I got an opportunity this weekend to help out with the Pike's Peak Marathon. It's been a while since I've gotten to help out with a sports event, so it sounded like it might be kind of fun. Plus, I was only there as a water/support person. I didn't have to do any kind of athletic training type stuff. They have emergency personnel for any of that kind of stuff. Not only that, but though I've heard lots of stuff about Pike's Peak, I hadn't actually been there yet. It was an experience, and it was fun. It was also more than what I had expected.
For example, I got an email that I would be helping at the Incline station. It did mention that there would be a few things that we might have to carry to the station, but that's all it said. From all I had been told, I knew we were going to be parking near the Incline, so I figured we must just be carrying things a little ways. Right. If two and a half miles is a little ways. Luckily, most of what we needed was already up there, so there wasn't too much to carry. My load was a little unbalanced, and we started on the trail in the dark, so I was glad to get to the end, but it wasn't too bad. Lucky for me (I thought) the worst of my load was from the big bags of Gatorade powder. I was relieved I wouldn't have to carry them back down. Well, if ignorance is bliss, then I'm the happiest person in the world!
Most of the way up to our station, there was an opening in the trail and I got to see part of the sunrise, and it was gorgeous! I was really wishing I had brought my camera. Then we got to set up our station, which was on a level-ish space of ground with a view of the Incline behind us (which is an evil-looking thing from an old cog railroad that people climb all the time, even though it's technically illegal). It was fun hanging out with some new people, and especially after the SAR (Search and Rescue) folks showed up. Seriously, police/EMT's/firefighters are some of the most fun people to hang out with, and they have the best stories. We were awful and making fun of some of the people that tried to climb the Incline, like the lady with the floral, flowy shirt, sun hat and those stupid rocker Sketchers. Her whole outfit was even accessorized! Come on, people! The Incline is not some walk in the park. The woman (who was a police officer for her "real job") snorted and said that she didn't even have accessories, beyond the fact that she had both a black and a brown holster, so she supposed she could accessorize with those.
For the most part, people did pretty well, considering that they were not only running 26.2 miles, but that they were running it up the side of a 14,000 foot mountain and back down. There were some people that were weaving pretty good when they came down, and there were lots of skinned knees, but they're either impressive or crazy. Not sure which. I started down the mountain a little early, but I still had to carry some stuff down to help out. Yeah, so much for not having to carry those puny bags of Gatorade! We had to take down all of the stuff from the station, including the stuff that had been left there from the other race the day before ("only" to the top of the mountain). I found myself walking down with a 30 gallon trash can on my back! I really wish I had a picture for you. It was duct taped to this impossible backboard thing that had horrible canvas straps. I spent the whole way down concerned I would be causing nerve damage (because my hands were going numb- I'll spare you the medical details).
Really, though, it was fun. And I got in 5 miles of hiking on a weekend I didn't think I would get any. Not only that, but I did something I clearly wouldn't have been able to do at the beginning of the summer.