Pikes Peak Trip and Training for a 14er

Editor’s note: Today, we welcome new contributor Lisa Martinez. Lisa will be joining us for an ongoing series about an amazing adventure she has planned: a “14er” up Pikes Peak. Please join me in welcoming Lisa — I know she’s going to inspire ALL of us through her sharing of this adventure! LMH

My love affair with the outdoors began as a little girl growing up in Michigan. Our family of six put some solid mileage on our pop-up camper in and around the Great Lake State. After many years of adding to my cherished outdoorsy memories, discovering that Mike (my now husband) was a mountain man at heart certainly increased his ideal match appeal.

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Married for three years, it’s hard to believe that we are just about to embark on our first rustic camping trip together, a road trip from Dallas, Texas to Colorado. The pinnacle, literally, of our trip will be summiting our first mountain together — Pikes Peak — at 14,110 feet, or a 14er.

This trip is not just about climbing a mountain, though, it’s about transformation.

We are part of a small group on a special mission. In 2011, Mike’s godson and his parents attempted to hike Pikes Peak and failed. That experience motivated the dad, Joseph, to make a promise to his son — that his high school graduation gift would be returning to successfully summit Pikes Peak.

Joseph made a commitment to lose 200 lbs and get a total hip replacement in order to achieve this. The transformation thus far has been inspiring! You can read more about Joseph’s story and follow his incredible progress at www.fourteenthousandonehundredten.com and on Facebook. What a blessing for us to be invited to join in this journey!

Training for a 14er is no small task – it requires time and effort over weeks and months. While Google will provide any number of excellent resources for training for a 14er, here are a couple of my favorites:

After reading those, I feel like my training process has fallen really short. Three weeks out, I wish I had been more disciplined in my preparations. I still have a bit of time to focus on mentally and physically preparing for this challenge.

Here are some mountain hiking training tips that this first-timer will impart.

  1. Find an easy tracking method for your progress. In April, Mike and I joined a nearby 24-hr gym and bought Fitbits, the wearable activity trackers. Keeping track of our daily steps is key for accountability, and everything syncs right to our iPhones, tablets, and laptops. Super convenient and a simple process has made us stick with it. Tapping into my competitive side, I do enjoy cheering and taunting our hiking companions as we view each others’ weekly rankings. As a bonus, we also have both lost weight using our Fitbits.
  2. Workouts: Include intervals and inclines. I started out walking 30 minutes on a treadmill, no incline. From there, I began building up my time incrementally and working up the level of incline. I warm up a few minutes on the flat treadmill, then pump it up to 5 on the incline. From there, I increase 1 number on the incline, up to 10, for a minute a piece, and then go back to 5 and repeat. Be prepared to sweat – it’s a good workout.
  3. Good shoes/boots are a must-have. You may go cheap on your other gear, but please don’t skimp on your hiking shoes or boots. If your feet end up miserable during your hike, it may be a deal-breaker. Since you will be layering socks (wicking socks + wool socks) it’s recommended to get a half-size bigger than your normal shoe size. Keep your toenails trimmed. And give yourself a few weeks to break in your footwear. My cousin has done Pikes Peak seven times (what?!) and recommended hiking shoes instead of bulky boots for me. Light weight  = Better.  Lighter is easier to break in, and more comfortable – and this is mostly a dirt trail, so appropriate.
  4. Incorporate practice hikes. A treadmill in a gym does not provide the outdoor elements you’ll be facing: Walking on rocky and dirt trails, navigating tree roots, up and down hills large and small, dealing with bugs, sun, carrying your loaded backpack, bobbing and weaving through branches…and so on. Its important to see how your body does under similar conditions, not to mention the day after!

Three days ago, 4 of us preparing for the trip took a early morning practice hike at the beautiful Oak Cliff Nature Preserve.Three hours and about 6-miles later, it sure was an eye-opener. There is no substitute for hiking in nature. I really enjoyed it and managed the hike better than I thought I would.

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Afterwards, like all good Texans should, we protein loaded on some tasty BBQ. No joke, here are the before and after shots of the serious damage we did at the finger-licking good Lockhart Smokehouse.

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BEFORE

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AFTER

Yes, those are the remnants from a pile of smoked meaty goodness in the middle of plateless table.

This is the first post in my Colorado Road Trip Series – so track our outdoor adventure right here over the next 3 weeks.

Lisa Martinez

Lisa Martinez

About Lisa Martinez

A writer, artist, and silly-heart from her youth, Lisa Martinez utilizes a variety of mediums as outlets for creative storytelling, laced with humor whenever possible. Lisa attended Franciscan University, where she studied Writing, Mental Health, and Theology. In 2004, she discovered her passion for driving small business growth; now, with her husband, she owns a boutique digital agency, illuvint, based in Dallas and partnering with a world-class team across the States. Closed Doors Open Windows is where her personal blog lives on the web.

Copyright 2014 Lisa Martinez

About Lisa Martinez

A writer, artist, and silly-heart from her youth, Lisa Martinez utilizes a variety of mediums as outlets for creative storytelling, laced with humor whenever possible. Lisa attended Franciscan University, where she studied Writing, Mental Health, and Theology. In 2004, she discovered her passion for driving small business growth; now, with her husband, she owns a boutique digital agency, illuvint, based in Dallas and partnering with a world-class team across the States. Closed Doors Open Windows is where her personal blog lives on the web.

  • Erika Higgins

    I can almost touch your excitement through the screen. I look forward to hear how it all goes!

    • lisahendey

      I agree Erika — I’m so excited for Lisa’s series! I would love to do this too… I’m living through her posts!