Today I ran 16.5 miles point-to-point on the Banks Vernonia Trail. I’ve wanted to do this run for a while and figured this was as good a time as any. I’m not training for anything so it was a little ridiculous, but whatever! I have been doing a long-ish run of 10-12 miles each week for the past couple months with weekly mileage in the low to mid 20’s. So this was a bit of a stretch.
We’re at the beginning of a heat wave in the Portland area so Zach and I tried to get out as early as possible. We got out there about 9:00. Luckily, it was much cooler up in Vernonia where we started, with temps in the upper 60’s. This trail is good for a hot day because it is mostly shaded. So even as the temps warmed up into the 80’s, it never felt that hot. The last mile was the only hot spot because there is no shade and the temps were above 90 by then!
Zach started out with me and ran 5 miles before turning around for a total of 10. I kept on and made my first stop at the Tophill Trailhead at 8.5 miles where I had a water bottle stashed. I refilled and stretched and continued on. The trail climbs very slightly from about 600 feet in Vernonia until about mile 10 which is about 1,000 feet.
My next stop was at the Buxton Trailhead at almost 14 miles where Zach was waiting. He had water for me but I also wanted the option to stop the run here. However, I was feeling great and knew I could keep going. The trail descends for these last few miles from that high point to about 400 feet at the end. That helps!
I finally made it to my “finish line” at the Manning Trailhead at exactly 16.5 miles. I felt surprisingly good, even though that last hot mile was rough. I was very hot and thirsty but proud to have finished!
It was tough run but I loved every minute of it. I kept the pace slow because I knew that was the key to doing such a long distance on minimal training. I ended up with a 9:16 pace which I’m very happy with! I am probably going to keep doing long runs and maybe another super long one now and then, just for fun. I’ll definitely share when I do!
Here are some pics we took along the way. Zach was the photographer for the first couple, then I took a few while running, and then he took the last few pics after he had finished and drove down to meet me. Enjoy!
Mile 8.5 pit stop:
Mile 14 pit stop:
Mile 16 survival mode:
Mile 16.5 DONE!