Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Haulin Aspen Marathon
I have been lazy in posting about this race. I caught a cold for the week before this race so I wasn't even sure if I would be running it. I figured I would just get up early Sunday morning and if I felt OK I would just drive over to Bend the day of the race. Well I jumped in the car at 2:40am for the drive. Just me and all the party folks on the road at this time of the night!
I got to the start line about an hour ahead of time. It was a pretty chilly morning with temps in the low 40's I would guess. I socialized with a few Maniacs and then off we went. I started my usual slow pace with only a few folks behind me. There ended up being only 131 marathoners which is a great size race. The first mile is on pavement, then we head onto the trails for the next 25. The first 14 miles of the course is mostly uphill with a roughly 2500 foot elevation gain. I ran the hills till about mile 10 or 11 where the really steep grade starts. I just power walked about 90% of this. I had a few folks pass me trying to run and watched a few ahead of me run up the hill. I said to myself that I would probably pass most of them later and they would have expended too much energy on these steep climbs. Sure enough I think I passed everyone by the finish except for one or two. This climb was not on trails but on gravel/rocky roads. It was a clear blue sky and the view was fantastic.
At roughly mile 14 we hit an aid station and then entered the woods for mostly single track all the way to the finish. It was nice to run downhill but the quads did start to fade a bit. I was getting some pretty good leg fatigue by mile 17 so I took a couple of Ibuprofen and soon felt just fine. I know, I know, I am becoming quite the drug addict on these races, but it sure seems to work for me. I stayed with my usual plan of only drinking water, which I usually take 2 gulps every mile. I did one Gu and 3 E-caps every hour. Since I have quit the sports drinks my stomach sure feels much better now late in the run.
Around mile 21 I almost did a face plant. It was one of those face first, arms a swinging, "oh my God" ones. I saved it barely but tweaked my hamstring with the extreme stretch. One interesting thing was that my fatigue and leg pain went away and my energy level quickly jumped up. It is amazing what a shot of adrenaline will do for you!! The hamstring only hurt for a few miles then all was well again.
I crossed the finish line at 4:53:37 which was my goal of braking 5 hours. Still having my chest cough during the race and the size of the hills with a bit of altitude thrown in, I was very happy to finish this race. It was a pretty typical race for me except I never felt really tired the last 6 miles or so. I guess running 50 two weeks prior had helped me with that. (Even though I only ran about 10 training miles between these two races). Over the last 13 miles of the course I only had one person pass me. This guy was helping a fellow runner at an aid station when I passed him about mile 18. He then passed me at about mile 25. So I felt really good that I could keep up the pace for the entire race. Plus he was about 20 years younger and 75 pounds lighter than me.
The post race fixin's is the best of any marathon or race that I have been to. Other RD's could sure learn from how Haulin' Aspen does this. It is great to eat hot pasta, cesear salad and bread after a race. Plus they have a great assortment of other foods. They did run out of beer but I am not a big beer fan after a race.
I highly recommend that everyone try this race. It is a great course and challenging but not overly so. You need to go into it with the idea that this is just like an Trail Ultra but is only marathon length. Hill training is a must. I am sure that folks that were not prepared for the elevation changes had a pretty frustrating day. No Boston qualifier here for sure.
Well looks like I covered most everything. I am sitting here in my hotel in Burbank. Still a bit sore but think I will go out for a trot to the LA Zoo, maybe even up Griffith Park a bit. I will post pix of the rae when the become available.