Friday Steve called me and asked if I wanted to do a run on Mount Evans. We bike up it in the summer and it's absolutely gorgeous up there, so of course I wanted to go. But, my knee is on the mend and while I was ready to start running on it, an 18 mile run was iffy. Steve said it was my call to make. This is one of my favorite things about Steve and his coaching philosophy. A lot of athletes think it's the role of their coach to tell them when they are better. I know my body best, and I like that he trusts that.
If there is one thing I HATE, it's being left home. Ooooh, I just can't stand it. Watching my training partners go out for an adventure without me just breaks my heart. My dad always called me his "Go-Go-Girl" when I was little.
So I hemmed, and I hawed, and in the end I just said YES. I knew that if things got bad I could turn around and walk down.
I was out of the house at 5:15am Saturday morning and over to Steve's by 5:45. Once we were loaded up and headed to the mountains I knew we were going to have a great day. Steve and Anthony were cracking jokes left and right. When we pulled into the Mount Evans parking lot the song "It's Business Time" came over the radio. We sat there and laughed and laughed. It was Tyler speaking to us from the sky.
As we took off on the run we were reminded just how high up in elevation we were. We were huffing and puffing. Plus, we were armed with snowshoes, extra food, extra layers and were much more burdened on the back than usual. The conditions on Mount Evans right now are AWESOME. The road is pretty much completely clear and you can get away with running shoes and Yak-Traxs all the way to Summit Lake.
Like I thought might happen the knee started bothering be at about mile 7 and I made the decision to turn and head back down. This was an interesting decision and the first I have had to make of this sort among Steve and Anthony. We really try to stick together and we have developed a pretty tight bond from the many adventures we have experienced together. And then there is the fact that I am the "girl" in the group, and good guys can't help but look out for the girl.
I calmly explained that I felt safe to head down alone, that I wanted them to continue on to the lake...or further...without me, and that I was warm, prepared, and felt fine in the mind. I could tell that they struggled for a moment with the "girl" issue. Steve said this needs to be a decision everyone felt fine with, and each of the three of us made a little comment about why we felt okay with the decision.
I must say, my already very high respect for these men went up three notches at that moment. It's difficult to explain, but when I am out training, I want to be treated as an equal. I have considerable back-country knowledge and in the past men can tend to discount that knowledge because I'm a woman. These guys really showed me that they were capable of treating me as an equal and giving me credit for my experience. I really appreciated it!
So, down I went, and you know, I had a GREAT time. I puttered along and walked when my knee told me to, and ran when it felt fine. 14 miles on Mount Evans in the middle of winter is pretty awesome and I feel privileged to have been able to experience it.
The boys continued to the lake and came back down after that. They got back to the parking lot about 1 hour after I had arrived and were in great spirits. We headed back to Denver and boy was it snowing there. The weather on Mount Evans was much better than the Denver weather, so I felt like we got a treat!
Here is some video of the day.