Yesterday was a long (but awesome) day! In preparation for a beautiful, sunny spring day in Portland I was trying to figure out where to run. I really wanted to run in the gorge but the "closer" run was about 50 minutes away and with little sun exposure. The run with Lynn and Frank would of had sun exposure but was a 1.5 hour drive each way. Yikes! I looked at some alternatives, the first of which was the Springwater Corridor on the west side of Portland. The problem with this is that it's all pavement and the first 6 miles or so are a horrible run (pavement, lots of scary people, graffiti covered buildings, warehouses, strip clubs, seedy bars, etc.) The farther reaches of the trail are much better though some of it does run through Gresham. I then remembered hearing about the Banks-Vernonia State Trail. That trail was about the same distance drive as the Springwater corridor so that was my new plan.
Meanwhile… Christina and I had been trying to get on a softball team and our friend Amanda got us hooked up with her teams so I ended up having a softball practice from 11AM-1PM then running my planned 13 miles after that. The season starts the 3rd weekend in April and I'm looking forward to it!
The first 6 miles of my run where along paved trail with sections of wood chips & gravel alongside. Also, from the direction I was running it was a gradual uphill that seemed to get steeper as I went. I was looking forward to the return trip! At mile 6ish I hit some trails in Stub Stewart State Park. These trails were all dirt and singletrack. Quite fun to run on and I will be back here.
At this point I was actually really tired and wondering how I'd finish my run. It was a long tough run to mile 6/7 and I was only halfway done! I took the trail that would lead me up to the highest point in the the park and the views on the way up were amazing! If only my pictures could have done it justice. The singletrack was also SUPER steep. Near the top there was a sign that said "trail not complete – turn back". I thought – you have to be kidding me (couldn't have told me sooner?)! I was following my map of the park and this was the way out unless I wanted to run more miles. So I kept going forward despite the warning and soon lost the trail. Oh oh! I came across a maintenance road and saw the same on the map so I figured I was good to go. I went in the direction that seemed right and within about 10 minutes knew I was lost. Yikes! Good thing I had my phone with GPS/compass, etc.
It took me a while but I figured out where I was and I was way off course but moving in the right direction. The downhill second half? Nope! The route I was now on was rolling uphill and I thought my climbing would never end. Finally it did around mile 10 and the last 4 downhill miles were fun but tiring. My run had WAY more elevation change than I had planned and ended up at about 14 miles. My time was a slow 3:20:00 but I can chalk it up to a great training run! The sun was out for the first 8 miles then for a couple it was spotty. By the time I finished the front was moving in (today is about 15 degrees cooler and rainy). Got in my run just in time!
Happy Running & Dirty Feet,