Thursday, October 6, 2011

Forest Park Marathon Race Report

Like the race, I'll keep this short and sweet...

The Inaugural Forest Park Marathon and Half-Marathon, serving as a fund-raiser for Forest Park Conservancy, saw close to 300 runners take to the trails last Saturday.  It was a huge success.  Everyone seemed to have a good time out there and the event was a lot of fun and very well organized.  A great local race if you live in the area and enjoy running in spectacular Forest Park.

The original plan had been to be a spectator with the kids while Ruth did the half.  She and our good friend Penny had signed up well in advance and she had been doing some great training in getting ready for her first trail race and half marathon.  She tweaked her knee about three weeks before the race and it wasn't clear if she would be able to run.  About a week out, I decided I would run, and if she thought she could do it Penny's husband would watch the kids and bring them out.  She ran awesome and had a great time.  (look for a guest report soon?)

The course was a nice point to point route, starting on at the lower Saltzman gate, climbing Saltzman (gravel road) up to Leif Erikson (another gravel road), over to the Germantown parking lot where you take a short connector trail up to the Wildwood trail (a wonderful 30 mile stretch of singletrack), and run about 20 miles on Wildwood to the finish for both races at Lower Macleay Park.

From talking to co RD Todd Janssen (who also RDs Hagg Lake and Mt. Hood 50) at packet pick-up it seemed that there would only be a few of us running out front--Trevor, myself, and Andrew Schupp, a very fast local runner I run into a couple times a year.  Sure enough, the three of us seperated quickly and were soon far ahead in our own little group.  The race was on.

I fell into a pace that was quick but comfortable.  Andrew was right by my side and Trevor was hanging a few paces back.  I knew if I were to beat Trevor I had to try to get a lead early and tire him out, as he is much more comfortable and faster on the hillier trails.  In talking with Andrew, he told me he had Leavenworth in a couple weeks and was after a good training run.  If I was to get him I figured I would have to do it on the trails.  No rest for me.  Quick on the gravel and quick on the trails.  Bring it on.

By the time we got to the parking lot and transitioned to the single track, Trevor was maybe 20 seconds back and Andrew and I were shoulder to shoulder.  My legs were feeling good.

Honestly, the miles flew by.  I was really focused on just keeping a good pace and getting my fuel in regularly.  It wasn't long before Trevor had fallen back (although I was checking my shoulder all day) and it became apparent that I had an extra shadow.  Andrew was nobody's fool and it seemed except for some brief downhill sections (where I could always seem to seperate) he was glued to my shoulder.  I slowed on a couple of the hills to see what he would do and he would just tuck in right behind me.  I knew he could take off whenever he wanted, but seemed he was content to do it this way.  And actually, I am glad he did.  It kept me honest, on a good pace, and mentally in the run.

On the last climb before the peak of the course, Andrew finally broke free and made his move, putting probably 30 seconds on me by the top.  I hoped to get him on the way down but never saw him again.

crossing the finish line
 I pushed pretty hard the last 6 or 7 miles to the finish.  I crossed in 3:03:53.

Congrats to Andrew who won in 3:02:02, and Trevor who got 3rd in 3:12:03.

The post race festivities were a lot of fun.  Great food and drinks, a ton of awesome folks helping out, and plenty of room for the kids to get muddy.  I'll definitely be back.

Not sure what's next...