After getting my sea level toes wet in Aspen, running along the Rio Grande Trail and up Smuggler Mountain (you can read about it HERE and HERE if you missed it), I was excited to take on Aspen Mountain. The mountain is the heart of town, and it offers many challenges for accomplished skiers in the winter, and good ones for hikers in the summer, too.
My husband and daughter dropped me off at the base of the mountain at 9:00 am. It was a bit later than I had planned to get started, but that seems to be how we roll on vacation. As I said, flexibility is key–especially when balancing your fitness goals with your family’s idea of fun.
My goal was to get the top of the mountain in time for a free yoga class at 10:30, with my peeps taking the Silver Queen Gondola up to meet me with my yoga mat after they’d had breakfast. YES, I love and appreciate them!
As I set off, I had the intention of running up all 3,267 vertical feet of the mountain—from 7,945 ft. to 11,212 ft. I knew it would be a sloooowwww run, but I thought I could at least shuffle along. After about a quarter mile though, my legs and lungs reminded me that this was one steep mountain and a whole lot of altitude. That’s when my “run” quickly turned into a hike with lots of, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I cans.” Every once in awhile I’d dig a tiny bit more and take off “running” again, but it was a grind. It made me think about all those ultramarathoners we admire who run this kind of stuff all the time. Booyah!
Regardless, it was fabulous to be on the mountain again. Even though I never skied Aspen Mt. when I lived here (my skiing skills are marginal, at best-gasp!), I did enjoy hiking Aspen Mt. in the summer and snowshoeing up it in the winter—even doing several community uphill races.
Today’s lung-busting effort took me an hour and fifteen minutes to reach the top—just in time for Jeffrey and Olivia to meet me with my yoga mat, and to stop and enjoy the stunning view for a few minutes before heading to the class.
The yoga class was held at an overlook on the mountain, and was led by a sweet and talented instructor named Jess Ewart. I rolled out my mat on the ground next to a tall, athletic looking guy and his wife, who I later learned were professional football and tennis players. I then began trying to settle in to my practice. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy relaxing and focusing on my breathing, as my mind kept wandering to my daughter who was having fun taking tons of pictures (she took all these below), and also to the rocks I felt under my mat, especially when I placed a knee on the ground.
Still, it was a good workout and a fantastic experience, which added a fun exclamation point to my hike/run up the mountain. To top it off, my family and I had lunch at the Sundeck, then played a few rousing games of ping pong afterward. Aaaah, vacation.
It’s the little things…
Stay tuned for my next running adventure, which finds me in the middle of the Aspen Backcountry Marathon!
PS: If you missed any of my other Runcation posts, you can read them here: