Saturday, September 29, 2012

Aspen Golden Leaf 2012

I didn't bring my camera - sorry.
My peeps do this every year more as a weekend-long road-party than a race. Although some of us get kinda serious about the race, mostly we're serious about the swag. There's more swag giveaways than any other race I've ever heard of, plus the post-race lunch tends to be equaled only by the SJS50.

I had the luxury of starting in the first wave of six. With bibs going from "1" to over "1000", everyone had to be broken up in 5-minute-apart waves. I was grouped with the 170 runners in wave 1. Yikes! Lance Armstrong was there, as well as Scott Jurek and his girlfriend, Jenny Uehisa, and Karl Remsen (winner) from Leadville.
So now I can say I was only about 8 feet behind Lance Armstrong during a race. Yeah, that was only the first instant of the race, but when you get old and fat, you gotta take what you can, right?

I looked pathetic at the start, with all the elites running away from me, but my finish time was 2hr10m, which allowed me 155th place out of 782 finishers. And I just did a PR in a 51 mile race the weekend before and was limping at the start.
It seemed more people than ever before dropped or were carted away due to injuries. Lots of crashing-and-burning out there that day in spite of perfect weather and trail conditions. The RD warns everyone this is not a walker's race - you're expected to run it. I think the carnage shows that most do. It is a rugged course, actually. The gold and red aspen steal the show, so the ruggedness of the trail doesn't get mentioned. Sometimes you're trying to run in a trough, where your shoe keeps getting caught on the edge of the trough, there are countless tree roots jutting from the ground, and of course there' tons of rocks. There are stretches that are wide and free of hazards, and the last couple of miles is down in town. But if you're going full-tilt-boogie the whole way, there's a good chance of doing a spill.

As everyone knows, I'm not in good cardio condition, so I suck on the climbs. The downhills are what I do best, even through rocks. So this is the first and only time I've ever run Golden Leaf where I didn't lose 20 minutes trying to pass a multitude of people. This time, I passed about as many as passed me.

Fun trip, but my left foot has a new pain. My entire heel hurt, but it wasn't the plantar. I had to ice it in a creek, but that only got rid of the risidual soft tissue swelling around the heel. The root cause seems to be my cuboid bone, and ice and massage doesn't help. Its like a stress fracture. I haven't been doing much running, though, so I'm not sure what it is. Running aggravates it tremendously. It's not much pain. It just sucks.

Otherwise I'm a very happy camper enjoying the changing of the seasons, trying to anticipate my last pre-winter adventures.

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