“It’s just a hill; get over it.”
Holy shit, their slogan says it all. It was one epic and brutal hill.
At over six months pregnant, we decided to walk it as a family. Mike joined us, and it was my daughter’s first 5K, even if she did ride in the stroller 3 miles out of 3.2
The zoo is one of my daughter’s favorite places, so the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was the perfect place to introduce her to my racing addiction. She had been asking to go running with me for weeks every time I laced up my shoes to leave the house. We even got her some neon running shoes of her own.
The zoo is already a hill; it’s on a mountain after all. However, that was the least of the route. The route continued on past the zoo to the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. Usually, the road to the shrine is restricted to only vehicles. I could see why; if it was open to pedestrians, sea-level dwelling tourists would be passed out all over the shoulder.
As we ascended out of the zoo, the shrine hovered above us ominously, at what appeared to be an insurmountable distance, especially in two miles. I was relieved to be walking, even pushing a stroller, especially with my rounding belly and the ligament pain that persisted even just walking up the hill.
The grade was intense. I believe we climbed 1600 feet in those two miles up through asphalt switchbacks. The views, however, were gorgeous. The mountain scenery of the route, the picturesque looming on the shrine, the miniaturized city spread out below. It was like looking down from the Incline. It was worth it.
It reminded me of Cripple Creek, of course. I believe the grade was steeper than that challenge, but Cripple Creek was definitely longer. Now I have the bug though. Next year, I want to run the Run to the Shrine. The 5K first. I feel the 10K, which starts below the zoo, might be too ambitious. I will have to see how running is going next year. There will be a lot of changes between now and then.
My daughter had a great time, which was the whole point. Both her and her little accomplice (Trisha’s daughter) crossed the finish line. After the race was done, they were all about running back to the zoo. They were energized and excited through the zoo while the three adults were zombies, limbing and half-dead.