Saturday, August 30, 2014

Running trails in Portland

After a long hiatus from blogging, I am ready to chronicle my running again.  After several months of physical therapy and puzzling an orthopedic doctor, a staff of physical therapists, and an A.R.T. guru who works with ultra running elite in the world, my body is better than before but the lingering issues remain.  I am optimistic that I'll be able to continue my gradual, careful increase in mileage and will settle for whatever pace I can run without it aggravating my hip.  My increase in mileage coincided with a work trip to Portland a couple weeks ago; I decided to stay an extra day to check out Forest Park.  OH.MY.WORD.  I found trail running paradise for me!

Forest Park is a massive urban park with seemingly endless trails, including Wildwood trail that runs through the park.  Despite being exhausted from traveling the day before and having to be back at my hotel in time for a huge work conference call, I awoke to be at the park at 6am.  I did research in advance and decided to park in a place that seemed like an easy to locate park entrance not far from my hotel.  The entrance at Macleary park had minimal parking but running early on a weekday has its advantages - open parking spots!  There was construction that threw me off as to where the trailhead was but I recalled reading that there was a steel sculpture and I ran on the under construction bridge, spotted it and then saw the forest paradise beyond that.

My initial plan was for 15 miles but, after 2 miles, I realized I was running slower than normal due to the constant up/down of the trail; I calculated how much time I could spend running and realized I would have to cut my run down to 13ish miles.  To play it safe, I did an out and back, instead of exploring any of the offshoot trails, and was sad I had to turn around.  I am not accustomed to running on soft dirt trails under a tree canopy and I wished I had more time in Portland to explore more of the park.  The run kicked my butt in a good way and made the cost of staying there an extra day well worth it.

My last long run of 16 miles caused my hip to ache and I longed for Forest Park; if only I could go to Portland every week or weekend for my long runs....the drought in California causes everything to look brown, the extremely low humidity and the lack of shade of any route near my apartment makes getting motivated for long runs hard but I'm determined to see if the months of PT made enough of a difference.  Fingers crossed!