Pike’s Peak Double – A Summer Kedging

Posted: September 6, 2009 by Dave Kohrell in Exercise - brain connection
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Chris Crowley in “Younger Next Year” (page 135) shared an important concept in keeping your exercise fires burning – a “kedging”.  A kedging is borrowed from old school sailing (not the sport but when sails and ships were the primary transport).  The purpose was to get a ship forward when there was a lack of wind or threat of storm.  The practice was to send sailors out a 1/2 mile or so in a long boat with a large rope, secure with anchor, return to the mother ship and the whole crew “pulls” with all their might.   They do so until they reach the anchor and, if need be, start it all over again.

For exercise this is critical to keep and heighten motivation.  Each person’s kedging is different – for some their first 5k or 500 yard swim is it.  For others it may be a multi day bike ride (100 – 400  miles) or ultra-marathon. The idea  is there’s something pressing you beyond what you’ve done before and you’re doing it with a group of other athletes.

I thrive when there are a few kedgings each year and have increasingly found myself drawn to events of different types (longer triathlons, open water swimming and nasty marathons).   It’s far too easy to slip into a sedentary state without a goal in front of me.

The Pikes Peak Double presented the perfect kedging opportunity to test myself.  I was blessed to complete the 2005 and 06 Ascents and notched my first PP marathon in 2007.  Last year I was turned back before the A-Frame due to ice (grrrr).  Feeling frustrated and wanting to hedge my bets, I signed up for the Double: half marathon Ascent on Aug 15 (Saturday) and full marathon on August 16 (Sunday).  Net – 40 miles / 14 hours of absolute fun and some pain in 2 days.  I’ve scribed some great information from the Pikes Peak website below.

Before that are my own reactions and notes I shared with friends a couple of days after (Tuesday, August 17th).

Feel good, very good on Ascent.  Jogged the first 1.32 with a short, light stride.  Walked to Double W then steady jogging to Barr Camp.  Walked with some jogging to A-Frame.   I crossed into Barr Camp at 2:07 and A Frame at 3:14 – was going for 4:15 if conditions allowed.  Scaled back at Cirque (1.25 to go) since hit that at 4:04 so final 1.25 was 39 minutes.  I was feeling lively enough to let out a happy shout in one of the photo opportunity just about one mile from the finish.  The weather was perfect and no need for additional cold weather gear gathered about me.

Ascent - closing in on the finish

Ascent - closing in on the finish

The Marathon was a whole new experience. The marathon Ascent time was 5:43 or 1 full hour slower.  Going down was 3:40.

I didn’t feel like the day after a marathon at start, but could tell legs weren’t fully there (calves were very tight).   I had a good cold soak and massage on Saturday.  Plenty of ibuprofen as well.  Sunday morning was a wee bit nervous.  Plus my new Garmin froze and left my back up Timex in the hotel.  Calves continued to be a little sore going up so walked the entire way up.  Split was an hour slower but reinforced you can walk up the entire way – much more traffic though than the 2007 marathon (8:04 then with 4:49 Ascent up).  Felt more altitude in terms of swollen hands, lips, etc).  Good news going up is that my quads were feeling much better than usual.

I had been practicing some of Matt Carpenter’s tips on up/down hill (finding what good hills are available at 1,300′ in Lincoln Nebraska).  Going down did a bit more running than in 2007 on the Summit to A-Frame, slowed from A-Frame to Barr Camp and then cranked in much faster (approx based on cell phone) from mile 21 in.  Much more confident on foot stride and not hitting anything (leaning in going down and straight posture going up).  My last 5 miles were by far my best of the 2 days – was great to apply Matt’s techniques for running the tangent and correct, slightly bent posture going down (versus very straight posture up).  Had enough to race the final strong – 7:45 mile and give a nice strange looking finish photo.

Pikes Peak Marathon and Double Finish 2009

Pikes Peak Marathon and Double Finish 2009

Definitely felt the adrenaline rush Sunday night – didn’t sleep a whole lot.  But made up for it the two nights after.  Did some walking on Monday and Tuesday after the Pikes Peak Double – lots of hobbling.

So next year goal is Ascent only, under 4:15; then maybe another double in 2011 for 13 hours….  Trying to ramp up to 1/2 Iron Man Tri as well and chase the all elusive Boston Qualifier for 45-50 beginning in January…

I’ll be in Matt Carpenter’s 5 year age group next year..  Ah, he has NO worries from me.  He’s very cool and like 07 congratulates each runner as he passes you on his return trip (which was either Barr Camp or the Cog Railway in my case :-)).

Whatever your current fitness level, select a “kedging” that truly challenges you – whether your first 5k, group bike tour, ski  trip or ultimate freesbie tournament.  The adrenaline of the day will pay dividends to you for months!

Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon [Home]

A Journey to the Top and Perhaps Back
The Pikes Peak Ascent® and Pikes Peak Marathon® will redefine what you call running. Sure, they start out like a lot of races on Any Street, USA. But your first left turn will have you turning in the direction of up! During the next 10 miles, as you gain almost 6,000 vertical feet, your legs, lungs, heart and mind will be worn to a ragged nothingness. But it won’t be until your last three miles, with still over 2,000′ of vertical to go, that you will realize where the Marathon got its moniker—America’s Ultimate Challenge.

There’s a reason trees don’t bother growing above 12,000′ on Pikes Peak. They can’t! Makes one wonder if trees are smarter than runners. Above treeline most runners take 30 minutes or more, some much more, just to cover a mile. What little air remains can’t satisfy the endless stream of zombies hoping only to survive their next step—a death march right out of a scene from Dawn of the Dead. Adding insult to injury, it might start to snow!

Then, if you are on the deluxe tour, you run back down for the second half of the Marathon. Along the way protruding rocks are waiting to send you crashing to the ground mangling flesh and only temporarily masking the pain of blood filled blisters. Meanwhile, the temperature has often risen by more than 30 degrees since the race start. After all, it’s always best to cook raw meat.

Join us in 2009 for the 54th running of America’s Ultimate Challenge®.

There’s a reason trees don’t bother
growing above 12,000′ on Pikes Peak.
They can’t!

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