Sunday, September 7, 2008

Imogene Pass Run

For those folks who might be thinking about a mountain race - Imogene might be for you. Saturday, I did the up and down. That's a cool 17.1 miles 5,310 feet elevation gain. Basically you run/hike from Ouray up over Imogene pass and then down to Telluride.

I felt near-naked at the start; even though I was wearing running tights, a short-sleeved tech shirt, light gloves and a lightweight jacket. No backpack.....what a concept. (I didn't even bring a camera!) The weather was absolutely perfect. It never got too hot on the way up and the aid stations are well stocked. Every one was friendly and I traveled among a small band of veterans who shared their "Imogene war stories" with me.

One woman thought the uphill portion must be like the grueling hours of labor and childbirth. After laughing so hard that I had to stop and catch my breath, I assured this sweet woman (who has yet to experience motherhood) that the excruciating and near-death experience of labor and childbirth was definitely in a league of its own on any suffer-scale and that there was no way reaching Imogene Pass could even remotely resemble the passage into motherhood.

Since I am mortal, and rather slow by mountain running standards, my plan was to make the summit before the noon cutoff time. To my surprise I topped out at 10:38 am and felt terrific. With such an incredible view at the pass, I hung out there for a bit, marveling at the experience of being up there with so many cool people.

The descent into Telluride is described as being "technical" over loose talus. Maybe if you are a road runner you'd consider the trail "technical". I thought it was wide and very good. Sure there are some loosey-goosey rocky sections, nothing I would consider technical. The day was so beautiful, the other runners were so beautiful, the scenery was so beautiful that it made me feel beautiful. I had to walk some of the descent just to savor the outing. (Total time clocked at 4:31:37.89)

For more information see the Imogene Pass Run web site.