Tick, tock. . .

. . .goes the clock counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds – in bright red text, no less - until the race at the top of the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon homepage. In my head, it sounds like the countdown that lead ’24′ into a commercial break or an episode conclusion.

Any hope I'll be as intimidating as Jack Bauer on August 18th?

Any hope I’ll be as intimidating as Jack Bauer on August 18th?

It hit me this past week. Next week is my last week of “real” training, and then I. . .taper. . .GULP! Say it with me: HOLY CRAP!!!

Am I ready? I’m not ready. No, I can do this. I’ll be good. Right? RIGHT?!

In this very moment, I *think* I’ll be ready come August 18th. All summer long, I’ve been comparing my times and how I’ve felt on the same courses around the same points in my training; but that’s not the best measure.

So many things are different this year – my job, my additional twice weekly workouts with Ryan, my injuries (plural), and some details of my running regimen to name a few - that there’s no way to make an accurate direct comparison.

The conclusions I can draw boil down to two facts:

  1. I ran faster for speed workouts and for low-mileage runs to, around, and from Cheeseman Park last year.
  2. I feel much stronger on hard trail runs this year.

Given the challenge of 7,815 feet of elevation gain on trail, some of it quite technical, that lies ahead - dubbed ‘America’s Ultimate Challenge,’ as a matter of fact - I’d rather this be the case than the opposite. What that will translate into on the trail, though, remains yet to be seen.

Am I ready? I’m not ready. No, I can do this. I’ll be good. Right? RIGHT?!

Only 20 days, 7 hours, 32 minutes, and 23 seconds. . .22 seconds. . .21 seconds to go until I find out. Tick, tock. . .

Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., a long-time road and trail runner, conducts applied child development research and works to influence child development policy at the University of Denver. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.

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