Saturday, December 30, 2017

Do Epic Sh*t

I think it's a good idea to make your kids do things they don't want to do. It builds character.

For example, make them clean up all the dog poop and if they don't, make them eat it (jk). Make them work and make their own money and budget. Make them talk to their own teachers and advocate for themselves without you stepping in to save them. Make them write thank you notes. Oh, and make them climb this.

Related image
This used to be a cable car track (1900s) that took material up to Pike's Peak for the pipeline.
The railroad ties now make up this massive staircase, climbing 2,000 feet in less than a mile.

I didn't ask for a lot for Christmas (my list was so random - 8 lb hand weights, Run Fat East Slow Cookbook and a fleece pullover from Yo Colorado.  And, one other thing - for our family to do the Manitou Incline. Ken and I had actually been wanting to do this for awhile - the kids not so much. It sucks to have parents who actually like to be outside doing things. 

Sam: So, let me get this straight. We're going to drive two hours to be tortured then drive two hours home?

Basically. Kids are such turds.

I picked the warmest day of the week because on top of all the bitching the kids might do about the climb, I did not also want them bitching about the cold.

As we were driving towards the trail, I could see the incline from the car window. I pointed it out and got a lovely response from the 20 year old in the backseat. Something like, "Oh, eff me!"

10:00 a.m. and right on schedule - we started our ascent. I tried not to recall a statistic I had read about the number of steps to the top (2,744). I also tried not to look up (something I learned while doing the TransRockies Run. The most hell fire way to psych yourself out is to look WAY up to where you need to go).

Emma (16) started strong until the 10th step. Then she said she didn't feel good and couldn't breathe. This wasn't starting out so well. Sam and Ken went ahead. I did my best to provide MC (Mom Coaching) in the least annoying way possible.

As people went by us, every single one sounded like they were going to puke and die. "See?" I said to Emma. "This is hard for every single person, not just us." Then I threw in some words of wisdom like, "No pain, no gain" and "When you're done you'll have bragging rights forever!" <- Not annoying at all to a 16 year old.

She seems to be giving me the finger. MC definitely working.

Emma got teary eyed - psyching herself out. That's when I told her I did not care how many breaks we took, but we weren't going to stand around complaining or she could go back to the car (Shut up and climb 2,744 steps!) At that point I brought out the SMV (Stern Mom Voice) and things seemed to improve.

Emma is the type of girl who sometimes needs to get behind herself. I mean, don't we all? I could see on her face how much her brain was messing with her every single time she looked at the 2,000+ stairs and the steep incline that lay ahead. There is so much value in realizing in those moments that simply moving forward, no matter how slow, is true progress. These socks help

Emma and I have been in this spot together many times. There have been several 10ks that she desperately wanted to do then basically gave up before she went .25 miles (but did finish). You can read one of these stories HERE. Then there was that time we climbed our first 14,000 foot mountain. This was also something she wanted to do, but lost her gusto about a mile before the summit (she did finish that, too). You can read that story HERE.

My point in this is that Emma represents a bit of all of us. We doubt ourselves. We psych ourselves out. We think we can't do hard things. We think we're not worthy or that everyone else is better than we are. Until we prove ourselves wrong. And, with each time we prove ourselves wrong, we get just a bit more behind ourselves.

In the end we made it. Of course we did. One mile may have taken 1.5 hours, but she/we fought hard for it and the victory was sweet.

We are all a bit sore today (because who normally climbs a 2.744 step stairway?). I love that Emma told me this morning - "I keep looking at pictures of the incline because I can't believe I did it."

Overall my kids never want to do that again. That's okay. I know they'll never forget it. As for me - I can't wait to see how fast I can do it (Apollo Ono did it in 17 minutes, so my goal is obviously 16:59).



  1. Geez. I thought running 4 miles in -20 windchill today was as badass as it comes. You had to go and top me.

    1. No you still win. The day we did this is was 60 degrees. -20 good grief.

  2. You ARE BADASS! Most would never even make it out of the house.

  3. That's amazing! Not sure I could do it, have a terrible fear of heights. But hey, that would certainly help me conquer that fear.

    1. You would do fine if you never turned around and looked down!

  4. Holy doodle! Next you'll be doing that race where they scramble up a ski jumping slope. You might want to find out first if you have to supply your own bucket.

  5. Well crap, we were in CO in August and I didn't realize this little family bonding activity existed. I'm sure my boys would have loved this (not) and likely would have been plotting my demise the entire time we climbed! Great job! I will secretly add this to the CO bucket list for a future trip, I need to decide how to talk my family into this!

    1. YES! You have to do it. Just don't tell them ahead of time.

    2. So say something like, "I've picked out this great hiking trail for today...." Love this, you always keep me laughing.

  6. Wow! You never cease to amaze me with your inspiration. I am working with my two kids (15 & 9) to run the Crescent City Classic in New Orleans (10k). This is a challenge indeed! As a new runner myself (first half marathon in November - Disney Wine and Dine), your blogs have kept me going. Thank you for helping me to view running and life in such a joyous (and freaking humorous) way! Happy New Year!

  7. I am going to do this next year! BTW- how does that Yo Colorado
    fleece jacket run? True to size?? Small?

    1. I say it might run a tad small. The small fits me well but I wouldn't want it any smaller.

  8. Ha! I made my three boys climb this at Thanksgiving. Very similar story with my youngest (10) and the complaining and self-doubt. My saying was taken off a t-shirt of a kid climbing it too. He had a shirt from some mountain (I'm assuming Pikes Peak). The back of his shirt said, It's just a hill, get over it! About a 1/3 of the way up, my son took off his camel back, handed it to me, and powered up the rest of the way without complaint. It may have also been all the candy that I was giving him to bribe him into going in the first place :) When I said, we were going to make this a tradition, the boys all let me know that since they've done it once, there is no need to do it again. I love forced family fun!

  9. Freakin' fantastic! How long did it take? You are a BAMR for sure and thank you for sharing!

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  11. That's so cool! What a great way to spend the holiday. Cheers!

  12. Love Emma's shirt!
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  13. When I did it with my ex and kids, my wife and daughters were going to just go up partway and head down at the bailout (connector to the Barr trail s little over halfway). But when they got to halfway, they saw a guy WITH NO LEGS heading back down after climbing the thing. They couldn't allow themselves not to do the whole thing after that. I think they took 2 hours, but they had to finish.

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  15. Then how do you get down? Someone gives you a ride right? lol.

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