Race Recap of the Inaugural 5K and 8K distances at the 2015 Foot Traffic Flat

Myself posing with my friend Harmony with our “fingerstaches”.

What better way to celebrate the 4th of July than a run through a picturesque farm landscape, enjoying the company of friends and (my running) family, good food and fun music?  If you missed out on the iconic Foot Traffic Flat, you’ll want to be sure to sign up for next year!  This year was the inaugural year for Foot Traffic Flat to feature the 5K and 8K distance for runners.  This was very exciting for me, because with a “small” injury (are injuries ever small?),  I have been sidelined from half marathons for a bit and was sad to miss out on Foot Traffic’s 4th of July event.  Thankfully I am not so injured that I can’t cover 3.1 miles, and I was able to enjoy this fun event.  Shuttle services were available to help cut down congestion and potential parking issues on Sauvie Island, but I wanted to be there in time to watch (and cheer) the marathoners off on their race.  Without a doubt, there was traffic on my route to the race, but it was smooth sailing to leave so early and parking was a cinch.

Before the races started, participants could jam to the live music provided by Lumberjack while milling about, chatting with friends, or waiting in line for bib pick up or to use one of the many porta potties.     Lines seemed pretty long for the privilege to run with an empty bladder, but I think most people got through it okay.  A race strategy tip for this event, and any large event, is to get in line right away, even if you don’t think you have to go.   Get it out of the way before the line gets longer from more participants showing up.

I ran into my friend Harmony who handed out “fingerstache” temporary tattoos and blue cowbells that said “Let Freedom Ring”.  I got to the start corral and prepared to send my well wishes to the Marathoners before their race.  At the start of the Marathon and Half Marathon distances, one of the band members from Lumberjack let out a folksy and gritty rendition of our National Anthem and the runners were off!   It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, and the warm morning was promising high temperatures.  The 5K and 8K started together at 7:20 am.  A small wave of runners with a 10 minute mile pace (or better) were sent off a few seconds before the rest of us.

If you look closely, there are three rows of runners. Out and back and then out again!

The 5K and 8K start out on the road, but we circle back and reenter the farm grounds to run on the packed dirt roads, through some of the fields, some gravel road and back again to the main road for the finish.  participants in the 5K and 8K should know that it isn’t as “flat as a pancake” like the half and full marathon, but any inclines will be slight and short-lived.   I’m not sure that I would have thought of it as “stroller friendly” however with the frequency that i was passed by a runner pushing their kiddo, I say “Kudos to you!” and “Go for it!”  The terrain is bumpy, and some of the roads may have some slight ruts carved in them from the use of heavy farm equipment.  Nothing unmanageable or too technical, but this isn’t just a stroll on the farm.  There are large dirt clods, some sharp stickers on the path and a little dust from the lack of rain we have had.  The announcer before the event had warned us of all these things, and it really wasn’t bad.  The dusty section was short-lived and the uneven terrain was fun.  A nice break for my feet from asphalt.

The only “sticky” section might have been when participants were running through the rows of (I believe) Marion Berry bushes.  I stopped to take a snap shot because there was something a little humorous and still a beautiful setting to see so many runners in the switchback part of the race through the fields.  When I started running again and exited the wider dirt path to the fields, the participants in front of me had chosen to walk and I still wanted to run.  It was a little bit of a tangle to run past them (and some of the bushes that were reaching out for us) but nothing too complicated if people stay to the right and allow room for others to pass on the left.

When finishing up the course to turn back toward the start, there is a split in the course with a volunteer present to help direct 8K participants to continue before finishing.

Stuffing my face with strawberry shortcake. Yum!

The finish along the road is lined with traffic cones and tape and lined with the friends and families of other racers or others who have already finished and offering cheers and support.  Once crossing the finish line, I heard my name over the PA and gifted my finisher’s medal and greeted with a photographer to take my photo.  I wandered over to the finish party and enjoyed a free massage, smiled at the participants taking a dip in the kiddie pools full of ice water or getting misted at the misting station and “refueled” with the fantastic veggie dog and strawberry shortcake.

The event is very well-organized, full of support and a festive environment.  Yummy post race treats, along with bandannas, bagels or nutrition bars and plenty of water or electrolyte drinks for the hot weather.

Jamming to the tunes of Lumberjack and eating my delicious veggie dog.

You can check out results on AA Sports website and photos are available to peruse and purchase from Back Print.  The event was a lot of fun and a perfect start to my July 4th day.  Were you at Foot Traffic Flat this year?  Let me know what you thought, and please, tell me the brand of the veggie dogs if you know!  (They were seriously awesome.)

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