From Pavement to Spiders: Our First Adventure in Trail Running
I love to run. I love to hike. So it makes perfect sense that I would like trail running (plus my husband just did a killer 50 mile trail run and I can’t have him being a bigger badass than me). Whenever any of us want to try something new, we ask MB. She’s always up for a challenge. (She’s crazy/supportive that way.)
Here are a few things that I learned about trail running.
- There are spider webs WITH spiders
- You have to carry your own water
- Trail shoes are required (more shopping!)
- The pace is so much slower!
- This is what happens when you fail to secure your hair correctly. Ponya Bands required.
- Falling (and it hurts)
- You get to walk (“power hike” – whatever)
- Distance is elastic (they lie!)
- Did I mention the spiders?
After about 6 practice runs for me and maybe 3 for MB we decided it was time to sign up for a trail running race. We were lucky enough to find a small race in Frankfort — Just 30 minutes away. There was a choice of a 5K (I think smart newbies start with this distance), a quarter marathon, or a half marathon. Of course (of course), we selected the half, because we aren’t very smart.
There were thunderstorms the night before the race. I was nervous that the trail would be a muddy, slippery mess, but it really wasn’t bad. MB and I remained on our feet, only tripping once or twice. It took us much longer than any of our other half marathons this season — 2 hours and 39 minutes is nothing to brag about, but we were pretty happy with our time. (MB says she was just happy to finish.)
Overall, the race was well organized. The volunteers were happy and helpful. There was plenty of food at the end, and I got to take home a tree! They also had a super cute tank top as the race shirt — different (which is welcome in a drawer full of shirt sleeve shirts)! I have also discovered a new love for Coca Cola as a race drink – who doesn’t love pure sugar and caffeine when you are tired, hot, and depleted? The problem is, now, I expect a nice guy at a table to provide it on every practice run . . .
I do have 2 complaints: (1) Not enough port-a-potties (are there ever enough?) and (2) more importantly, there were no cookies left by the time we finished (and this one is SUPER important)!
We weren’t sure if real trail runners wear skorts or long socks, but we just went with our favorites from Skirt Sports and Pro Compression. (We are ambassadors for both, but would have chosen them anyway – far more fun to “chick” the guys wearing skirts and tall socks!) But as a practical matter, the socks kept the bugs (you know, those ticks and spiders) off and the skorts provide the much needed pockets. Also, we found out that you have to choose your sock color carefully — mud, well, mud.
Are you a road racer trying out trails for the first time?
What inspired you to change it up? What advice do you have for us newbies!