Retro Post: Haulin’ Aspen

Still catching up on all that has happened thus far on my indefinite road trip. I’m back in Las Cruces, NM for a little while to let the body and mind recuperate. Figure I can wade through all the photographs and memories while I’m letting things heal. Enjoy the retro posts.

August 5, 2012

Abigail talked me into running this race with her. I was just gonna do the half but she called me out on my on ethic that I couldn’t run a race option less than my current maximum distance. Since I had already done a 50 miler last year, I had to do the marathon. Pretty silly, I know, but I thought it’d be a good training run for the 50k’s and 50 milers I wanted to do later in the year.

My plan and goal of the race was to keeping running for the whole 26.2 miles, regardless of pace, and finish under 5 hours. We started at 8am and ran along single track to forest service roads. The course ran right by our campsite so I waved to our tent. Most of the first half of the race was on gravel and dirt roads with a steady climb of 2700 feet. Near the half way mark I passed a guy going the other direction. He said he had gotten lost and hadn’t quite ran 13.1 miles so he was getting in what he lacked. Such an honest fellow. I continued running with him for a little while on the gradual downhill of the second half.

The second half was mostly single track, through the forest and a lot more interesting. Going downhill was nice too but I couldn’t quite let lose since my foot tendonitis or plantar fasciitis was a little sore and I didn’t want to burn out my quads. I just kept on moving and slowly passed a few folks and paced with a few others. All in all feeling good but  by the time the half marathon course intersected at mile 19 , I was feeling a little fatigued and counting down the miles. The slight discrepency in mileage markers was playing head games with me. The half markers calculated the end closer than the full marathon markers. I didn’t expect the mileage to be marked for the whole course. It was a mixed blessing. Knowing how far one is can both help and hurt the mental aspect of a race.

I could hear the crowd at the finish line as I finished the downhill section and came out on the pavement. The last mile was on a paved loop through some aspens and a stream. Despite the race name, this was the only section running through aspens. My legs and feet were toast but the kind remarks from other runners made me feel a little better about my performance. One lady said I was looking good for a marathon. I was really surprised when I crossed the finish line in 4:16:48, as my name was called over the loud speaker and I was handed a finishers medal. I was even more surprised later when I received a third place ribbon for my age group, 30-34. Pretty good for a training run and my first marathon.

Despite my surprise performance, my body felt worked. I wanted to pass out. Running in the flat Altra Lone Peaks was a mistake. I had not eased into these shoes as I should have and now my feet were paying for it. After sitting with my feet propped up on a tree, soaking in the ice cold river for a while, eating the post race meal and downing four, complimentary, Deshcutes beers I felt a lot better. Probably felt better than the guy we overheard saying, “that’s the last time I run a marathong without training.” Haha! Good for him though.

Abigail enjoyed her seven mile run but afterwards wished she had done the half marathon. I know she could’ve done it and hopefully she’ll hit one up soon. All  in all the Haulin’ Aspen race was pretty great. It was very well organized, had gels at aid stations and the post race festivities were very lavish with medals, immediate race results, a loud speaker to announce finishers and get the crowd hyped, catered food and yummy Deschutes beer. My only complaint was the use of paper cups at the aid stations. I was little surprised that they used cups since so many trail events are requiring water bottles to reduce trash and costs.

Bend, OR is a great town and amazing spot for trail running. The Haulin’ Aspen race is pretty casual as far as trail marathons go and was a blast to run in. Check it out. There is also great climbing at Smith Rock and hot springs nearby.

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One thought on “Retro Post: Haulin’ Aspen

  1. Hey! I’d like to issue a redaction! I said, “I haven’t been training, I can only do 7,” and you said, “Well, I might as well do the marathon if we aren’t running the half together,” and I said, “Wow, that’s impressive.” And it was. 🙂

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