A Challenge Has Been Set Forth…

I have a best friend who’s more driven than anyone I know.  In less than five years, she’s taken control of her life, climbing all the Colorado fourteeners and doing a handful of marathons, too.  In ten days she’s doing a fifty-two-mile race!  She has been an unfailing cheerleader since I first decided to give this running thing a shot three years ago, even running next to me for eleven miles of my first half marathon saying, “Good job!  You’re doing it!”


Note: On this particular date it was warmer on top of Pikes Peak than it was at the race. Brrrr!!!

She’s obsessed with the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon.  That’s a 13.3-mile race UP a fourteener (7800 feet of elevation gain) and a 26.2-mile race up AND down the mountain the next day.  She’s done the PPA several times, and last year she did back-to-back PPA and PPM.  Crazy, right?

And every year she tries to convince me to sign up to do the PPA with her.

This year, especially after going down there to cheer for her at the PPA last August, I was very tempted.  Guess that means that I’m crazy.

But the thing is crazy popular and sells out in one day.  So in order to get in, you need to either sign up for a series of difficult races that culminate in the PPA or run a half marathon in under 2:30.  My best time for a half is 2:44.

The other thing is that this race is rather pricey.  Races in general are pricey!  After last summer I decided with the exception of the Bolder Boulder to only do races that were fund-raisers.

(Sidebar rant: I made this decision after doing the Warrior Dash the day after the PPA.  I had already done it twice before, but gee whiz, guys!  Charge $65 to race only a 5K?  Plus $10 for parking?  And when you’re done you get nothing to eat or drink?  The worst I’ve gotten on other races is a banana and half a stale bagel.  Oh, and every other race gives you a bottle of water!  “But we give you a free beer!”  Just what I want after exercising, when alcohol hits you faster.  And at altitude, where alcohol hits you harder.  No, please, I just want some water.  I notice this year that $60 is the early bird price, and from there it goes all the way up to $90.  Good grief, I’ve done half marathons for $55!  Okay, back to what I was saying…)

Looking at the price of the PPA plus the fact that I’d have to either sign up for it PLUS a half marathon that I’d have to run faster than ever or it PLUS the rest of the race series, I decided I couldn’t justify it.

But my friend is persistent.  And supportive.  And PPA-obsessed (way more than I love the Bolder Boulder).

This weekend, chilling in the hot tub, with pain on her face after having run 30 miles earlier that afternoon, she said she was gonna cut me a deal.  If I can race a half marathon in under 2:30 before registration opens for the 2014 PPA, she’ll register me.




I was stunned to silence.  This bestie, she knows me.  And she knows how to motivate me.

But run a 2:30 half?  That’s an 11:27 pace!  My best half pace is 12:31 – and that was at sea level!

“You can do it, Alissa.  I know you can do it.”  She has had way more faith in me than I’ve ever had in myself.  She’s both supported and pushed me.  I sure hoped that this push wasn’t off a cliff.  😉

As has often been the case when she proposes new running challenges to me (with the right timing…  she’s so cunning…) I didn’t say yes, but I also didn’t say no.  Which means this one could once again turn out to be a yes.  So here’s the plan.  First things first: I want to break one hour in the Bolder Boulder.  Last fall I did a 10K where I pushed myself WAY harder than I’ve ever pushed in ANY race and I stumbled across the finish line at 1:04 – a 10:21 pace.  To break an hour in the BB, I’m gonna have to get down to 9:39.

Oh, also, I hibernate over the winter because I don’t like running in cold/dark and don’t like running on ice.  So I’m starting not-quite-from-scratch.


So time to train like crazy for the next month and a half and see what I can do.  Based on that performance, I’ll decide if I’m gonna start shopping for a half in October or November.

Wish me luck!  And if you really want to, track my progress.

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2 Responses to A Challenge Has Been Set Forth…

  1. You can totally do it! Quickening your pace always sounds scary but you will be surprised how much speed you actually have in you. Looking forward to reading about your progress!

    • Alissa says:

      Thanks, Blondes! I sure am nervous, but also cautiously optimistic. I just realized this morning that if I’m training for another half I’m probably also due for a new pair of shoes…

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