Busy as the new lazy is never more real than during the summer. Summer is supposed to be relaxing but people also take this time to visit family and friends, see new places or familiar haunts, or immerse in exciting or serene experiences. We got to do all of these and summer was not even halfway yet!
Richard and I last visited the US in 2014 when we were still based in Guam. We flew back to Oregon this summer for a few days. Of course, I could not resist running a marathon or two while we were here. I pre-registered to do the Firecracker Quadzilla over the Fourth of July weekend. I finished the Firecracker Triple, three marathons in three days, in 2014, so this longer running fest promised to be more exciting and taxing.
Day 1, July 1, 2017 – Summerlake Loopy Marathon
The race course for the Summerlake Loopy Marathon loops around the Summer Lake in Tigard, Oregon. Marathoners complete 28 loops which did make me loopy after a while. Good thing I did not have to count the loops!
Runners can also opt for an early start at 6:00 AM with the race course closing at 2:00 PM. I showed up for the early start so I wouldn’t be pressured to run fast. I also was not familiar with this race because this was not part of the Firecracker Triple the last time.
These quadzillas attracts the Marathon Maniacs, the 50 States Club members, the 100 Marathon Club runners, and all sorts of running fanatics. True enough, I saw Larry Macon who has completed 1,900 marathons and counting. He is also the Guinness world record holder for most marathons ran in a year at 239. I ran with him also in 2014.
I also saw another runner I ran with the last time. Cyndie was on her 421st marathon and also registered for the quadzilla. The Oregon running community is a close knit group. They seemed to know everybody and were very friendly to visiting runners like me.
The sole aid station was fully stocked with Gatorade, water, watermelon, and Gu. They had all sorts of salty and sweet treats. The volunteers were family members who patiently waited for their runners to cross the finish line.
The weather was 14 degrees Celsius that day. I was cold but happy when I finished the race. One down, three to go.
Day 2, July 2, 2017: Stars and Stripes Marathon
The second marathon started in Beaverton, Oregon a few minutes away from Summer Lake. The same runners plus some showed up for the early start at the Fanno Famhouse.
After feeling like a hamster on a wheel yesterday, I was glad I only had to do eight loops to complete the race. All the race courses are not closed to pedestrian traffic, but the walkers were very considerate of the runners coming by. The course was marked by blue arrows.
The weather was not like the previous day. It was very warm by the time I finished the race past noon time.
Day 3, July 3, 2017 – Cook Park Marathon
The third race in the series had a longer loop. We finished six loops at Cook Park in Tigard to complete the marathon. The early start quadzilla runners were back in fighting form at 6:00 AM.
Each race route had its own particular charm. This one had a butterfly garden and quaint bridges.
There were two other unmanned water stations aside from the main aid station.
The day was hot again and I finished even slower this time.
Day 4, July 4, 2017: The Foot Traffic Flat Marathon
The Foot Traffic race was the last in the series and the biggest one. We picked up my race bib on June 30th at the Foot Traffic store in downtown Portland.
Sauvie Island was closed off to all traffic for the race start at 6:30 AM.
This was my third time to run this race, having ran it in 2009 and 2014. True enough, the course was still flat with a couple of gentle hills to spice things up. I loved the sights along the course.
I was surprised to find out I ran this race slightly faster after doing the other marathons. It was the hottest day of the four races, and boy was I glad to see the finish line! I was even more pleased to see not only Richard but also the Firecracker Quadzilla race director Steve Walters waiting for me at the finish line to give me my hard earned Quadzilla medal.
Finishers were given a choice of hot dogs or veggie dogs; their famous strawberry shortcakes were delicious!
We went back to the hotel with my medals weary but happy. The Foot Traffic finisher’s medal is also a belt buckle.
We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Washington Square for the race series. The hotel is right next to the Washington Square mall where I spent time window shopping and restraining myself from buying all the stuff that caught my fancy.
Our one-room suite was spacious. We enjoyed the daily complimentary manager’s evening reception where guests eat as much finger foods and beer, wine, and cocktail drinks as they want from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Drink moderately though.
Steve stated that next year’s series is shaping up to be a five-day event. This promises to be even more exciting! What I like about these races is they are located close to each other. The race websites open up in February or March, and each race is between US$45 – US$55 depending on the day you sign-up.