Monday, September 9, 2013

Hitting the trails!

Since I'm hoping to do a trail race next month, I figured I should actually do a little trail running to see if it will even be possible. So I went this morning. Which may not have been very smart. Last night I went down to Atlanta to see my favorite band in concert. I did a lot of standing and jumping around and dancing. I got home at 12:30 AM and settled into sleep around 1 AM. Which means I got up late (the alarm went off at 6:30, which is an hour later than usual but I turned it off).  So by the time I got the kids started on their school work and headed to the park it was mid morning - and hot. And I had only had a half a banana on the way. So I'm starting out tired, poorly fed, dehydrated, and on used-up legs.

So when I say, "This is much harder than I remember it being!" perhaps that is the reason. My last experience in running trails was over the winter when it was nice and cool and I was hydrated and fed for a 10 mile run. I'm sure that makes a difference. Anyway... here we go!

Now, first of all, please understand that two of my biggest fears with trail running are getting lost and and falling down. I took a trail map with me to help with the 'getting lost' part, and I just figured I'd have to be careful for the 'falling down' part.

I started off at the trail head with a warm up walk. I was hoping to acclimate to the trail and learning how to follow it. I soon figured out that there is a color for each trail and that the trees are marked with that color. For the most part this trail was marked very well, either with the trees or with the path being clear. I planned to do 4.5 miles and this trail is 7 miles long, so I decided to do out and back 2.25 miles (really 2.5 by the time I add the walking warm-up and cool down). Like a dingbat, since it was going well, I figured the extra 2 miles wouldn't be bad and I could take them easy so midway through I decided to go all the way around.

However, around that 2.25 mile marker, I lost the trail. I mean, there was the trail in front of me, but it wasn't marked yellow anymore. It was marked red. So I stopped, got out my trail map, and looked for the red trail. There isn't a red trail. @@ So I ran back to the last place I remember seeing a turn off to see if that was yellow, but it wasn't marked at all except with a sign for mountain bikes. I decided that since I hadn't packed any nutrition for a long run, and I was pretty tired and hot, it would be best to turn around and go back the way I came.

On the way back, I remembered that I wanted to blog this experience so I took this picture of the trail ahead of me:

Isn't it beautiful??
I really should have taken a picture of the most overgrown part that I ran today - it made me think of that scene from the movie, "Romancing the Stone" where they are trying to get away from the bad guys and he is cutting through the brush saying, "I'm following the trail" and she replies, "This is a trail?!?"

Anyway, I did safely make it back to my car. Where I was hot, sweaty, and dirty! I didn't fall, though one time I came really close. And I could of times I could feel my ankles sort of go out from under me, but I didn't trip or sprain anything. It was very pretty, but I didn't get to look around as much as I had wanted to because I was too busy trying not to get lost.

One tired trail runner!

But yay! I did it!!

The next time I run this trail, I plan to start off in the other direction. Perhaps I will come back to where I was when I lost the trail so I can figure out what happened! It would be fun to go completely around the the trail eventually! Just so I can say that I did it! :)

Now, I think I'll go sign up for that trail race!

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