Sauvie Island, located at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers is a perfect place for those wanting to escape the zombie apocalypse while having access to enough road miles to consistently put in 50-75 mile training weeks during that forced exile. The only road access to the island goes over the Sauvie Island bridge, creating a unique opportunity to keep brain-eaters at bay, the farms and orchards located on the island ought to provide enough sustenance for survival until scientists create a vaccine to prevent the zombie virus from spreading further, while military organizations and volunteer militias rid the humanity from the walking dead.
On a serious note, Sauvie Island does provide an opportunity to run a loop up to 13 continuous flat asphalt miles, weaving between the farmland, orchards, beaches, occasional private houses and a wildlife preserve. It is a great way to execute a variety of runs, from a speedy short jaunt to a long run, one’s only concern being the need to stay on the appropriate side of the road to safely coexist with the sparse traffic.
The island is even home to an actual race – the Foot Traffic Flats Marathon (along with a half, 8K and 5k). Held on July Fourth, the race is BLISTERING hot on a clear and sunny day. The seemingly-early starting time of 6 AM seems too late by the time one spends a half hour running under the super-hot rising summer sun, wishing that start was at 5. On an overcast day, the marathon is an awesome, flat and fast course for a personal best, qualifying for Boston, or any other goal made more attainable by running a more manageable course. On a crisp fall day, the conditions are just what the doctor ordered.
The dozen or so farms located on the island range from nurseries and gardens to fruit and vegetable outfits open for public U-picking. That may come in very handy in preparing a decent recovery meal, as strawberries, raspberries, marionberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, pears, sweet corn, cherries, broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, pumpkins and herbs can be fashioned in a number of nutritious dishes. If, of course, one has a quarter of a cow, some salmon or an ample supply of smoked tofu in their home fridge for protein.
Having to drive to Sauvie Island from Portland’s metro area is the only major drawback, but if that obstacle is overcome, the experience of a quality workout or a race there will be worth it.
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Barb is @wildlifesangria