On November 3rd, I ran the last race in my 2012 racing season - the Silver Falls Trail Marathon. Yes, I still have the Operation Jack 6 Hour on December 22nd. But my training has been light lately so OJ seems more part of the build up to 2013.
This was the first year for this marathon, held in Silver Falls State Park, about an hour and a half drive south of Portland. After a successful half marathon there the past few years, the organizers decided to add a marathon too. (I hate the term full, btw). I originally was going to pass on this race, but after some thought, realized there are so few local trail races that are marathon or greater length....I shouldn't miss the opportunity.
I don't have any pictures, but if you click on the links to the race or the park, you'll see that this is a really stunning area with scenery that rivals the Columbia River Gorge. I've hiked the waterfall loop but never been in the "back country". It's definitely an area I'd like to visit again for a run. Lots of big trees, ferns, waterfalls and pretty trails.
I had a good quick start on the mile or two of pavement before we hit the trails, hit a few lows in the middle, but ended up finishing strong. My favorite part was getting to run through knee deep water across a 15-20 foot wide stream. I wasn't expecting that and it was FUN! I definitely had a spring in my step for a good mile or two after that.
My time was a lot slower than I expected - approximately 20 minutes slower than the Timberline Trail Marathon earlier in the year, and 40 minutes slower than my trail marathon PR. I noticed a lot of people I'm familiar with had fairly slow times for them. The course was hilly but didn't seem that difficult. Running the waterfall loop was slow due to the slick rocky trail, dodging the tourists, and a long stair section. And, I'm pretty sure the course is long...maybe up to a mile over.
I'm not sure if I'll run this one again, but overall I'm glad I did this year.