Sunday, October 14, 2012

Manitou Incline

1914.  Back when they had cool hats.
There was recently a story in Runner's World about the Manitou Incline.  I can't find the article but I remember it was fascinating.  The incline is located in the Pikes Peak mountains and since I had planned to be in Colorado Springs I figured I would at least go look at it.  

This was my plan for Saturday after I got to Lyndsi's house.  (She is getting induced Monday!  Yeah!!)  

Can I get a "hell yeah!" for the map feature on the iPhone!  

*Get Coffee - Starbucks - check!
*Stop by the Lululemon Showroom in downtown Colorado Springs....CHECK and YIKES!!!   (Why did they have to have that long sleeve on sale AND the black shorts I've been looking for!  I am SO grounded!!)
Check out the Manitou Incline & then go to the gym.  Hahahahaha

Instead of just checking out the Incline, I decided to give it a shot.  The people around me looked as if they were going to do it.  Luckily I had stopped at Lululemon and purchased a couple of long sleeve tech tops that I could layer.

I took this picture at my car before I took off.  I look mad.  I'm actually concentrating on trying to get the top in the picture to send Tera.  

I had to park on the narrow road and walk to the incline.  Legally they couldn't let us park in the parking lot of the Cog Train.  That's what the parking guy said.  He was a doll and so kind to give me instruction and encouragement so I believe him.

 Extreme = bad ass
Doesn't look so bad!  I figured I'd just get started and if I got tired I would come back down.  That is just like my personality - NOT.
I shed the top long sleeve and I never ended up using the iPod.  I was enjoying the entire experience.  (look at those straight teeth!!!  haha)

Where I have to go and where I have been.  

After about this far up is when I started counting stairs.  I would look up to check it out and make a goal.  Usually 75 steps, sometimes 100 and if they were really steep and treacherous then 50.  This is also about the time I figured out the auto pause on my Garmin was on most of the time because I wasn't hoofin it very fast.  I turned the Auto pause off about half way up.  This was sort of irritating because I don't have all the right numbers.  I love numbers!
Yep - you are trespassing if you go up the incline. 

 From what I understand there is a part of the incline right smack in the middle that is privately owned.  I'm sure their lawyers are horrified at the idea of allowing people on it and the company having to take responsibility so it's illegal to go all the way up.  It's common knowledge, that is ignored.

There are multiple areas that have rusted out pipes in the middle.  

Areas of the trail are pretty sketchy.  I didn't find it too difficult to get up, but I have long legs and I'm in pretty good shape.  Although when I do this again I'm bringing gloves.  Sometimes I needed my hands to steady myself or boost up a step.

At one point someone told me I was almost done.  Oh nay nay!
There is a little dip in the incline so it looks like you have about 30 feet to go and after a few steps this is what you see.  

I can't remember at what point I decided that I would finish, but it was long before this.  There was a light rain, it wasn't too cold and the challenge made it impossible to stop. Also, i'm a little scared of heights.  Walking down the stairs wouldn't have been very fun at all.  Going up it helped a lot to concentrate on my footing and counting stairs. I wouldn't look down until I knew my footing was steady.  
I received at least 5 compliments on my shoes.  One lady even commented on how they didn't even look broken in.  Oh yeah, about 100 miles of broken in!  Of course they weren't the right shoes for the job but they did an awesome job.  Remember - I was going to run at the gym - not the mountain.  

When I did steady myself and look back, this is what I saw.  

With the cool weather, slight rain and a rainbow behind me, how could I possibly just stop and go to a gym!  I was really hoping that the rainbow ended at my car and when I got back there would be a pot of gold.  Nope. 


Elevation Gain:2,017 ft

Elevation Loss:2,048 ft

Min Elevation:6,575 ft

Max Elevation:8,618 ft

DONE!  Made it to the top!  There was a nice girl that was waiting for her brother at the top that took my picture with the rainbow.  

I was a little wet from the rain, but I was comfortable and I have to say - it was as exciting as finishing a race!  I just wish there was someone at the top handing out medals!  Matt has been trying to get me to go hiking for years and the first time I really go for it, I'm out of town.  I've decided we are going to do more hiking AND trail running!

Here is the start of the trail going down.  

There are a lot of fascinating rock formations on the mountain.  After about a half of a mile of almost straight down hill I finally made it to a part of the trail that was actually runable, and so I decided to run.  My Garmin hit a mile at about that time so I thought I would run/jog/trailrun in my street running shoes for another mile and see how I did.  
A few pictures I took on the way down.  It was breathtaking!

This was the trail I came down.  I did it in like 2.5 miles...:SHRUG:?  Am I such a fast trail runner that I fly??

Here is my Garmin map.

 The dots in the picture below show the empty spots where the auto pause stayed on.  GRRRR.  Now I have to do it again.  I might not have time this trip, but it will happen.

Here are my splits.  They are way off on the first mile, but the second mile the auto pause was off and I was running.  I think an average pace 15:54 and 16:30 min/miles for a down hill trail that I've never been on before was pretty good.  I had a couple of runners pass me that were flying!  Next time I need to bring my trail shoes.  
Avg Pace

It's a long post and lots of pictures, but it was so much fun!  It really gave me a bug to start doing some trail running.  Next spring when my foot heals, I'm planning on running more trails.  It's just so beautiful and fun!  

Speaking of foot - yes it hurt like mad!  The PF pain goes away pretty fast when I start moving around, but the nerve pain is killing me!  All the research (Internet) that I've done basically states that it treated the same way PF is.  There is a lot of theories of wearing shoes with a higher heel, getting rid of inserts, blah blah blah.  I am going to see a doctor when I get back and maybe an MRI is the next step.  At this point I'm still going to run my races with lots of rest, ice and ibuprofen in between. 

Has anyone ran the incline?

Trail Running - love it or not?

Blog on................


  1. Wow! That looks amazing! I love trail hiking and running. If I was there, I'd do it with you! We did an eight hour straight down and straight back up Ina huge canyon in Kauai once. What a sense of accomplishment when you finish. Congrats! Love the Lululemon jacket too! I've got to get to a store sometime soon to,check it out. Need something hot pink to go with my shoes!

  2. ohmigosh that's gorgeous! I remember that article and am SO impressed that you took it on...alone, too! Would you have even attempted it if if you didn't have a camera with you? No proof = didn't happen, right? ;)

  3. Intense! I have never heard of this trail, but it looks super, super cool. Now you see why I love trail running?!?

    ps~ glad you are going for a follow up on your foot when you get back into town :)

  4. LOVE trail running and your incline looks beautiful and brutal at the same time. Congrats! That looks like a "fun" workout!