Late May was the date for this year's Forest Park 50k. This is my home course and I know it well. I wanted to push a bit on this race and see how I could do. I knew I still had some tired climbing legs from Mac Forest 2 weeks ago but this course doesn't have the killer climbs that others do. It is not flat for sure but they don't go on for more than a mile or so.
The race was a bit smaller this year because for some reason the wonderful city of Portland would not let them have a 10k this year. I surely do not get how the City of Portland operates. Well so we had a 20k and the 50k only. The RD also said they were not allowed to put ribbons on the course by the City also. Relax Bret....deep breath....relax. OK so the course actually ended up being pretty well marked with flower and signs.
Off we went and the usual traffic jams go on for the first few miles of climbing. I chat with a woman from Wisconsin on vacation, then another tags on behind me and the 3 of us have a nice chat. Let see, are you a better ultra runner after having children? Is the pain worse? These were the topics of the day. We get to the first AS which is also the turn point for the 20k runners. I refuel and say goodbye to my trail buddies. Down we go into the canyon which is a fun run. I remember in my early running days I thought this was a huge drop, its actually only 500 feet or so.
I am pretty much alone now. Running most everything, even the ups. The trail is nice but there are a few good mud sections to add some fun. We drop off Wildwood on to Saltzman for the climb up to AS 2 at mile 13 or so. I run the entire road up. Down the Firelane and back on to WW for a few miles. Life is good, tunes are fun, weather is cloudy and upper 50's, just perfect. The climb up Trillium gets the HR up but then we have the nice section on top to cruise. I talk with a few more runners here that are starting to feel the pain of the distance. Then the fun begins, down the Oil pipeline trail. Glenn T is at the bottom taking hilarious pictures of all of us nut cases. I stay off in the woods off the beaten path trying to stay upright. I have to grab a tree to slow down and I swing around in the air. Lucky me I never fell here this year, but I have in previous years.
The Tree stopped my rapid descent! (All photo by Glenn T.)
Well we are now on the Leif Road which we cruise on for about 1 mile or so. My Achilles is just killing me now. I mean I have to stop running. I think, "I'm done! This hurts so much." I probably didn't tear it but I sure strained/sprained it for sure. I start thinking how many weeks I will be off running. Every step is agony. I slow down and it gets a bit better but some points it actually shoots pain so bad that I stop running. This goes on for about 2 to 3 miles. We hit the Firelane and begin the big grunt climb back up to the AS 2/3 and about mile 20. I get to top and feel pretty good. Eat some food and drink Coke and off I go.
Going down Salzman I feel pretty good, my leg barely hurt now which is sure strange. I am running 8:15 or so down this hill. I get on WW and I notice a couple a few hundred yards behind me. Nope, they are not going to pass. So I run on. As I hit the switchbacks I notice they get closer. Crap, don't go faster just do your own pace. But nooooooo! I pick up the pace, pushing pretty hard for me at mile 22 to 24. They finally catch me. I ask if they want by? He says "No you are doing a great pace". Oh great, that means I am going to fast. Well, finally on the climb up the canyon towards mile 26 AS they go by and I am getting tired. But out of the woods I see such a site. No...it can't be? But those flowing grey locks....it's....it's....it's....The Wildman! Mr Fred of Pac Rim fame. How cool is that? We high five and I continue the climb.
Fly like an Eagle! (Glenn T.)
At AS4 / mile 26 my legs are pretty tired. I know it's mostly a nice downhill 10k back to the finish but I am worried I won't have the gas to have fun. As I get to the nice downhill sections I was right. My legs are done. I just run 10 minute pace or so. I even have to walk a few of the small up sections. I am sad as it is so fun to bomb on this section. I wonder if it's age? I have this happen a few times this year. Even though my overall finish time is fine my legs are a bit weaker at the end. I get to the Lower Macleay Trail and two women even pass me. They are full of energy and really moving. Again, not many ever pass me at the end of a race.
Out into the open and under the bridge and the finish line is up a ahead. I cross in 6:11:52. My third slowest time (by nine minutes) in my four running's of this race. I feel pretty good at the end. No real low BP this time. I eat some soup and chat with my fellow runners.
I like running this race. It is fun to test yourself on your home course and to have the aid stations along the way. It is a very low key event which also suits me. I am surprised we don't get more locals out to run this one. Not sure why? Maybe because it is where we all train. I will probably be back next year if my schedule allows. Timberline Marathon is up next week. It will be a fun one as Gail and I will run it together.