Stopping to take a look around 12740 ft.
It is Saturday morning at 2:55 AM. Most people would be counting how many hours they have until they need to get up. Not me...I was counting minutes. I lay there, cats taking up most of the bed and Meg snoozing away. Finally 3 AM comes (because getting up any earlier is crazy right) and I am up and moving. I have a date with Chris and Steph in the Rockies!!!

As I am leaving the house I am starting to get jacked up and post on Facebook something like "3 AM and I am up ready to go". Not long after my iPhone alert sounds and I have a reply. I am thinking someone is as crazy as I am. Well it was Swede getting ready to roll as well. We meet at 4 and we are off to Rainbow Lake in Indian Peaks Wilderness for some fun.

We arrive at the trailhead around 5:30 and we are off. The opening climb starts at 10000 ft and climbs 6-7 miles and 2500-2700 ft. Needless to say it was brutal but DAMN what a way to wake up. The views along the way were some of the best I have seen. The climb was tough but I am learning VERY quickly the need to know how to power hike.

Once we topped out we were standing on (literally) the glacier. The picture above does not do it justice as it was absolutely spectacular. This is when the fun really started!!!

The next part of the trail was a 1200 ft very quick descent with water running down the middle of the trail in sections. Made for some very tricky footing along the way. Little did we know at this point as we were cruising that this monster was going to eat us up once we headed back.

Along the way we could see the trail heading up the pass. It was kind of crazy for me to see because it was so open and looked almost as wide as a road. Starting up the trail Steph was cruising (as she did almost all day) and I was working on my power hiking skills again. I think you can sense a theme. When we hit the top of the pass we were 9 miles in. The upcoming downhill was UGLY. It looked alot like Hope Pass in Leadville. Just freakin brutal which made us all smile. HERE WE GO!!!

Cruising to the bottom we were still not close to our turn point in mileage so we kept rolling. Thinking the next section would be flat and we would have a few easy miles. Well...the hills were not flat they were down hill. When Swede and I hit our turn at 13.1 miles down we had more downhill than up. All I could say was CRAP THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN!!!

Making the turn my legs were starting to feel it. I knew we had alot of climbing to do over the next 8 miles. Swede and Steph were looking good and pushed on as I was happy to sweep the course.

Now remember that hill I referenced above? Yep it was BRUTAL on the way back. We all pushed as hard as we could and I know at one point I was clocking a 24 minute mile. Wow that beast just would not let up.

FINALLY when we topped back out at 12740 ft we know all that was left was the technical downhill. We all regroup and Steph leads the way pushing the tempo the entire way. I guess I felt the need to play soccer because I was kicking every rock that was in the path. At one point it stopped in the trail, floated a few colorful words, picked up a rock, and proceeded to throw the rock as far as I could. Yep...I felt like a man again. I could tell the rain was coming so I needed to stop getting frustrated and get moving. Steph and Swede were chilling out when I got back to the car. Upon returning my Garmin said it was 25.8 miles which meant I had to keep going. Everyone know that if I am that close I am going to finish the marathon.

As I stagger back to the car looking like Otis the Drunk I could almost taste the recovery food waiting. Oh sweet lord I was done so give me a Red Bull, chocolate milk, and peanut butter sandwich!!! A much as I love to train and run I love to finish. As we travel back home all we could say was BRUTAL. We had just crushed out a marathon between 10000-12740 ft and 8500 ft vertical gain. By far the most vertical I have ever done in that short amount of distance.

Beat up but still glowing I added up my week. It ended up being 102 miles and 18800 ft vertical climb. Even more so the run was absolutely epic. Thanks to Steph for putting together a beast of a run!!!

Who know what this week hold but whatever it is I am sure it will be epic!!!

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