a little crazy, runners! Looking forward to seeing you next year