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Forest Park Trail Marathon Race Report

Tagline for the weekend:

For such a healthy city, Portland sure has a lot of ways to be unhealthy.


And I think we identified and explored all of them.

It was a delicious, exhausting, relaxing, sweat, and absolutely perfect weekend in the Pacific Northwest.


After flying in late Friday night and proceeding immediately to Hopworks Urban Brewery to carb up, I woke up bright and early to head to the start of Marathon #18.


The Forest Park Marathon is a super small race, organized by the Forest Park Conservancy, as a fundraiser to preserve, protect and maintain the trails in Forest Park.



Word on the trails, is that Forest Park is the largest urban park in the country. Ask any runner from Portland if they’ve heard of Forest Park, and you will get an immediate and overwhelmingly enthusiastic response about the many miles of fantastic trail running enclosed in the park.

While admittedly, 26.2 miles might have been a littlebit more than I needed to run two weeks out from my 50, I decided that nothing would get me more excited for game day, than a morning of breathtaking trail running through the woods of Oregon.

So I registered.


And showed up ready to run (slowly).

Alisa very generously woke up before dawn, after I kept her up way past her bedtime the night before, to drive me to the shuttle pick up. (I owe this girl approximately 12 pairs of hokas and my entire collection of race bling for everything she did for me this weekend.)

The start line was on a road too narrow for runners to park on, so they shuttled us up to the start. Being the punctual girl that I am, I arrived in the very last group, 5 minutes after the race was supposed to start.

But, instead of panicking like I have on several occasions when running late for a race, I remained totally calm and chill, because in this crazy sport of trail running, they actually delay the start for shit like this. I’m becoming more and more of a fan of this trail stuff.

The race started (late) with a 1.25 mile climb. The road kept weaving, tricking you into thinking that the ascent might be ending, but no. It just kept going up and up and up.

But finally, after more than 12 straight minutes of questioning whether I was blowing my 50 miler on some sick Oregonian version of the Pike’s Peak Marathon, it flattened out.



As soon as we reached the top of the climb, I attacked a nearby runner with conversation. Lucky for me, he surrendered to my social advances and kept me entertained and running strong for the next 17ish miles. (I would tell you exactly how long, but my borrowed garmin decided to deprive me of satellites for the last 16 miles of the race.)

The course was as beautiful as everyone promised. We started with a few miles on a fire road and then cruised onto single track trails for the remainder of the course.



Because this was just a training run, I don’t really feel the need to give a play-by-play of every single step I took on Saturday.

Here are the important highlights from the 26.2 miles:

-The course was gorgeous. The kind of gorgeous that leaves you repeating over and over and over: “Oh my god, this is amazing. I hope this never ends. Can I pack the Wildwood Trail in my suitcase, pretty please?”

-I fell. Twice.


Surprising to no one, I’m sure.

-I successfully executed my plan to run the race at a comfortable pace.

photo (1)

At least until the last 6 miles. When I got to the aid station at Mile 20, and was still leading the race for women (don’t ask me how many females there were, I’m sure the answer is somewhere between “not very many at all” and “were there women racing?”), I decided to try and finish strong and picked up my pace for the homestretch.

-I finished in 3:51.(something) and did, in fact, walk away with the W for women

photo (2)

As well as a sweet prize from lululemon.


It’s like they knew I was coming to town.

– Running this marathon was absolutely the right decision.


I am now actually ready to taper (or, at least, slightly more so than I was last week) and out-of-my-excited to run my first 50 miler in less than two weeks.

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39 Responses to Forest Park Trail Marathon Race Report

  1. Congrats on the win! And the super-awesome prize.

  2. Small field or not, congratulations on the big W!!!

  3. Congrats on the W!!! Can’t wait for you to stay with us for your 50 miler! You are so ready!

  4. oh man you ROCK! Congrats on the win, that once again was a training run for you and not so much a race. you are more than ready for 50 and can’t wait to see how well you do.

