Bunchgrasser’s World

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Posts Tagged ‘Leif Erikson Drive’

22 Mile Trail Run = A Good Day

Posted by bunchgrasser on March 23, 2010

This past Saturday was a good day for me. It was one of those days where all things come together in a positive way that reeks of Karmic influence. Who knows, maybe I’ve been paying my dues on the trail (and treadmill) enough over the past few months to warrant the running gods tossing me a bone. Or, maybe I’ve just been persistent enough to get through yet another bad patch of illness and injury, both of which seem to come as a package deal with running for me. I’m not a spiritual guy by any measure – so I’ll leave that answer to the philosophers.

Saturday was clear, sunny and in the low 60’s – perfect for spending a few hours on the trail. I loaded up my gear and headed for Leif Erikson Drive, which is a scenic, 11 mile gravel/dirt/mud road spanning the entire length of Portland’s Forest Park. My objective for the day was to run the entire length of Leif Erikson Drive (out and back) for a total of 22 miles.

The first few miles served as a good warm-up, so I increased my pace a bit and settled into a nice rhythm. I stopped once to push a Hammer Gel and 2 salt caps. For hydration I simply took periodic hits from the bite valve on my hydration pack. The beautiful scenery and miles flew by and before I knew it I was standing at the trail head (and turn-around point) on the opposite end of Forest Park. There were plenty of runners, walkers & mountain bikers on the trail – and you could just see the happiness on their faces.

I took a few minutes to down another gel (GU – Espresso Love this time), 2 more salt caps, and a Bonk Breaker bar. A couple  hits of Nuun from my hydration pack to wash it all down and I was headed back up the trail for the return trip. On previous runs, my hamstrings and glutes usually cry mercy at about mile 15. This time, all systems felt pretty strong at that distance so I pushed on with a smile plastered across my face. I stopped once more at around mile 18 for a final energy boost (another gel and 2 more salt caps) and then cruised on to the finish. I arrived back at my car feeling pretty good and very satisfied with myself. All of my gear, shoes, clothing worked well, so (hopefully) no changes will be needed for my upcoming race (Peterson Ridge Rumble).

For those interested – below is a short list of gear & supplies that I’ve been using on longer runs:

Nathan HPL #20 Hydration Pack, Nuun tablets, SaltStick caps, Hammer gel, GU gel, Bonk Breaker bars, North Face Rucky Chucky shoes, Injinji toe socks, DryMax socks, Brave Soldier Friction Zone lube, Zensah compression calf sleeves.


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15 miles on Leif Erikson Trail

Posted by bunchgrasser on March 15, 2010

After getting only a couple of 6 milers in during this past week I was determined to get my long run in over the weekend. Saturday was booked up, so on Sunday I grabbed my gear and headed to Forest Park. At least the weather cooperated – with mid-50’s temp, overcast skies and no rain in sight it was close to perfect for a long trail run.

Unlike the very popular Wildwood Trail which is single-track heaven, Leif Erikson is essentially a wide rock/dirt road that spans the entire 11 mile length of Forest Park. It is mostly flat with a few moderate hills, and this time of year has a few shallow mud holes to make it interesting. More importantly, it is closed to all traffic other than runners, hikers, bikers and the occasional horse rider. It is quite popular on weekends, so runners should listen for approaching mountain bikers.

For this run I used my Ultimate Direction hydration belt with a single bottle, and also carried one Nathan hand-held bottle for backup. Both bottles contained Nuun. I also carried one GU gel, four Salt Stick caps and one Bonk Breaker for energy replacement. As it turned out, I could have used more liquid as I ran short the last few miles.

I started my out-and-back run at the Germantown Road trail head and continued until mile marker 3 which is exactly 8 miles. At the turn-around point I stopped long enough to eat my GU gel, another 2 SaltStick caps and Bonk Bar before heading back the other way. It took a few minutes to find my rhythm again but the peaceful scenery made it easy to find my “happy place”.

At around mile 12-13 I could feel my upper legs starting to complain. By mile 14 my hamstrings and glutes were hurting pretty bad. It actually surprised me how fast they went from mild soreness to obvious pain. Clearly I need to work on strengthening these muscles as there seems to be an imbalance. My lower legs and feet felt fine, as my North Face Rucky Chucky’s seemed to be doing a great job.

I ended up cutting my planned 16 miler short by walking the last mile. I’ve battled injuries consistently over the past few years so I try to ease up and listen to my body when it complains. Walking the last mile also gave me a nice cool-down period before jumping into the car. My lessons for the day were: take more liquid and energy food for a run that length. And, I need to spend some time strengthening my hamstrings and glutes to support longer runs.

Until next time…


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8 Mile Trail Run in Forest Park

Posted by bunchgrasser on June 23, 2009

You know, 8 miles goes by much quicker when running through a serene forest on a trail. Yeah, should be obvious I know. Yet day after day I slip on my Kayanos and run the paved streets, forgoing that wonderful zen-like experience. Why is that? Bad habit I suppose…

Well, this past Saturday I got in my car and drove 10 minutes to the Springville Road Trail Head and proceeded to change that bad habit with a nice 8 miler through Forest Park on Leif Erikson Drive. It had recently rained, so there were some muddy spots, but not so bad that I couldn’t jump over or avoid those spots. In general Leif Erikson Drive (LED) is rocky enough that there aren’t many true mudholes.

I started with a 10 minute downhill fast-walk on the Springville trail from the trailhead to where it joins LED. It drops about 450 feet in elevation over 3/4 mile so it makes for a great downhill warmup. It’s also a killer workout when you are walking (or Mt Biking) back up that hill.

I started my run on LED heading East/Southeast toward NW Portland where LED terminates roughly 10 miles away on NW Thurman Street. In its entirety, LED is about 11 miles long and makes for a wonderful bike ride as well as a long run. Incidently, one of my favorite brewpubs is located in NW Portland, not far from where the trail ends – but I digress…

One of the nice things about running LED is that every 1/4 mile there are labeled white concrete posts sunk into the ground, allowing you to track your mileage. No GPS watch or pedometer needed – just find your pace and enjoy the sounds of the forest. The sounds of birds chirping certainly beats  the sounds of cars any day of the week.

Around mile 3, I was passed by a group of young runners. I asked one of them and was told they were part of the Westview High School cross country team. Apparently they do their long run each weekend and today chose to run LED. I made my turn at mile 4 and headed back to Springville trail. It went quickly, but my legs were kind of sore by the time I finished mile 8. I still had the uphill walk to the trailhead, but it was a nice cool-down.

All in all a very enjoyable run and I’m planning to do another shorter run there tonight with my wife. Since I’m always training for the next big race – I may try running the full length (11 miles) and have someone pick me up on the other end (after a pint of beer of course).


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