This was a 5-mile “adventure run” put on by X-Dog Events July 19. I had never heard of these guys but I am glad that I found them. They put on events all over the Portland area throughout the year and are known for their tough courses, free food, and beer (everything I like). I plan on joining them for more events in the future.
The race was held at a vineyard near Hillsboro, OR so I assumed the course would be in open fields with small rolling hills. I was wrong.
The course started with a mile of running up and down the vine rows, finishing with a crawl under obstacle and a climb over obstacle (over the fence) going into the woods.
We ran through the woods for 0.5 miles on a well groomed and windy path.
Out of the woods we ran and scrambled through bushes, tree branches, fallen trees, and short-steep hills for the next 2 miles.
At mile 4 there was a short-steep hill climb to the slip and slide (about 30m long), then another hill climb followed by a long downhill back to the vineyard.
Back in the vineyard we retraced out steps for the last mile up and down the vine rows to the finish line.
Here is my Strava
The race had 130 participants featuring every type of person you could imagine. There was the obvious “portland runner” who would go on to win the race (portlander’s are fast people), a girl who participated on American Ninja Warrior (who would win the women’s medal), old runners (there for the beer), lady runners (there for the wine), kids (there for the slip and slide) and people like me (there for the fun of it). I saw dad’s, mom’s, weightlifter’s/bodybuilder types, girly girls, it was a fun and diverse crowd.
The race was set to start at 1000 but was delayed so they organizers could run a bottle of Fireball Whisky down to the aid station at mile 2. We waited patiently and continued to chat. No one was here to take the race too seriously.
At 1011 they race started with a quick countdown from 3 and I took off at a nice 7:00 pace taking the lead. I stayed well below my “redzone” and held the lead down the vine row to the first corner. I turned at 90 degrees and ran down the field, a guy yelled for me to stop and I realized I had missed the 180 degree turn. Damn.
I got back on course running up the next vine row and decided I was not smart enough to lead a race haha. I worked my way up to second by the 3rd vine row and settled in behind Mike. Through chat I discovered he had run the race before so I confidently told him I would follow him through the course. Since we were still running at a comfortable 7:00 pace I figured I would follow him most of the way, and make a move for a pass before the finish (always overconfident).
After running up and down 8 rows of vines we finally exited and ran down the field towards to woods to our first 2 obstacles: a crawl under and climb over.
Approaching the “crawl under” Mike upped the pace to a 6:00 and distanced himself. I picked up to stick to my game plan. He crawled under the wire like a champ and I rolled under just as fast losing no ground. I kept on his tail to the “climb over” the fence and followed him into the dark woods. The trail through the woods was narrow with sharp windy turns and low hanging branches. I kept glancing down and up to keep good footwork on the ground and dodge my head around the branches. This was a short man’s course. I was too tall and Mike was building a gap. I lost mike before we exited the woods, 1.5 miles into the race….I would run the rest of the race alone.
Out of the woods and in to the brush the course got even more difficult. It was super narrow, had sharp and frequent turns, and was loaded with overhanging branches and fallen trees. I was constantly whacking bushes out of my face and jumping over logs. I fought hard to keep a good pace through this rough terrain but could only manage to keep it down to 10:00 mile. Note: I may have been moving faster but my GPS was working on and off. I felt faster than a 10:00.
I reached the first aid-station and asked for a shot of Fireball. I had gotten to the station too quick and the shots weren’t ready. Damn! I moved on.
Finally out of the brush I reached the notorious hill to the “slip and slide”. I ran all the way up the steep hill, opted out of the inner tube to save time, asked the volunteer to spray me with the hose, and ran into a dive headfirst down the slide. The slide was about 30m long (I could be way off, but it felt long) and I lost control hitting the edge and sliding into the water sideways. Lots of fun. I reattached the bib I had knock off and ran up the hill again towards the exit. Note: I heard later that a guy took the inner tube and overshot the pool at the bottom crashing into the grass haha.
After climbing the slip and slide hill again the course followed a long but gradual grassing downhill road back to the vineyard. I reached a 5:00 pace in this section.
Back at the vineyard a spectator waling by gave me a beer and said “you better finish it before the end”. I took the challenge, opened the lid with my mouth, and sucked down some of the goodness. I knew the finish line was less than 1 mile away and saw no one behind me so I ran at a 8:00 beer drinking pace and started sipping away.
Coming back up the 1st row I heard footsteps on the other side of the vine row…It was 3rd place. They were probably 1 minute behind me. I stopped drinking and picked up the pace again and powered through the last 6 rows of vine.
On the homestretch I sprinted to the finish line and slowed down to a walk about 10m from the finish so I could slam my beer. I took 2nd place overall with a time of 38:23. My watch read 4.1 miles but could have been off due to the tight turns and rough terrain in the bush.
My little brother Cody Cichosz finished 29th overall with a time of 54:47 (2nd in age group). He is new to running and racing and did great. He is a natural and has a bright future if he keeps it up. I wish I had started at his age (18).
Top 3 finishers overall of both gender and top finisher of each age group received a finishers dog tag and there was also prizes given away via raffle. Some of the free prizes included: Wine, six-packs of beer, free race entries, and toys. I won a bottle of red wine.
The festival had free wine tasting, free mimosa’s, free hamburgers, and free icee’s. I drank about 6 mimosa’s and ate 2 hamburgers.
Like I said, I plan on doing more of X-Dog’s events. They put on a good event and run tough courses that challenge everyone from the super fast portland track runners to the long distance ultra-runners. As a self-proclaimed Obstacle Course Racer I was pleased with the course and thought it was great training for next weeks BattleFrog in New England.
Note: X-Dog offers season passes for those who want to run all their events for the year.
What I did not like: They do not offer any free photo’s. You can buy individual photo’s on smugmug for $6.89 a piece. Hence no photo’s from the race…