I will make this bold statement - The Inclinathon will be the most difficult marathon in the world. That is, of course, if someone actually completes it.
Brandon has set a date and has welcomed any and all brave souls to participate in this event: 13 trips up and down the Manitou Springs Incline. Total elevation gain of ~26,000'. Total loss of ~26,000'.
I made the mistake of agreeing to participate in part of his attempt. Hell, if he's gonna make 13 trips, what's 6 or 7, right? Last night, I thought it would be prudent to give a try at just a few laps, maybe 3 or so. You know, just to get an idea of what to expect.
I now expect carnage.
36:15: While the very vertical nature of the incline makes it nearly impossible to "go easy", I did my best to throttle down. The incline is kind of like your old college bar. It's strangely familiar when you go back, and you're guaranteed to run into the "regulars." Sure enough, the two people I expected to see were coming down on my first trip up.
|Lets do this|
55:33 (19:18): I remember when one trip down these stairs would wreck me for a week. My quads held up pretty well this time.
|All good so far...|
1:29:44 (34:11): Some random dude got behind me at the bottom and wouldn't pass. This was the easiest trip up for some reason.
1:50:23 (20:39): The novelty had worn off. I just wanted to get to the bottom so I could finish up my last lap. Quads started to do some serious work.
|Two fingers to signify two trips, right?|
2:23:53 (33:30): The desire to just be done with this had finally taken over. Darkness had set in, but the lights of El Paso County gave me all the visibility I needed. I pushed the last few minutes pretty hard. Relieved to be done with the "hard" part, I then began my last descent.
2:52:13 (28:20): One step into the last trip down, I discovered just why 13 trips will be insane. My legs turned to absolute jelly. Managing to stay upright became the #1 goal. Whereas I could take some jogging steps down the first two trips, I was reduced to crawling over obstacles on my last descent.
|...and most importantly, the last trip|
I can wrap my head around 13 ascents in a day. I definitely felt another couple of climbs in me. The way back down, though...that is the killer. It shows clearly in my splits - each time up got faster, but each trip back down got progressively slower. Yuck. Maybe one can become specifically trained for this. Still. I'd like to think that I'm somewhat adapted to handle the rigors of steep descents, and three rounds killed me. Maybe, maaaaaybe, I could pull off four or five trips down without ruining an entire season.
I will say this: If Brandon - or ANYONE - completes 13 round-trips of the Incline, I think he can legitimately lay claim to completing the toughest marathon in the world. I hereby declare a theoretical winning time of 18 hours.