On this special edition of Runner's High, I am here in Manitou Springs having run the incline this morning. So, today, we're gonna talk about how did it go, how do I feel, why am I out here, and should you do the incline?
Well, the genesis of the story starts back almost 10 years ago. Back in college my coach grew up in Manitou Springs and told me about the incline. It’s this thing everybody around here knows about it, it stares at you from all around town. You can see it's looming here behind me as I sit in the Park, near the free parking I can find in Manitou Springs. So, what's the deal with the incline? Well, as a brief history, it is a .88 mile trail, basically .9, and it rises 2,000 feet in that time. Meaning, it is a very, very aggressive trail. They’re signs up saying this is an extreme trail, and you shouldn't take it lightly. It is definitely a tough climb.
Now, that being said, my coach always talked about the record holder, at the time was Matt Carpenter, 18:30 is his time up the incline. Well, in 2015, Pro trail runner, Joe Gray broke that by going 17:45. And he has invested his own time, I'm not sure whether he has intentions to do so in the future or not. Maybe he could maybe he couldn't.
But I wanted to see how do I stack up? Now, before I came out here, I love math, so I was like poring over all the numbers and trying to figure out okay how does elation affect the altitude, how's that gonna affect my running speed, how is the gradient change going to affect my running speed being an average of 43% gradient and pitches up over 60 there from like the half to the three quarter section. You know, how is that going to affect my speed? And I kind of made a guess. I used the math and it seemed a bit fast, and I said maybe I can do it in 25 minutes. So, that was kind of my inclination.
I booked this plane ticket to come out here two weeks ago, everything was still beautiful, 60 years of highs and it changed suddenly. As you can see behind me there is snow everywhere. I really wasn't sure whether I was going to be able to run the incline or not. I thought it may be a lost cause. But you know, I'll come out here, see what's all about the airline carrier I chose not big on refunds.
So, it was going to be a lost cause anyway, whether I came out or didn't come out. Well, yesterday, my coach and I, we've been religiously watching the incline cam trying to see what are the conditions, how does it look. Earlier on in the week snow clouds, terrible. And I started to see people go up, people go up, people go up. Yesterday, my coach emailed me, “It's melting. Maybe there's a chance after all.”
So, I got here this morning. I woke up at 3:40 in the morning to get on a flight to get here to Colorado Springs so that I could return this evening. It's just a long, long day for me. And got to the incline, a couple guys came down, I asked them, “Is it okay run, did you run it, did you go all the way up?” They said “Yes. But you're going to need something else besides what you have on.”
I just have my normal running shoes on. Well, being a good boy scout, I always come prepared. I brought my tracks bikes with me, just in case in the off chance I could actually run it, give it a go, and not kind of take it at a leisurely pace.
Well, I have to say that my 25-minute estimate was a little aggressive for my first time. I ran probably the first 10%, maybe 15% about to the 800-time mark. There's roughly 2,744-2,760 something like that steps through the whole incline. And after the 800-mark that it was a kind of jaw catch my breath, jog, catch my breath, walking kind of thing.
And then after that, I don't know where the mark was because there are snow on the incline and I could not see the markers most of the way. It was just aggressive trudging and pushing my legs as hard as we could go to get up the hill as I tasted blood in my mouth. I'm breathing so hard at altitude. And I got to the top thinking I was actually the full summit everyone talks about the full summit messing with you.
And I was so in the zone about next step, next step, next step, next step, that I didn't notice I was at the top for a second. But I stopped my watch and ended up at 30:34. So, a little disappointing that I didn't quite hit my 25-minute goal or even under 30. There's something just nice about those numbers. But you know, if you're local and you know the incline and know okay, this is my first time, I'm doing it in the snow, I've got spikes on but in ?? 05:03> spikes, how does that stack up?
You know, is 30:34 okay? You know, where does it rank I know the top 20 times on Strava basically 21-30 and below. So, I know I'm not anywhere near those. I think the time of 25 I could get to if I put in some time, some specific training for the incline, I get to do it better weather; it's 30 degrees outside, probably see my breath. It's gotten cloudy up by the time I'm shooting this video.
It was a little more sunny this morning as you saw the other reel that I took when I was actually at the incline. But how does that stack up? What are your times, how have you done on the incline if you've done it? And if you've done it, subscribe to the channel, stick around with me. We're going to get along just fine. But if you have not done it, I encourage you to come out here to Manitou Springs, awesome little town. Colorado Springs is a great place too.
There's a lot of things to see. You can convince the boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife that you will see all kinds of stuff out here but get the incline in, it's a great personal challenge.If nothing else if you have like me a little bit of malaise and trying to figure out what your next running challenge, what’s your next physical challenge, the incline is a great choice.
Just as a short update, so I ran the incline on Friday, today is Monday. Has since coming home, I’ve pretty much come down with the cold. If you can't tell by my voice, my thought was that leading into going out to do the incline this last week. I just had kind of sore throat from the house being too dry, I hadn't brought the humidifier out yet. So, I was waking up each morning kind of with a raw throat.
But it seems like possibly I didn’t do the inclined with perfect health. Also, probably part of the reason that I was hacking up mucus is I was going up the incline. And then now I've got like mucus in my lungs and that kind of stuff. So, took my workout a little bit easier yesterday. I'm going to take off today entirely. So, I know I've got time left to improve my time on the incline.
So, the plan is right now to go back out in the spring and do it again. Hopefully, better weather, that’s not 30 degrees and not covered in snow. And then I'm a little bit better shape. So, hopefully, I'll have a follow up in the spring, where we do the incline again and possibly my coach gonna come out and maybe we'll see if I can convince him, former national champion, former world champion, amateur triathlon, Todd Buckingham.
We've had him on the smart athlete podcast a couple times. I was talking to him about it, he's interested. So, we might have a slew of people coming out just to try to do the inclined that don't live in Colorado Springs. So, I'll send you back to me for the usual goodbye. As always, subscribe to the channel. I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.