Monday, August 19, 2013

Race Recap: XTERRA PDX Hagg Lake 10k (and half marathon)

Race Recap:  XTERRA PDX Hagg Lake trail run: half marathon and 10k...  (I participated in the 10k) 

Showing my "team spirit" prerace with 65+ temporary tattoos on my legs
On August 11, 2013 the XTERRA PDX "Epic Off Road Weekend" wound down to an end with the half marathon and 10k races.  The day before had been a triathlon!

This was my first timed 10k (my first 10k race being a "fun run" the weekend before) and my first trail race.  Maybe it wasn't the ideal trail for a complete newbie, but I wasn't a total novice to getting torn up on the trails.  (My last trail run was a slow ramble with a running group through some trails in Portland, OR.  The end result was torn up quads, my ITB screaming and me limping for several days.)

Anyway, I'm no pro either, and this was my first race on a trail!  I really started to wonder what the hell I was thinking and started to feel sick to my stomach.  "Keep it cool"  I told myself as I pretended to have it "all together" with my friends with me.

Racing with other people is soo much more fun!  7 other gals from my local Moms RUN This Town chapter had joined in on the fun.  (It also helped to find a super sweet deal on "Living Social"- an online coupon/deal of the day type site.)

As we wondered over to the water's edge to que up to race, the 53 half marathoners were sent off through their course on Henry Hagg Lake Park.  The 176 participants for the 10k were sent off in four waves.  The gazelles in the first wave and the "10 min milers after and then the 11" (according to the race director)...  uh oh.  Maybe I'm too slow for this?

Doubt always has a way to sneak in and make me fearful.

The course starts out at a slight uphill, in tall grass... hiding the gofer holes that pock mark the hill side.  Once you get through that, the course is a cinch!

Naw.  All kidding aside, with the elevation changes and the trails proving to be quite technical in some areas,  the race wasn't going to be for the faint of heart.

Some parts required a bit of jumping over the large gouges in the path and being mindful of those sneaky tree roots that jump out and grab you!  The trail also had deep ruts carved through them from many bikes trudging over it.  Deep ruts.  Don't roll your ankle!

But overall, the course was very beautiful.

After being pulled into the deep shade of the thick woods, I ran by the lake and wound around over a couple foot bridges, next to a babbling brook (so glad I didn't wear headphones!), through a couple meadows and down the road for a short ways until being pulled back into the woods.

I really with a photographer had been stationed at this bridge!  It would have made a fantastic photo op.
I think I might have had a better time if i hadn't stopped to take so many photos... but I really wanted to soak in where I was and remember bits of it later...  :)

Hugging the edge of the meadow.  
 Throughout the trail, I could hear the finish line in the distance and this was either encouraging as I thought I was getting closer, or antagonizing as I'd glance at my garmin and realize I still had quite a bit to do....  The trail was not marked with actual mile markers, but did have "flags" and arrows tied to trees to keep runners in the right direction.  For someone as directional challenged as me, I did alright!  I didn't tack on any extra miles by the time I got to the finish line (and perhaps because of the winding trail and tree cover, I ended with not quite a full 6.2 miles).
Running next to the lake.
 After clearing the final piece of trail and hitting the asphalt of the parking lot, volunteers were stationed to clap and cheer finishers in.  Some of my friends who had finished before me were at the final bend in the road clapping and cheering me in.  That was so much fun!  As they ran next to me, i decided to go all out and sprinted as hard as I could into the finish.  I beat an hour and a half, and I'll take that with a lot of pride!

Each finisher was handed a stainless steel pint glass and could fill it up with endless amounts of beer provided by Base Camp Brewing Company and a slice of pizza.

There was also a raffle ticket in each pint glass and fun competitions for some cool prizes.

With the 65+ tattoos that adorned my legs, I was awarded the stainless steel "growler" which holds 64oz and has a super cool flip top.  I'm in love with this thing!  (And if you really want one, you can pick one up here.)  

Over all, the race was a ton of fun!  There was even an after party the following Wednesday at Base Camp Brewery in Portland, but I wasn't able to attend that.

I did however hear some criticism that made sense to me.  The course was a "lollipop" loop course that had the faster people trampling over some of us slower racers on parts of the course as they started their way back to the finish and we still fought our way to the halfway point.

It is a narrow trail with not a lot of opportunity for passing other runners, not to mention have two-way traffic on it!

I felt so bad as I kept shouting back to the gals behind me if they wanted past me... and they said "No."  They started their own conversations (about wishing they wore hiking boots instead of running shoes and that this wasn't a "run" so much as mountain climbing...) I never heard anyone else wishing to pass... When I got to open road about a half mile from the finish, the first half marathon finisher darted around the girls behind me and then past me.  I cursed out loud and hollered "Sorry!" at him, and he waved and darted off to the finish.

Poor guy.
I hope my slow pace and the narrow trails with other runners right behind me didn't slow him down too much.  he still finished first.  ...And he had competed in the triathlon the day before!!!!!!!!!!

Overall, criticism noted and technical course in mind, it was still a lot of fun, and something worth doing.
I'm really glad I did this race and enjoyed it with the friends that I have and stopped to enjoy the amazing views.

I also didn't tear up my quads or render myself unable to walk again!  Bonus!

Finisher's Pint on the left and "Growler" on the right


  1. That sounds like a fun race! I would love to do a trail run. I miss my Oregon trails!

    1. Thanks Betsy! It was fun! I'm going to have to work more on trails, it's just so peaceful and a really good workout too!

  2. Oh wow, that does sound like a lot of fun! Great job!

    I think I may need to consider finding a local running group. I'm just worried that I am way too slow (I'm around 14:30-15:00 mm)

    1. I'm averaging 13mm and I don't necessarily stay "in" the group, they are good about cheering me on or when they pass me to offer high-fives and whatnot.... it helps! :) And in time, i'll get faster. Sometimes the faster paced runners like a "take-it-easy" run and still help push me to work a little it faster. :) Check with your local running stores for free running groups and what paces they have. Moms RUN This Town is pretty welcoming of any and all fitness levels.