Friday, January 29, 2016

Life on the Trails

    I started trail running about a month so ago. I've toyed with them in the past, but I've never been a regular on them until now. I started running them for a few reasons: 1) It's something different.  Always good to shake things up sometimes. 2) A lot of my friends run them and love it. 3) Dudley and I are going to Vegas at the end of February and I, of course, looked for a half-marathon to run. The only one I found the weekend we're going to be there is a trail run. So, on to the trails I went. I even got a fancy new pair of Montrails for inspiration.
    I'm fortunate to live a few miles from some of the best running trails in the area - Percy and Edwin Warner Parks. Well, I say they're some of the best - I really have no idea. I've only run trails there. But that's what others have told me, so I'm going with it.
   The Warner Parks have several different trails, but up until recently, I'd really one run on one of them - the White trail, which is a 2.5 mile loop. While it has some good hills, it's one of the shorter trails in the system, so it's pretty poplar with other runners and hikers. The kicker is though - when you have a two hour trail run on your schedule, even doing a really pretty 2.5 mile loop over and over again gets old after the second loop. So, I decided to put my big-girl panties on and run the 4.5 mile Red trail.
   I had avoided running the Red trail previously mainly because I didn't want to get lost on an unfamiliar trail, but I was also concerned about getting injured and not having anyone around to help. And, I admit, being a single female, I was a little concerned about being attacked by a crazy person out in the middle of the woods. But, my many friends who run the trails assured me that I'd be OK out there alone, so I decided to go.

   And it was great. Harder than the White trail (longer with steeper hills) but still manageable for someone with limited trail experience. I ended up running one lap of Red and one of White, and my legs were dead by the end of the run. FYI - don't take my term of "running" literally.  I'd kill myself if I tried to run the entire trail. Not only am I not fit enough to run up the hills, I'd kill myself if I tried to run down some of these descents.

Pretty little waterfall.

Little Charlie Brown Christmas Tree still hanging in there.

Parts might have been a little muddy.

   When I first started the run, I was a little freaked out because I was the only person out there, but after a while, I started seeing other people going both ways on the trail. I soon realized that if I got injured, it wouldn't be very long before someone passed by. I did get creeped out once though. Some guy was walking on the trails wearing a tan overcoat. Like the kind of overcoat flashers wear. I mean, you're in the middle of the woods - who wears an overcoat? While I'm sure he was a very nice man, he looked completely out of place and it freaked me out. So I ran faster until I lost him.  
   While I can't say that I'm turning into a committed trail runner yet, I do enjoy the trails and it's been a nice change from the roads. I'm still pretty uncoordinated and feel like I'm going to fall frequently, but hopefully that will change with practice. And I just signed up for my first trail race - the Dry Creek Trail 10k. Should be good practice for the Vegas Half if I don't kill myself! If any of you experienced trail runners have any words of wisdom for me - please share! 

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