April 9, 2007

Intro to Trail Running

I learned the joy of trail running today.

I've always been a road runner. Well, let me clarify. I haven't always been a runner; but, in the past, when I ran it was always on pavement or sidewalks. I never did cross country, and I never before today have ventured onto a trail for the specific purpose of running.

I drove to Oak Mountain with my mountain bike with the intention of riding for a couple of hours. But when I arrived, I just couldn't get motivated to ride in the cold (ok, it was really only about 50 F but that's a LOT colder than my preferred 75, and yes, I admit I am a wuss about the cold.) So, I decided to run.

Much to my surprise, the first probably 2 miles of the trail were straight UP! Or at least it seemed that way. I started much faster than I typically run for a warm up, I think maybe because the ground was so soft and impact-free. But after just a mile or so, I realized that I was cruising along with a HR of about 170 - much much higher than I needed to be. The ground was soft and the air was so cool I didn't even realize that I had been running uphill the entire mile.

Adjustment, slow de eff down!

I ended up with about 8 miles for the afternoon. I walked some, in part because I overdid it the first couple of miles and my legs were already burnt from a computrainer session this morning. This was also the first time I ever had run with a pack, which I noticed much more than I though I would. I reasoned that since I was running in the middle of the forest and there was basically NObody nearby, I probably should carry at least a little water and money (as if I would just happen to run past a store at the top of the hill in the middle of the woods - not!) and phone (no one to hitch with here ;) )
Although it was only maybe 3 pounds, that's 2 % of my body weight so I guess that's enough to notice over the course of a few miles.

I didn't see any animals (no cows there, C), but I was amazed at the silence. I even turned the ipod off for a few miles and just listened to my feet strike the earth. It's such an elemental sound, such a simple feeling. I've learned that the most complicated situations almost always are made easier by focusing on the most basic components. Trees, dirt, rocks, and me. And silence...
It doesn't get more basic than that my friends...

Yea, I think I'm going to like running trails...

12 comments:

TJ said...

sounds like a great run.
i wussed out on my ride this weekend also due to the cooler than expected/desired temps.

RunBubbaRun said...

Might just make you an Ulltra runner yet (I think IMJenny has you on that path already).. That is how it all starts.

I love trail running.. There is really something Zen like in running out there... Plus it so much better on the body, as long as you don't trip on something while you are out there.

Great running.

IM Able said...

I simply LOVE running on trails!! And I always run naked -- it seems like almost an insult to bring an iPod with me when spending time in nature. And I find it's much easier on my knees. Even the ones that have poured paths use a more fogiving material than roads and sidewalks. Just found a great one by my home -- bonus!

Keep heading out when you can!

SkiRough said...

Wow, 50* is your cut off of too cold! Mine is 35*. NYC be damned!

Mallie said...

Trail running is definitely an awesome addition to any training schedule. I love that the footfalls are lighter and that I can breathe fresh air with no worries of sucking down some exhaust. But I love the MP3 player whenever I'm running. Who wants to listen to themselves breathing hard!!!

stronger said...

welcome to da club.

momo said...

i have always heard that, even though they seem soft, trails help develop strong ankles and legs. i love the dirt and try to run any trail i can find around here - although our trails are mostly packed dirt and rocks.

oh! and i learned to run on snow in colorado, though! that was fun!

Bike Chick said...

I know my knees like running on dirt. I'm slower on dirt too. Nice that you turned your ipod off to enjoy the sounds around you. Will you be able to go back to the dreadmill after this?

TriJack said...

yea bc, 10 on the dread this am... can't give it up, i'm sick that way...

Triteacher said...

Huh - funny, the trails are hooking me too. Like IM Able, I'm always nekkid out there - but I'm that way even on the street. Happy trails to you.

Iron Girl Nyhus said...

I LOVE trail running... the time seems to go by faster because there is so much more to focus on. Nice job :)

Laura

tri-mama said...

It's a whole other world out there- one of my favorites!