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Manitou Incline - Geek Turned Athlete

Manitou Incline


The hubs and I spent the weekend in Colorado Springs since he had work there, and the hotel was already paid for. We had a great time and even got to see the Air Force/ BYU game. We also tackled this mammoth of a mountain that morning before the game. You see that line that goes straight up the mountain? Yes, we hiked that.

His friends kept telling us that we needed to do the Manitou Incline while they laughed a little under their breath. I didn’t know what was so funny until we drove up to the spot and saw it. Oh.. that is why incredibly in-shape men were laughing. This thing is a beast!!!

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If you can make it out on the graph, it goes from around 6,700 feet above sea level to around 8,900 feet above sea level in 1.2 miles. I had no idea how painful this 1.2 miles was going to be until we were 15 minutes in and nowhere near halfway done. We decided on the long loop b/c if we didn’t do it, we told ourselves we were “pussies.” Yes, desperate times for motivation call for truck driver talk.

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After taking 2 breaks already, halfway up I had to sit down. I was dizzy because of the lack of oxygen and the elevation that I was NOT at ALL used to being in. I was going to puke. Or faint. I was breathing hard, and my heart felt like it was going to beat right out of my chest.

I didn’t want to fall down those steep “stairs” and kill myself. It was like a stairstepper that never shut off or just went crazy and you had to keep stepping and stepping while oxygen was getting pumped out of the room. After 5 minutes of collecting myself, the hubs and I started again.

Living in Albuquerque started looking really good since the elevation where my mom lives is around 6,000 feet. No wonder all the running pros train there. My measly 2,100 feet elevation in Spokane was biting me in the ass.


We finally made it to the top. It was the hardest 1.2 miles that I have ever done in my life! We didn’t look at our watches when we started but we are guessing that it took us 45-60 minutes to complete the trek up to the top including breaks. Probably somewhere closer to the 60 minutes.


I can’t believe there is some old local guy that does it in 17 minutes!!! We saw some Air Force Academy kids at the top, and they did it in 41 minutes.


We took the long way down, and I would be lying if I said my legs weren’t shaking the whole way from the initial climb up. Good thing there were plenty scenic shot areas on the way down!


I’m STILL sore from this climb and I’m doing a Half Ironman on Saturday! That is what a beast this thing is!

We still had fun, and I kind of want to go back and try for a better time…

What did you do this weekend?

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • genesis September 13, 2010, 4:20 pm

    holy hell! ridiculous hike. you guys are pretty nuts 🙂

    i was thinking of you guys this weekend and whether you guys partook (is that a word) in Spokefest…but i guess not.

    • Nicole September 14, 2010, 10:25 am

      What’s Spokefest?

      • genesis September 14, 2010, 10:31 am

        21-mile bike ride around spokane that ends with a fair in the park or something like that. i think last year there were 1700 riders.

  • Matt September 13, 2010, 4:29 pm

    No way in hell I could climb that!

  • Erica September 13, 2010, 4:37 pm

    very cool that you could travel with the man on his trip!! That is one heck of a natural workout. I love it! Way to make it to the top!

  • Kacy September 13, 2010, 5:46 pm

    Wow, you always find some way to seem even more hard core every time I read your blog. I heart you.

    I ran a half mary on the dreadmill this weekend. Lame.

    • Nicole September 14, 2010, 10:26 am

      Hey, running 13.1 miles on a treadmill is pretty badass!! I would have gone crazy. 😉

  • JRM September 13, 2010, 5:48 pm

    Gorgeous views, although I would have had flashbacks to geology field camp with that elevation.

  • Annie September 13, 2010, 5:52 pm

    Ahh, the Incline! It always kicks my ass. You are brave for doing it w/out being acclimated!!!

  • nrmrvrk September 13, 2010, 10:50 pm

    Nice climb! Way to talk yourselves into the hardest route.

    I don’t do well with elevation. I hiked a section of Mt. Rainier two years ago and getting up the last bit from 9000′ to 10000′ took forever. I’d hike 50 steps in the snow and then stop to catch my breath. That’s what I get living at 20′ above sea level for the last 15 years.

    I had my last long run before my target “A” race (Baker Lake 50K) this past weekend. Great weather so it went well. A little over 27 miles in a little under 4 hours. I finally got my nutrition right and felt great the whole time and afterward. One of those rare long runs where you think “yeah, I could have kept going”.

    Good luck on your Half-Iron.

  • Annie D @ Annie's Simple Life September 14, 2010, 4:51 am

    BEAUTIFUL! We’re going to Yosemite and I’m worried about altitude sickness… how did you keep yourself going?! If I felt bad, I’d stop and go back down because I’m a WIMP!!!

    • Nicole September 14, 2010, 10:28 am

      Just stop, and let your heart calm down. take it slow! You aren’t racing, and you want to enjoy yourselves, right? Have fun at Yosemite!!

  • Alanna @ Blood, Sweat, and Cupcakes September 14, 2010, 6:25 am

    Yikes! That is just up up up!
    Good job on not puking with that altitude change! 🙂

    Good luck on your half-ironman!

  • Emily (Healthy Fit Mama) September 14, 2010, 10:26 am

    OMG! I used to live in CO Springs and my hubby worked in the AF athletic ticket office. I miss it there so much and these pics make me miss it even more!!! 🙁

  • Heather (Where's the Beach) September 14, 2010, 10:46 am

    Wow – how cool. I would say how fun, but I suppose that’s a bit subjective huh?

  • Lisa September 14, 2010, 11:29 am

    Holy crap! That’s an amazing workout for sure!

  • Gelareh | Nutritious Foodie September 14, 2010, 12:25 pm

    You can imagin how we felt going from Houston at Sea Level to Pikes Peak in CO at 14200 ft elevation.

    Colorado is beautiful isn’t it? 🙂

  • Tina September 14, 2010, 2:29 pm

    Wow that is one hard core climb! I would have been exhausted.

  • Gillian September 14, 2010, 4:30 pm

    That hike looks incredible! I need to find somewhere in Toronto where I can go hiking! Congrats on making it to the top–doesn’t it always feel SO good?!

  • Caitlin September 14, 2010, 8:44 pm

    Well no feat of mine from the weekend seems to even hold a candle to this. My goodness you make me tired! No but really, this is awesome, as are the two of you, same old same old every time blah blah!!!


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