Last weekend, I did my very first trail run, the Muddy Leprechaun 4-miler. It. was. AWESOME! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. It was a touch on the cold side and a bit windy, but I’ll take that over rain or heat any day.
The day was special for another reason. It was my husband’s first race! He’s not a runner and didn’t do any training beforehand to train, but I told him I’d go at his pace and I was fine with walking, as long as we were doing it together. We jogged a little at the beginning, but then mostly walked the rest of the first 2-mile loop. It was so nice to get outside and be active, all with the one I love!
At the checkpoint, W peeled off and I was on my own. A lot of the walkers were only doing one lap so I was a ways back from the last of the runners. The devil on my shoulder was saying ”Just stop now. You’re going to be last and you don’t want to make everyone wait for you.” Thankfully, the angel on my other shoulder must be a runner because she was screaming “C’mon! You know you want to really run that trail!”
So I did.
1/4 of a mile or so was on the bike path, into the wind. The turnoff to the actual trail was at the treeline waaaay off in the distance. See it? Kind of? It felt like it took an eternity to get there.
A right turn, a gravel path that ran along the tree line and then into the woods!
I thought it would get harder once I was on the dirt, but it actually felt a lot easier. I’m pretty sure that had a lot to do with being protected from the wind. I did have to watch my footing. There were lots and lots of tree roots and some spots were really muddy.
I loved the sound my feet made when I was running across the bridges.
Coming out of the woods, the trail went back to a mix of sand and gravel. Sort of. With all the rain we’d had the week prior to the race, it felt more like wet cement. Still, the sky was beautiful and the natural surroundings were pretty amazing.
After the stretch in the last picture, it was down a hill, around a corner and just a quick jaunt to the finish line. Guess who ran into a FENCE instead of into the finishing chute? That’d be me! It was a wire fence that only came up about waist high. They had flags tied to it that looked exactly like the flags tied on either side of the finishing chute and spaced about the same. I knew to run between the flags. Obviously I just misjudged which ones. By the time I realized what it was, I’d already run smack into it. Not my most shining race moment. Embarassed doesn’t even begin to cover it. Also not the greatest picture of me ever taken, but I just ran 4 miles in cold and pretty vicious winds. I’m allowed to be a bit scary looking. Oh, and you know you love the stylish Garmin-on-the-outside-of-my-shirt look, don’t you? Sometimes you do what you gotta do…and sometimes it’s just not pretty.
Overall, I loved trail running. Pounding it out in the mud and through the woods made me feel tough. There was something so freeing about it.
And the swag was pretty sweet…shamrock socks and a pilsner glass!
I had no idea what to expect as far as time went since this was my first trail run. I finished my second 2-mile lap in 24:07 with split times of 11:22 and 12:45. Not bad considering I usually pace between 11:00 and 11:30 on flat, paved courses. And I stopped quickly a few times to take the pictures. All for the love of blogging, I’m willing to sacrifice a little off my time.
Have you done any trail running? If so, what do you think? If not, is it something you’d like to try?
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