We’ve all learned to expect crazy weather in the spring, but I didn’t expect to see snow on the ground as we drove to Milo McIver Park for the Vortex Trail Run. Fortunately, there was no snow at McIver Park when we arrived, but it was a mere 33 degrees. What a lovely spring morning! As usual at a Run Wild event, check-in was quick and efficient. I ran the Vortex 10K in 2016 and 2017, so this year I was bummed to discover the real bathrooms were locked. So, before race time, waiting in the port-a-potty line was on the agenda.
The half marathon started first and I watched as the group of less than 100 runners hit the trails. The 10K crowd was slightly larger, but I wondered if the weather had affected the turn-out. Regardless, it was a colorful group out on the trails, as 70s themed costumes are encouraged at Vortex. Despite the cold temperatures, it didn’t take long to warm up as the course elevation looks like this:
Since it had been a very rainy (and snowy) week, the trails were definitely muddy. I was happy to have trail shoes with good traction, which allowed me to stay upright at all times. I did see several people who didn’t fare as well without trail shoes. Even though the mud was plentiful, it was obvious that some work had been done (and was still being done) on the trails to improve drainage. In previous years, giant puddles -which may have been better described as ponds, were in many of the low sections. The work had alleviated those issues, which I was thankful for. I also appreciated that gravel had been put down on some sections of the trails. Overall, trail conditions were much improved.
As we traversed throughout the park, we encountered many disc golfers, as there was a tournament in progress that morning. None of them seemed to be upset by the barrage of runners passing through the course. Several times I heard “Fore!” being yelled and once I heard the loud thwack of a disc hitting a tree nearby. (Close call!) But, both the runners and disc golfers were in good spirits, and no one seemed to be upset about crossing paths periodically.
The 10K course at Vortex includes a variety of terrain and scenery. While quite often I was unable to enjoy the scenery for fear of losing my footing, I love the variety of a trail run. We ran on mud, soft forested trails, grassy areas along the river, gravel, and even a sort of paved road that hadn’t been maintained. Fields, forests, and riverside running – it was great! There’s just something about trail running that I really enjoy. Even though this is a challenging course, I had so much fun. And, did I mention that it didn’t rain – or snow – during the run?
This was my second race so far this year and both races have been positive reminders of what I love about running. I’m looking forward to my next race and I can’t wait until Vortex 2019! If you haven’t had the opportunity to run a Run Wild trail race, check out their next event in April – Willamette Mission Trail Challenge.