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Given the choice, I’d choose to live in Telluride, but Aspen is very nice.  I spent the weekend there with my running tribe in a house with unbelieveable views of Mount Sopris, Capitol Peak, and the Maroon Bells.  Aspen has posh shops, gorgeous homes, and private jets piled up like discarded legos, but I was there to spend time with friends and run a 14 mile trail run.  It was all good.

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Jen 1, in the yellow jacket, and Jen 2 standing in front of me, and Rych in the white jacket, would finish 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the 50-59 year age group.  During the nearly four hours it took all of us to cross the finish line, we experienced a steep, glute-burning, 3,000 foot climb, an equally steep, thigh-crushing descent, bloody falls, and old-growth, aspen-lined trails.

Jen in Aspens

I mostly followed Rych and Dave up the hill, then ran with Jen and Jill, pictured here ahead of me, across the top of the ridge.

Jen

Jen 1, shown above, has been my neighbor for the last twenty years.  She has a family blessed in athletic abilities.  Her son and daughter run on the Niwot HS cross country team, one of the top prep programs in the country.  Even her husband Kelly, a state champion wrestler in his prep days, continues to sport the athleticism of a man half his age.  Jen passed me in the final four miles while I was performing my cool-down routine.

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The real stars of our running tribe were our two marathoners, Bob pictured above crossing the finish line with his wife, Jen 2, and Keith pictured below with the bloody arm.

Keith bloody

Keith and Bob crossed the finish line near the 6 hour mark.  Mountain trail runs are notedly slower than street events run below 10,000 feet.  Mountain trail runs are tough.  Keith told stories of passing puking runners, and of a lady near the end who asked him if he would share some sunscreen.  Knowing his lotion was stashed deep in his pack, he declined, telling her they were only two miles from the finnish.  She pleaded, “but I’m a ginger!”  Keith forged ahead, telling us later, he’s no fucking aid station.  Mountain trail runners are tough.

family shower

While I was out of town, running tough miles, Karen threw Brittany Noel her bridal shower.

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Just as well I wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have known what to wear.  Karen said Brittany was over the moon with joy.  It was a big weekend for all.