Sunday, August 5, 2012

Haulin Aspen Marathon

August 5, 2012

Today I completed my 82 marathon or ultra distance race in Bend, OR running a spectacular trail marathon.  The race went off at 7am from a local school with very little fanfare at the start.  But it was well organized, plenty of potties, and very helpful volunteers which is always a great way to begin.  We quickly moved from double track to single track trails which is always a bit nerve racking early in an event as I have to remind myself to keep my pace, which means making difficult passes when necessary, but not racing ahead and then getting stuck in a line of runners going WAY faster than you want to be at the beginning of a run.  So it is a bit of balance, but today things worked out great and I felt like I was hitting my stride from the beginning.  

The morning sunrise in the mountains was just beautiful to look out and see when there was a clearing or to just watch the changing light filter through the trees and dance across the trail.  Today I kept making sure that I was trying to take in as much as possible about the beauty that was around me.  I thoroughly enjoyed every moment that I was out there.  At a few points we ran along a beautiful stream and I had to be very careful not to trip and fall because I was so engrossed in watching and listening to the rush of the crystal clear water as it went past. 

The first 13 miles of this marathon are up hill, from gradual rollers to the final couple miles of some pretty steep trails.  The aid was plentiful so that did help break it up and I carried my hand bottle and my pack with 2 liters of water so I never ran out which would have put a serious damper on a hot trail race.   Climbing to the mid way point trying to look out and really soak up the beautiful forests and shades of green and blue all around me I was slightly distracted by these crazy little gnats.  They were just EVERYWHERE on the exposed climb up and it was slightly hilarious to look up and down the mountain and see that everyone one of us was trying a different techniques to get these little buggers away!  Once I realized how silly and futile it was I just continued on the run and hoped that we would run past this patch of buggers.  Which thankfully right when reaching the top we did! 
The second half of the marathon is mostly downhill with a few gentle rollers and I was feeling great having taken it very easy on the climbs the first half and kept on top of hydration and food.  Did I mention they had Sport Beans??!?!  These were delish and almost a reason in and of itself to go back and do this race again!  So I started jamming downhill and rocking out to some LMFAO mixed with Michael and lots of great hip hop beats and was continuing to enjoy the glorious day.  Although the glorious day was quickly getting warmer and warmer!  Nothing that this AZ native couldn’t handle but also continued motivation to keep moving and quickly wrap up!   Then WHAM I took a quick moment to examine the ground up close and very personally as well as the local flora which included a stump in my back.  Apparently while tilting my head back to drink from my hand bottle why jamming downhill I missed a rock and landed very strangely where I rolled into a tree stump on the side of the trail.   Luckily the trail was very soft and forgiving and I didn’t land directly on any rocks so I got up and realized I was just covered with dirt with only some minor scratches- including my back which was used as the stopping point thanks to said tree stump.  So no harm done I continued on my way. 

Getting very close to the finish, and just past 24 miles you actually come upon the finish line.  This is a very nasty trick!  You then have to run past it and continue on pavement for a little under a mile to a turnaround under a beautiful bridge that crosses over the crystal clear stream.   Once I hit the turnaround I was thrilled that I was back on trial and on my way back to the finish line so I ripped out the last mile with all smiles and came across the finish line elated that I had such a great day out on the trails.  The medal was cool and the post race meal- yes that right a hot meal that was a wonderful rice and beans bowl completely hit the spot!  Overall this was a great race that you can see the RD’s really put a lot into it and the touches are extremely appreciated by all the runners out there!!  Now on to race # 83!  

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