I wanted to do a quick preview of my upcoming August marathons, the first one is the Haulin' Aspen Marathon, in Bend Oregon and is next Sunday, I can't believe our vacation and this event is almost here. The second marathon is the Grizzly Marathon, in Choteau, MT and it is 6 days later.
I have held off on any decision with regards to Superior until I get through these two marathons but right now I don't think I am physically ready to take on Superior. Mentally maybe, I love challenges and I am quite tempted to take on Superior for my first 50, it will kick me that I am sure but what a great way to go for your first 50 on one of the toughest courses in the midwest.
Anyway back to the Haulin' Aspen, it starts out at around 3500 ft and migrates up to 6000 ft and then back down. The course is a mixture of forest roads, single track, pine needle covered paths and a small section of asphalt path. Here is the elevation chart I got off of MarathonGuide.com
I think this will be a fairly tough day but again I like the thought of the challenge, the neat part outside of the first 14 miles being uphill is the fact that the second half is downhill on single track. So I am thinking negative split, of course my quads could be dead by the second half and it may hurt to go downhill and the altitude may cause me some issues but the reviews are good and they limit the event to 500 runners so I am sure I will enjoy myself. I plan on trying to get through the first 14 as best as I can and if they go well then hammer the final 12, if they go poorly then plan B is to take it all in and save something for the Grizzly but get to the finish for an ice cold Cascade Lake special brew.
The Grizzly excites me less as it sounds like it is mostly on gravel roads around ranches but hey, I have never been to Montana so I expect I will soak in the scenery regardless of pace. The course should be easier than HA but I think I will be in sun for the entire event which could take it's toll if we get a hot day. Here is the course description along with the course map and elevation from the Grizzly website:
Character of the Course:
Elevation at the start/finish of the Marathon is 4830' and gradually drops to a low of 4110' at mile 8. From there, the course proceeds up and down several hills between miles 8 and 12 before resuming a mostly flat climb to the course's highest elevation of 4930' at mile 19. After that, there are a few small hills before the course finish. The first 7 miles of the course are asphalt and the remaining 19 miles gravel (ranging from relatively rocky in miles 8-10 to hard-packed and pebbles in miles 11-26).
The course is set in the Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone along the Rocky Mountain Front of Northern Montana about 1 hour south of Glacier National Park. Wildlife abounds here and the prospects of being able to safely view grizzlies along the course are good. Elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, black bears and moose are common to this pristine area as well. The course will be well-monitored for runners’ safety.
Then again, maybe it will be more interesting than I think.
The long and the short of it is that these marathons will determine Superior, if all goes well I will probably be more tempted, if they are disasters than they will tell me I am not ready.
Regardless of that decision these marathons represent states 7 & 8 in my 50 state quest and marathons 30 & 31 so needless to say I am looking forward to completing them along with a few weeks off of work............