Scott and I did it last fall; I had wanted to and he had done it for PT a few times so he more or less shoved me up that mountain. I was terrified I wasn't going to be able to finish it. I never did adjust as well as I'd wanted to the altitude here.
The incline is a series of steps, but they're railroad ties, at weird angles and mostly vertical, so it takes a lot of scrambling and using your hands and abs to pull yourself up. It's 2,000+ of these steps and climbs 2,000+ feet in elevation from the top to the bottom. It's a mile long, and runs parallel to the trail up to Pikes Peak.
So anyway. When I went with Scott, I remember thinking how I just don't push myself into physical feats anymore. I give up easily. I don't see the point. It's not worth it. Three years ago, I would've attacked it with gusto. Not so anymore.
However, on that day last September, I made it up in under an hour. He said it was 48 minutes but I don't know how he well he was keeping track. I was sucking air and my muscles were burning and I was spent.
This past spring, my brother wanted to try it. Since he and his girlfriend (now fiancee!) were from out of town, they moved along slowly and so did I. It was very doable (dare I say "easy"?) moving along at that pace. We finished in about 90 minutes.
Two weeks ago, two of my friends here wanted to try it. They'd never attempted anything like it, so I knew it would just be me motivating them up the mountain. We stopped often and it was pretty easy for me because of the frequent stops.
So, when I found out the incline would be closing for repairs later this month, I wanted to try it by myself to see how fast I could actually do it. I got up at 4:30am, parked the car at 6:15ish (ugh, traffic) and then got started at 6:30 (I think it was more like 6:31, for the record). I finished at 7:17am and then it was another 45 minutes hiking down the Barr Trail, back to the parking lot.
Paint-stained shorts, ripped sneakers from last fall's trip down the Barr Trail, and the best $15 backpack ever.
I really put a lot of thought into the why of me feeling the need to do this. It's not like me to get up at 4:30 in the morning to exercise. I think the biggest reason was needing to prove it to myself, to prove my own physical capabilities. Also, to start something and finish it within 2 hours felt wonderful. So much of what I'm doing these days is long-term: this house, this deployment, etc. It's all long-term and that is demotivating. By starting and completing a feat of any sort before breakfast, I feel motivated to move onto other things.
I consider this a personal win; one of those personal development experiences that shape me into who I want to be.