Pikes Peak or Bust, Baby!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013. I’ve been waiting for this day since Saturday, August 18,PPA & M 2 2012. Today, registration opened for both the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. I went to bed last night and woke this morning with that single fact at the forefront of my mind.

The races typically fill up fast, as a very limited number of spots are available for both waves. On top of that, you are assigned to one of two waves for both races depending on your qualifying time. So there was no time to waste!

I had a busy day at work but took all of the proper precautions to ensure that I’d be ready for registration at exactly 3:00 p.m. EST, including:
  • Yesterday: E-mailing my supervisors to say that I might need to leave the 1:00-3:00 p.m. meeting a few minutes early for ah, um, a conference call ;) Priorities, peeps! But seriously, sshhh. . .
  • 12:47 p.m. – Loading two browser windows with the exact same page with links to registration. The second was insurance so that I wouldn’t have to open another window and retrace my steps to get to the login page in case the registration link was not immediately functional at exactly 3:00 p.m.
  • 12:57 p.m. – Ensured my desk was clear so that I could walk in, drop my books and notes, and sit at my computer without work stuff in my way.
  • 12:58 p.m. – Scrolled down in both web browsers so that the link I wanted was the very first item on the very top of the screen so that I wouldn’t have to look for it. Left my cursor about 3 centimeters to the right of the link so that I could access it pretty much immediately upon logging back on to my computer.

Am I painting a picture for you yet? I meant business! It has been a bit of a bumpy road the past few weeks; so I wanted to be sure things would go without a hitch. An unsuccessful registration attempt would have REALLY bummed me out for, well, now until at least August.

I did pretty well in the two hour meeting. By “well,” I mean I didn’t start obsessively checking the time on my phone until 2:15 p.m., one hour and fifteen minutes in. That’s longer than I thought I would last!

I started figdeting at 2:50 p.m. but actually made the entire meeting, as it wrapped up at 2:57 p.m. Luckily, my office is about 20 feet from the conference room where we met. I bolted out the door and was back in my office, door closed behind me for my conference call (tee hee!) within the same minute.

I only hit one small glitch when I was choosing my country of residence from the drop-down menu on the registration page. The screen flashed; and I was brought back two pages before, which left me starting from scratch. It only invoked a momentary “Aaahhh!” I just started filling in the fields again: name, address, birth date. . .

I made it through the second time then finally made the final ‘click’ to submit my registration and payment information. Now came the real wait for the confirmation e-mail. Once you get that, you’re golden.

I was indeed golden just a minute or two later. Thank you, active.com, for having your act together! One e-mail confirmed my payment for the race, and one confirmed my successful registration for. . .wait for it. . .wait for it. . .The Pikes Peak. . .Marathon!!!

I told myself before the 2012 Ascent that if I met my goal of reaching the finish line in under 4 hours, I’d register for the marathon in 2013. I worked really hard and figured that I would indeed meet that goal. Still, when I did, it was one of my first cognizant realizations once blood was again circulating to all extremities and I was thinking clearly. Oh s&#!. Guess this means I’m running the marathon next year.

The truth is that even though I knew that my Pikes Peak comrades, Dakin and JD, were running the Ascent again, I’ve been leaning toward the Marathon versus the Ascent the whole time. I got validation for my decision in the past few days leading up to registration when I realized that I would be pretty disappointed if I didn’t get one of the 390 slots for wave 1 of the Marathon.

So, those confirmation e-mails were the end of the waiting – and most recently pretty anxious waiting - and the beginning of the 156 days of preparation remaining until the gun. And, arguably more important at the moment, those confirmation e-mails meant that after a two-hour meeting and about 20 ounces of water, I could finally pee!

Ten years ago, I was hesitant to put the Pikes Peak Ascent on my ‘bucket list’ because it would mean actually having to attempt it. Two years ago, I felt a notable pang of nausea like a closed fist straight to the stomach immediately after finalizing my registration for my first Pikes Peak Ascent. This afternoon, I smiled a sigh of relief when I got confirmation of my Pikes Peak Marathon registration.

The road from here to Manitou Springs in August ought to make for some interesting food for blog-worthy thought. . .

Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., studies child development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a long-time road and trail runner. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.

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