2013 Trail Factor Half-Marathon Race Report

The wife, puppy, and I headed to PDX for the long Memorial weekend and I packed my running gear in anticipation of doing my usual long runs through Forest Park.  However, after hopping on the inter-web I found out there was race happening on Monday (5/27) in Forest Park- the Trail Factor 50k/Half-Marathon/5-miler.  I decided to rest up for a few days and give the Half a go as I wasn’t ready to tackle another 50k just yet.

I’ve run in Forest Park numerous times, so I was fairly familiar with the Wildwood Trail that runs through the majority of the park.  I knew this would be a relatively fast Trail Race with compact dirt single track and about 2,000ft of elevation gain over the 13.44 miles.  Mother nature through a bit of a curve ball and decided to turn on the flood gates and add a nice layer of mud to the trails.  I had just splurged on some fancy new ruby red shoes (Salomon Sense Ultra) and was stoked to give them a whirl in these conditions.  Quick side note: these shoes are freaking ridiculous.  Great fit, protection, ground-feel, and traction.  Worth the hefty price for sure.


Courtesy Long Run Picture Company

As for the race,  I showed up about 15mins before the start and chatted with some fellow runners as we enjoyed the very wet rain.  I had a feeling this would be a great event when we started off with the National Anthem.  It was the first time I had heard the Star Spangled Banner sung at a Trail Race and what made it more emotional was the crowd joining in, all signing together.  Was truly a touching moment.  After the anthem, the countdown was set and we took off out of the gate to a couple of sweet bottlenecks.  This was probably the only thing I would have changed: should have started further up in the line.  As such, the first mile was a little rough with bottlenecks and trying to pass runners on a single track trail.  After the first mile, things seem to settle in and I was able to run my own race.  I blasted through the first 6miles feeling great and hit the Aid Station much earlier than I anticipated; my GPS was off so I was expecting another mile or so before the AS.  I dropped my only Gel of the Race and then took off to do the lollipop portion of the race.  Steep descent, flat and wide double track, single track back up to the AS.  My one goal for this race was to run every step of the 13.44 miles and 2,000ft of climbing.  I was tested most on the big climb back up to the AS but was able to make it feeling good.

After refilling my bottle with some electrolytes, I was ready to attack the 2nd half of the course.  The first 6miles were mostly uphill which meant the last 6miles were mostly down.  I put my trust in my Salomon’s and just let’er rip.  I ended up catching quite a few folks and making up tons of time.  Was cranking with a great smile on my face.  I had thought initially that I would finish in about 2:15 but realized with about 3 miles to go I could go Sub-2hrs.  I pushed myself more and came rolling into the finish line at 1:55!  Needless to say, I was/am super stoked with my performance.  Considering my first Road Half took 2:20 and my Personal Best is 1:42, cranking out 1:55 on the trails over elevation felt awesome.  This was good enough for 33rd place out of 167 runners (Full Results).

Overall, great event that I recommend to all runners.  The organization was fantastic, lots of schwag, post-race BBQ, free pint of beer, and super fun course!  Can’t wait to go back next year!

Courtesy Long Run Picture Company

Courtesy Long Run Picture Company

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