Archive for Haulin’ Aspen

Haulin’ Aspen

We arrived at Miller Elementary just in time to wait in the 10 minute port-a-potty line. Luckily our 7 miler didn’t start for another 40 minutes. After re-locating our water bottles we made our way to the start line to watch the half marathoners take off. I didn’t recognize the crowd. After doing so many races around town, I usually know a few people, but today had a different feel. The crowd was young. And I think they were out-of-towners. They had that oxygen-deprived look in their eyes. And they seemed to be panting ever so slightly as they crossed the street to enter the trail. I’m still amazed that I can run 10 miles at this altitude, but find I’m out of breath at the top of my stairs.  I watched from the sidewalk and cheered for runners.  I even saw someone I knew, a first timer–Anna.  Afterward, I sat down on the curb and waited for my race to start.  The cutest woman came over to me looking very concerned and said, “Aren’t you going?  The race started!”  I love moms.  I gently explained that I was in the next race, the half of a half marathon race. I sat on my curb and found my locals.  The ever awe inspiring Connie, and many other friendly faces from the learn to run group.  We found more friendly learn to runners working as volunteers along the way.  It felt great to find smiling faces.  The first four miles were on Phill’s trail, which is where I ran the Dirty Half in June, so I tried to remember to keep my feet up .  It was a true roller coaster with lots of short steep inclines and declines.  I felt great unless the sun got through the trees. That’s when I remembered to pour water over my head instead of in my mouth.  Once we found the first (and only) water station I realized we were only about two and half miles away from the finish line.  I dumped water on my head and took off into the heart of Shevlin Park.  At one point we found a perfectly tree-lined path to run down and we crossed the river on a rail-less bridge carved out of a fallen tree-trunk. I absolutely love running in Shevlin Park.  At the mile six marker I paused to check on my friend and have a quick sip of water.  The trail in front of me was flat and familiar, I knew there was nothing but a nice long flat stretch and a short, but steep decline to the finish.  Something in me clicked and I took off.  According to my Nike plus band I ran an 8.30 mile.  It probably had me confused with someone else, but I have to admit I couldn’t believe how quickly me feet and legs were moving.  As I ran down into the crowd and over the finish line I felt great.  I even had a beer and ate some brownies before catching the shuttle back to my car.  If you’re in Bend in August you should try the Haulin’ Aspen race.  Next year, I think I’ll run the half, who knows maybe by then I’ll be running marathons.  This is where you roll on the ground laughing.

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