Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hit the Dusty (or Muddy) Trail

This weekend, I had the pleasure of doing my long weekend run with my marathon training buddy. Since we live over 200 miles apart, we rely on the powers of the internet and telephone to keep us connected for the most part, and slogging out the miles on our own.

January in Portland is often a rainy, sloppy mess so imagine our surprise when it was not only sunny but fifty-five degrees! I was in town to celebrate a friend's pregnancy, and we came prepared by packing our running clothes so we could leave the brunch and go straight to Forest Park.

Nothing helps monitor the pastry intake like knowing you have to run soon, so I was hydrated, happy and ready to go. Slightly embarrassed to change into my super awesome compression tights in the back bathroom only to parade through the crowd to leave, we chose to duck out the back door and walk through the driveway to our car. Because that's just how I roll.

I kept telling my bestie how nervous I was about the uphill portion and being able to get my stride to which she replied 'It's really not that much of an uphill. Kind of rolling. It really flattens out.' I had walked that trail before and distinctly remembered a bit of a climb. When we pulled up, I realized that I had remembered the other end of the trail, and she assured me that this end was much more flat.

Well, the bitch lied. I was huffing and puffing like a future heart attach patient for the first mile and it did not flatten out as much as promised (it starts to roll after the point at which I turned around, ha!) Since this was a step-back week, we were only going four miles. She decided to be an over-achiever and run five, bud I had to stick to four because we had time constraints. I just prayed in my little rapidly beating heart that I'd get to the two mile turn-around before she passed me, or I'd feel like an uber-loser.

Luckily I did, and after awhile I looked behind me and saw a flash of turquoise. Eventually she passed me in her cute little running skirt and said 'It's all downhill from here, baby!' And it was. Glorious, stride after stride downhill.

When it was over and we were in the car reveling in our stink and sweat, I was reminded, once again, why I would love to live in Portland again. I'm registered for a trail 15k in March that has a pretty wicked (for me) elevation gain, so my mission is to find a similar trail on our area that will give me some hills training because that was mah-velous.


  1. I am so glad that you two were able to run together over the weekend and it was fun to read about how it went!

  2. Ah, Leif Erikson...I remember that one well, every curve, every mile marker and the exact spot where it "flattens out." The trail is so fun. I've become a trail junkie, even with all the climbing. You'll have a blast during your 15K!

  3. Even if you can't find a trail - if you can find a hill (think George St or the glory that is Haviland/Bancroft Tower), set yourself a timeframe and run up and down it for that period of time. Start with 15 minutes (don't be afraid to rest in between climbs) and work your way up. It's also good speed work.

    Oh - and, depending on the grade of the hill, I would recommend zig-zagging your way down (better for the ol' knees).

  4. Wow! Good for you, Sara! The trail looks gorgeous...maybe someday we could meet in Portland and go for a run!! ;-)

  5. ah yes, I remember hills days well from Cross Country. There's something about a trail, though that helps take your focus from how hard it is when you're concentrating on footfall more.