I finally made it down to Manitou Springs for my first Incline Club run of the year. For those that don't know the Incline Club(IC) is a running group headed up by Matt Carpenter, that trains every year primarily for the Pike's Peak Ascent and Marathon. Their Sunday runs are always long runs that can last from 2-4 or more hours. This week they were headed up Barr Trail which is the course for the PPA and PPM. This early in the season they only go about half way up to Barr Camp, but during the summer some people may go as far as the top and then hitch a ride down.
Since this was my first really long run of the new year I decided that I was really going to take it easy. The mile or so of the course is on the road and pretty flat so I felt good taking it easy, but as soon as the road took a turn towards the vertical I started to feel it. Matt had started towards the back, but shortly after the climb started I heard his screw shoes moving in quickly. He flew on by and I happily let him go. I was glad to have him by me earlier rather than later when my ego would have been more fragile. As soon as we hit the trail I realized that I should have been wearing my screw shoes as well. There were large sections of the trail completely covered with ice. I was able to get by along the side where it was either small sections of dirt or snow. Because I had started so conservatively I was able to pass a couple of people on the W's section of the trail which a place that I usually run into trouble. By the top of the W's though I remembered how difficult this trail really is. I was still trying not to push myself at all, but my heart rate was still very near Lactate Threshold. Anyways, I finally made it to Barr Camp just after Mat and a couple others were leaving after obviously taking a break there. I decided to take a break rather than try to catch up to them. A few others stopped as well and we chatted for a few minutes and then it was back down again. Matt had made the comment before we left that a fall on the way up may be funny, but a fall on the way down may dangerous. I knew this, but I still managed to fall a little more than 1/2 mile from Barr Camp. I'm still not sure exactly what was going through my mind when it happened. I saw the ice, but I don't remember if I thought it was rough enough to provide traction or if I thought my foot was going to land before it so that I could either stop or leap over it. Well, my foot landed right on it and there was no friction what so ever. I went down flat on my back and then slid. I took a quick inventory of my body parts and they were all there and seemed to still be functioning. I noticed my sunglasses were a few feet above me so I scrambled on all fours up the ice to retrieve them. I then got up and walked it off. It didn't take too long before I was running again, mainly so I could get off this mountain faster. I did stop to walk for pretty much every patch of ice from here on down. A while later I noticed some blood on my hand. It wasn't bad, but I really didn't need to see that right then. I took it real easy the rest of the way down until I hit the road, then since I had some gas left in the tank I picked it up a little for the run back to the park. Finished in just under 3 hours with an ascent time of 1:41 so I was relatively pleased especially since I wasn't pushing it at all and this was my first run of the season. I can't wait until this summer when I'm really in shape and the ice isn't there to slow me down.