Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Two Wild & Crazy Guys!" and a Marathon

"Vee run zo vee can meet all zee hot babes!"

Haulin' Aspen marathon in Bend is a race Gail and I both enjoy every year. It is just like an Ultra except shorter! Very challenging course but still fun. They do such a good job with the post race fun at Shevlin Park. Plus the weather can't be beat this time of year.

Start line briefing

Fenny and Gail getting ready.

The night before we met Susan, Rich and family for nice diner out. It was a fun time to have some laughs and just relax, oh and have some beer too! Once back at our room I went into my pre-race mode. Laying down and running the whole course in my mind, doing my mantra's, seeking a higher power and finding the comfort in my inner self. Ha! If you believe that you don't know me very well. I think I had another beer and some of Gail's M&M's.

Yea! Sarah and Marc running together today.

This was to be Gail's first Marathon since her injury back in late March. She was pretty excited but felt she might need the early start. This year instead of busing us to the start we ran from a new school. So part of the course had changed both at the beginning and the end. We chatted with Steve "I sleep in my car after running a marathon the previous day" Walters, Marc and Sarah who were running together today, Susan, Fenny, and others. It was a very fun and social pre-race time. Gail took off a 1/2 hour early, I didn't think she would need it but she was unsure how she would do in the hills.

This race is nice and small, only a few hundred. We get a quick briefing on the new course and off we go. Seriously, I am dead last again by 100 yards. Am I really that slow??? Well I eat everyones dust for awhile and enjoy the new trail we are starting on. I have run 60 miles the week before this race and am treating this only as a training event. I was a tad worried how my legs would hold up in the hills after this many miles.

Tunnel of trees near the start

I slowly start passing some folks, chatting as I go by. As I go by Marc and Sarah he tries to put heavy rocks in my pocket to slow me down. Just joking Marc, you stud. We wind through the woods and come out at AS 1. A fellow Maniac plops her leg on the AS had has them was the blood of her leg, she has fallen early in the race and this course has sharp stuff on the ground so when you go down here you usually bleed.

Susan K pushing it up the hill around mile 8

Susan's kick to the finish line!

We start the teaser downhill on the jeep road but then the climb starts. It goes pretty much up from here to mile 13. My goal today is to run the entire course, no walking on these kick ass uphills. By mile 10 we hit the super steeps. Funny how they didn't seem this steep in my mind but they are! I baby step up and happen to get behind a guy doing the same thing. We plod along but never walk. A few years ago I boasted in this blog how you must walk these hills as you would be worn out if you didn't. Not really true as it depends on your fitness level. Oh how I learn.

My pacer up the killer hills.

Finally after thinking my lungs were going to kill me we hit the AS at the top. I refuel and takeoff for the 13 miles of downhill to the finish. I just cruise today, not wanting to hurt myself by running too hard downhill. My legs do feel the fatigue of the climb for sure. At around mile 15 I see Gail and yell "Hey I'm lost! You see any ribbons around here?" (Detour joke) We stop and kiss (whooo hooo!) and she says she feels awesome and is loving her day on the trails. Later she said she actually enjoyed every minute of the run. I was so happy for her.

A gem in the woods!

By this point I was pretty much on my own. Passing someone maybe every mile or so but mostly so trotting through the pines with some tunes on. By mile 19 my legs were feeling this weeks miles. But it was a gorgeous blue sky 70 degrees so who was I to complain.

Coming out of the mile 22 AS or so I jumped in front of a guy, I stopped and said go ahead as I thought I might be out of place. He tripped and almost face planted right in front of me. Another guy who looked faster than me was leaving too, so I said go ahead. Funny, he did the same thing. Did I push these guys or what?

As we heading into more and more of a turning course I was kind of getting cranky. "Enough of all this turning, I want a straight stretch!" Whiny little baby. So as we drop down the technical section to the park I am looking at my GPS (which has been right on all day. Did I tell you I love my new Garmin 301xt?) and see that we still got 3 miles or so to go. I am kind of bummed because in the past you only had a bit over a mile to the finish from here. But with the new start things have changed. This time we run a bit above the bottom of the park. I am passing many folks now, some slower 1/2 marathoners and some marathon folks having a rough day. My gut feels great today but my legs are feeling it. We hit a few climbs and I still got the juice to run them. We come down the hill towards the finish, but no! We must go back in the park for a mile or so. Oh the tease. We run our first pavement of the day and it actually feels nice, then back onto the trail for the short 3/4's of a mile to the finish. I pick up the pace a tad but don't want to go all out. This was to be an effort run but not max. (Coaches orders.) I see the finish line and hear the crowd. I never tire of that sound, it is so sweet. I cross in 4:30, a new PR for the course by 4 minutes. Hard to believe after 60 miles training week. I guess I am getting ready for Waldo.

Love seeing this.

I walk over by the area where the course first turns back into the park. I see Susan and cheer her on. Then a few minutes later its Gail pushing hard. "Go Detour!" I shout. I am so stoked for her.

Gail pushing to a PR for the course.

Back at the finish line Susan crosses strong, then Gail. She is pretty happy, which of course makes me very happy. We talk with Steve, Susan, Rich and the kids, some Maniacs. Then Marc crosses and Sarah just minutes later. We eat, we drink beer, we laugh and just enjoy the sunny day. It was a grand time.

Detour, Susan and Evan.

Gail and Steve.

She is running 52 marathons in 52 weeks to support a charity in Africa.

Winner of the under 10 age group

Great way to cool off after the race.

This was my final test for Waldo. I think I am ready. I could have done more core work. Maybe some more hills too. But my goal is just to finish. I want that dang hat. 16 hours would be a dream but anything under 18 hours will make me very happy. Even if it was after 18 hours and I plod in after dark I will still be satisfied. No DNF this year. This has been my goal for the last 363 days. Stay tuned!