  5. Congrats on the win! You are so fun to read and so motivating. Pumped for my evening run now!

  6. Free lululemon for running and winning a beautiful race?! Yes, please! Nice work. Love Forest Park.

  7. Ouch- that looks PAINFUL (and so. much. blood.)! Congrats on the win and free lulu prize. I’d love that!

  8. Oh, wow. What a gorgeous place to run. Congrats on your W on a training run! :)

  9. you’re a badass.

  10. You rock! I did a trail half in NC (with almost the same time as your full! hahaha) and just loved it! I must not have been trying hard enough cause I managed to not fall down.

    The Kidless Kronicles

  11. Damn, that’s some sweet winner’s swag!

  12. Very cool…and nice blood! :)

  13. Congratulations! I miss Portland. Its so pretty there.

  14. Congrats! You are amazing!

    Also, you don’t train on trails at DC much do you? How do you kill trail races without exclusively training on trails? I want to do a trail half, but I don’t have trails around me. Is that a bad idea?

  15. Congrats on the win! Your lulu prize is awesome but the funny/ironic thing is is that my friend, Gina, is the girl pictured on your prize!! What a small world! She was the run ambassador for one of the lululemon stores in Chicago and now works there. She’s on her way to run a marathon in every state plus DC. Check her out: http://walktothemailbox.com/

  16. Holy cow I look like death in that first photo.

    So fun to hear you called as female winner…especially since your prize involved SHOPPING!!!!

  17. Wow! Congrats on winning a race that was just a training run for you! I live 10 minutes from Forest Park and have run countless hundreds (thousands?) of miles there over the years. But I’ve never run the Forest Park Trail Marathon!

    Crazy bloody knee!!

  18. Congrats on a super awesome, beautiful, and relaxing race!

  19. Gorgeous course!! And congrats on the win – totally worth the bloodshed.

  20. Congrats on the win…fantastic work! Amazing prize but fabulously dramatic blood!!!

  21. Oh my goodness your knee!! What are you injecting into it?”” So glad your blog is up and running! No pun intended :)

  22. I wish you would have prefaced those pictures with “It looks worse than it is” because that looks like a mess…but seriously, what a gorgeous race! Congrats on the W!!! And umm 3:51…pace me in NY please???

  23. seriously awesome.
    seriously inspiring.

  24. Congrats on the win! You must have all the frequent flyer miles.

  25. Congrats on the run! Once again an amazing story! Please try and stay upright next time on the trails! :) By the way, do you have an e-mail address? I had a few questions for you.

  26. Way to show up in Oregon and be the BOSS! I live in Portland and wanted to spectate the race but waffles won. Great job. I may have to check out the Forest Park race next year. I love small races.

  27. Congrats! Talk about “not racing”. You should check out TMBT (http://www.sabahadventurechallenge.com/ultra/) – more than a handful of friends did this 2 weeks ago and were raving about it. Be happy to play host, even it means flying across the states to Borneo.

  28. Gorgeous trails, and some impressive bleeding. Congratulations on your win!

  29. Wow! Congrats on the big win! That’s amazing!!!

    Those scrapes look brutal. Way to push through!

  30. Congratulations! That looks like a gorgeous race!

    I actually live near Canadaigua (and my husband and I got married there, the course for CanLakes goes right by where we got married), so I am excited to see your race recap!

  31. A marathon win and some awesome swag from Lulu? WOW! Great job, Emily!! :)

  32. good job on the W, your knee looks super sore, but you are always hurting your poor knees

  33. You are amazing and crazy and all that! Love it!! Congrats on winning!!

  34. Congratulations on another marathon completed! I am glad you got your blog back up and running, that’s pretty crazy that someone attacked your blog! Goodness!

  35. Holy heck. That is some crazy bloody knee you’re rocking. Also, congratulations on your W. AND also, now I want to visit Oregon. Some sort of visitor’s commission needs to recruit you. Yep.

  36. congrats! lululemon might be one of the best prizes ever. glad you had a great race and fun trip. i am a sissy and wouldn’t have been able to continue after 2 falls-that bloody one looks painful!

  37. Sounds fun! Way to go on the win!

  38. Congrats on the win! Wildwood is my favorite place to run.

    It was lovely to meet you, although I wasn’t at my best. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip to PDX.

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