While many Americans’ traditions on the 4th of July involve barbeques and fireworks, mine includes getting up before the sun and running a very long ways for a very large medal. And July 4, 2018 was no exception.
The Foot Traffic Flat on Sauvie Island wisely starts early in the morning, to help beat the expected summer heat and provide lots of time for those hot dogs later on (including one you can get at the end of the race). The downside for this SE Portland girl is that the alarm clock has to include time for the 45-minute drive. Many folks take advantage of the shuttle service to the island; I just pack too much pre and post-race stuff to fit into one bag. Years of this experience have taught me that a 4am alarm clock gets me to the Sauvie Island Bridge at least an hour before start time, and with plenty of parking and time for the port-a-potty line.
Foot Traffic puts on three major races each year (Hop Hop Half, Foot Traffic Flat, and Holiday Half). Their summer event is definitely the one filled with the most families, including kids excited to wander the farm, see the animals, and enjoy those post-race snacks (hot dogs and strawberry shortcake).
The half marathon course is basically a loop of the island, with a half-mile out and back around mile 4 to get you to 13.1 right at the front gate to the Pumpkin Patch Farm. There are a few small hills on the course, which of course seem much bigger in the raising temperatures, but looking at the map (or reflecting on the experience after a few days of healing), they really were small and it really is flat.
The adventure this year came around mile 5 when an electrical line over the course broke. Some nearby brush caught fire from the sparks and a live electrical wire on the opposite side of the street. A few other runners and I stopped to call 911 and wave runners through between the fire and the live wire. My arms got their workout from waiving at folks to weave between the two obstacles. These folks had not signed up for a Spartan Race, but were kind and patient rock stars in making in through. After the local officials arrived, us runner volunteers were back on the course. Apparently a similar accident occurred a mile farther along the course; officials were already there so we stuck to a single-line and ran by.
After those adrenaline rushes, the rest of the event was a pleasant run through the countryside. Water stations had plenty of volunteers and were often enough that I didn’t worry about carrying liquids with me. And the clouds stayed put most of the morning to help with the heat. Some dastardly thieves stole 10 boxes of medals (editors note: what?!? Super lame! What the heck is someone going to do with 10 boxes of medals??), so I will be getting mine from Foot Traffic in a few weeks. But I scored my hot dog, strawberry shortcake, and an afternoon nap on the couch. This was absolutely a good holiday celebration and break from the summertime rush.