When we arrived at Milo McIver Park for the Vortex Trail Run it was overcast and cold. Really cold! I was a little worried about my clothing choice as I shivered my way to check-in for my first ever Run Wild Adventures race. Check-in was fast and no-frills. We picked up our race bibs and were done within seconds. The volunteers were helpful and efficient. While I was getting a few pre-race photos and using the park’s real indoor flush toilets, the half marathon distance started. It didn’t seem long before it was 10K start time. While I was still freezing, I took off my jacket knowing I wouldn’t need it once we hit that first incline. I was glad I made that decision!
The 10K group headed out at a pretty comfortable pace and I made sure to maintain that since I had seen the elevation map. I knew this was not a run where I wanted to start out too fast. I was going to need my energy for the climbs. It wasn’t long before the first big incline began. It included some stairs, but it was mostly trail. It definitely had some moments of greatness! Whew! And, I was right. I was warm in no time. I never once regretted taking off my jacket.
I recently purchased my first-ever pair of trail shoes with this and several other trail races on my agenda. I truly appreciated the added traction they provided as the trail had some extremely muddy sections that often reduced us to a trot or even a walk as we slipped and slid. I tried to make sure I took the time to look around at the scenery as it was a beautiful area, but at times it was best to just keep my eyes on the trail. I managed to hit some stinging nettle at one point, but the stinging in my shin was soon forgotten as I focused on staying upright in the muddy sections.
The sun slowly began to break out as we ran. It was turning into quite a pleasant morning. We passed many disc golfers out for a morning round. It made me want to come back to the park on another day to try out the 27 hole course. We ran along a variety of terrain: pavement, gravel, grass, mud, really crazy mud, and nicely groomed trails. The scenery included forested areas, the Clackamas River, and open meadows. I enjoyed the ever changing views.
The finish line snuck up on me, as my GPS indicated that I still had about a half mile left. However, due to some construction in the park, the course had been shortened from its original 10K distance. I didn’t really mind when I saw the finish line. I was happy to make my way to the finish and call it a good run!
Afterwards there was hot beef stew, hot chocolate, beer, bread, peanut butter, and Kind bars available (along with water and sports drink.)
Several of my friends earned an age group award and I have to say that the medals were pretty cool. The wooden VW bus was a nice touch for the Vortex race. (If you didn’t know – a rock festival known as Vortex took place at Milo McIver Park in 1970.)
The Vortex 10K was a great race. I enjoyed the variety of the course, the well-marked trails, and the well-staffed and organized event. I will definitely be back!