And with that, our five-week adventure with the Portland Trail Series through the nooks and crannies of lovely Forest Park has come to an end! I’m not gonna lie; it’ll be nice to have our Wednesday nights back — but I’m so appreciative for this having gotten us back into the habit of hitting the trails weekly.
Admittedly, since my go-to route is a pancake-flat waterfront loop through downtown Portland, I need to get my butt back on the trails, so this series was the perfect antidote to city running. Read about our previous week’s race here.
You know what else is cool? Nike came out to several of the races to let runners test drive their new Air Zoom Wildhorse 3 trail shoe. As you can see, we all took them up on the offer, and I was pleasantly surprised — particularly with the rock plate, which provides stability and protection from rough terrain.
Shoe excitement aside, I made a rookie mistake and forgot to eat a snack after lunch to give me that extra boost for the dinnertime race. We were hanging around the start, chatting, when I noticed those all-too-familiar hunger pangs.
Trail Butter to the rescue! I had enjoyed some samples post-race at several of the other events, but there was no time like the present to see how this stuff worked as pre-race fuel.
Luckily, they’re incredibly generous, too! I went over to the table to ask for a sample and mentioned that I had forgotten to eat, so before I knew it I had a whole chunk of tortilla spread with the Expedition Espresso flavor in hand. Thanks, guys!
With comfy feet and a full belly, it was time to focus on the task at hand — our out-and-back course of 4.32 miles. We’d start on Leif Erikson and go up Leif to Dogwood, up Dogwood to Wildwood, then up Wildwood to Birch, and up to the top of Birch. Then we’d turn around and return the same way to the finish.
Also exciting was the post-race party to cap off the summer series. After completing our run, we were all invited back to Lucky Labrador Brewing Company for celebratory beers, along with the awards ceremony and a raffle.
But first things first — the race. Ben and I decided to run with each other, just as we did in the first race of the series.
Mostly this consisted of me trying to keep up with Ben, so my view looked like this for the better part of race. We got passed by a few people on the hills as I alternated from jogging and hiking up the inclines, but made up some time on the descent and managed to pass a few people on the second half of the course.
Final time? 44:03, which I’ll take! Especially since my GPS read that the distance we covered was more like 4.6 miles, so I called it an even 4.5 miles for the evening.
Final verdict on the Trail Butter, Nike shoes and post-race party? Well, I had a few nut butter burps along the way (which I attribute to eating too close to the start) but otherwise it worked like a dream. Same goes for the shoes; not only did they keep me from rolling my ankles (which usually happens once or twice a run on uneven trails), but they were so comfy I forgot all about ’em.
As for the party, we had the best intentions…but since we had neither dry clothing nor wallets with us, our “quick pit stop” home turned into permanently planting ourselves on the couch with dinner and a movie. We watched Wild, of course, to commemorate our time on the trails!
For more information on the Portland Trail Series or to sign up for next season’s series, click here. The Fall series is already sold out, however they will take day-of-race registrations in place of no shows. So bring $20 and run!