Posted by: Steve Aune | September 22, 2011

Imogene Pass Run Recap, 10th Wedding Anniversary!

Well, I finished the Imogene Pass Run!  Given that fact that my training was pretty much nonexistent the last 6 weeks, I call that a success.

After my last training post where I was running the ramps and gearing up for our trip to Colorado to get some altitude work in, while in Colorado I blew out my calf again.  It was our first true training run at altitude and it was a 6 mile uphill run for me and a 6 mile back down.  I was doing really well until mile 3.5 where my calf exploded.  It was so bad it took well over an hour to get back down from there.

I think I went through a bout of depression following that since I was so looking forward to the mountain training and having a great time on vacation.  After that I could barely hike.  I really wanted to have a great run at Imogene for our 10th Wedding anniversary, so I didn’t want to let my beautiful bride down.

In August Jorin and I summitted Kings Peak in Utah.  13,500 feet and the highest peak in Utah.  With a 40lb pack and great hiking  boots, I managed to hit it hard and we logged about 16 miles on summit day by summit-ting and then heading all the way back to the car.  I was really sore, however I really needed to test my calves out & that trek was grueling.

on top of kings peak, ut

After that trip, my calf injury moved to my Achilles/top of my heal.  It was super painful.  After a couple of weeks off, I ran 5 miles and after that I could barely walk down stairs because of the pain in the Achilles area.  I was really worried about tearing it at that point.  I consulted with a couple of muscle guru’s and they said I had a slim chance of tearing the achilles or calf.  I certainly could pull my calf again tho.

Race day was Sept 10th.  I ran 4 times from the vacation in July until the day before the race.  Each time I ran my achilles/heal would just ache like crazy and I could hardly put pressure on it.  I did stretches, therapy, and everything in between to rehab it.  I did manage to get a couple of 2.5-3hr bikes rides in to help my legs and lungs get ready for the mountains.

I did a pre-race warm up to get my lungs used to the altitude at about 8000 ft. in Ridgeway, CO.   Running the little hills by our condo was enough to get my heart rate maxed out.  I knew this was going to be a tough run for 17 miles the next day.

The Imogene Pass Course

Ouray, CO, on Run Day I did my warm ups and the adrenaline was pumping.  My foot hurt however I was going to do it anyway.

The first mile and half into the 10 mile uphill and my heart rate was maxed.  This was going to be a long day.  I had to slow my pace to gear up for the climb.  During our pre-race we talked about trying to keep running thru the first 5 miles as the next 5 to the summit were really steep.  I did some walking during the first five and felt really good coming in to the  aid station there.  The last five of the uphill were brutal!  All I kept saying was move your feet, Pose style.  I was also saying “I wish I could have trained more, I will be back to kick this mountains ass when I am in better shape!”  The last mile comes with a nice 1000 foot incline which was mostly single track rock.  No running going on there.  Not even the big boys in the lead pack ran all of that.

Once we were close to the top it tapered off and I took off running, went past the summit timer then hit the aid station.  I was so relieved to not be climbing anymore.  Then the down hill started.

After about a half a mile into the downhill at about 30-40% decline, I was ready to go back up hill again.  Six more miles of this pounding?  I started strong and was doing really well for a flatlander running downhill but none of the parking ramps could prep my legs for this pounding, then there was the avoiding rocks and ruts, etc.  There were a lot of people doing headers and getting pretty banged up.

Coming in to the aid station after 2 miles or so going down I was prepared to do a fly by on this one and keep on rolling as I had some really good rythm going.  I really thought I could finish in under 4 hours.  That would be a huge time for me given my training.  There was a small dip in the trail and I lost my footing, tripped, caught myself from doing a header, and then my thighs cramped up as did my calves.  The good Lord was telling me to slow down!  So after scaring me and freaking out the aid station volunteers(who were AWESOME!) I stopped to take a breather, hydrate, and stretch for a bit.  I was much more fatigued than I thought I was.

After the recovery I took off again.  I still thought I could hit the 4 hr mark judging by my pace and how I felt.  Then after two more miles of the downhill pounding, I managed to get a rock in my shoe that worked its way to the ball of my foot which was where I planted on every step.  I had to stop and take it out.  That was super difficult as I was so tired and my legs wanted to cramp again.  Once I finished that and started running again, I could not regain my pace.  I was fried.

The view coming in to Telluride was absolutely amazing.  The fans that were there were awesome, and I cannot say enough great things about the run organizers and volunteers.  All top notch.

Coming in to the finish line I just wanted to not fall or lose control of any bodily functions.  I succeeded.

I will be back to run this course again…I will be ready then!

Thank you for the AWESOME 10th Anniversary gift Jenny! I love you!

Steve Aune



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