You know what’s tough? Gearing up for a race on a Wednesday night when all you want to do is eat dinner. On the couch. In your sweatpants. And the only kind of ‘marathon’ you’re thinking about is on Netflix.
But you know what makes it easier? Meeting up with friends, passing the time telling stories while on the trails and the feeling of crossing the finish line. The post-race chips, salsa and burrito-fest doesn’t hurt either.
The plan for the evening was 5.60 miles. A little longer than the third race in the series, but a welcome change in scenery and a little less elevation.
We’d start on Leif Erikson and go up Leif to Wild Cherry, up Wild Cherry to Wildwood, then down Wildwood to Alder, down Alder to Leif, down Leif to Dogwood, up Dogwood to Wildwood, down Wildwood to Wild Cherry, down Wild Cherry to Leif and Leif to the finish.
Two of our buddies got stuck in traffic, so the plan was for me to pace Ashly again, this time to her second trail race finish. I waited until after our Wild Cherry ascent to tell her that my not-so-secret goal for the evening would be for her to finish this race in the same amount of time that we completed the previous week’s race (which was almost a mile shorter).
Even though she was leery of my plan for her to race more aggressively this time, she was a trooper! The course was in our favor, too; it leveled out quickly after Wild Cherry, and aside from a half-mile climb about two miles from the finish it felt like we had a lot of rolling flats and downhills to work with.
Ashly’s hubby Sean met up with us with about a mile and a half to go, and his extra encouragement gave her just the boost she needed to bring it in strong to the finish. I tried to capture a shot of us in action; I’ll attribute the blurriness to our blazingly-flast pace back down Wild Cherry 😉
Our final time? It was 1:12:07, just about a minute more than our time from the previous week!
I’m already looking forward to the next race. Not only will we get to spend another evening on the (hilly) trails, but there’s also a post-race party celebrating the completion of the series at a local brewery.
Stay tuned for my report from the fifth — and final — race of the series next week. Same place, same time, new route, plus party pics!
For more information on the Portland Trail Series or to sign up for next season’s series, click here.