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"AMERICA'S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE" they call it. "It" being the Pikes Peak Marathon, a vertical gain of 7,815 feet, topping out at 14,115 feet, with a 13.32 mile climb at 11% grade. The race started out conservative (after all, we are doing a full marathon)...and quickly progressed into steep switchbacks which would only get you less than half way up. The next few miles almost felt downhill compared to what we just climbed, so cruising through, I found myself nearing the A-Frame. The aide station at the top of the tree line where we would then go onto the steep, loose gravel, as well as boulder-like climbing. The next few miles would be equivalent to chugging a bottle of wine, getting smacked upside the head, beat with a baseball bat in the ribs...and trying to climb a 14,000 foot mountain on rocky ledges. Before reaching the top...I would question whether or not my back would let me go on. ( I had been struggling with minor back issues off and on this entire frustrating summer). If it hurt this much going up, I could only assume it would be worse with the impact on the way down, but much to my surprise...the downhill was doable! I quickly made my way back down the Barr Trail, only taking one and a half nose dives to receive my battle scars...and finished with a time of 4:42:38, good enough for 4th female. I wouldn't trade this experience, this race, and this achievement for anything. I WILL be back to go for the marathon record and hopefully have a good healthy race. Thanks to Saucony, Wyatt Yates, Dr. Tim (Cross Roads Chiropractic), and Gu energy for their support as well as the many volunteers that make the Pikes Peak Marathon possible :)

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