August 22, 2011

Trail running is good for the soul.

(this is what it looked like when I got to the park)


Happy Monday, everyone! Last time I posted on here I vowed to make all of my miles this week, let's see how I did:

Monday - 3 miles, fast run, had to stop at the crosswalks, but overall a good time

Tuesday - 5 miles with Erin, excellent run, ankle getting a little easier!

Wednesday - Off

Thursday - 4.....This is when I disappoint. I busted my toe Wednesday evening, on my own apartment door. How lame of an injury. The little metal part that lines the bottom of the door just sliced through a good chunk of my pinky toe...absolutely painful, and bled way more than I thought a pinky toe could! So clumsy.

Friday - Debated running the 4 that I missed, but I was incapable of putting a shoe on the toe without it being pretty painful. :(

Saturday - Decided to suck it up and head to Fountainhead Regional Park for my practice run for the Women's Trail Half Marathon, and I am SO glad I did, even though I was incredibly nervous.

Saturday's run was so refreshing for my senses and my spirit. I arrived at the parking lot a little early, so I made sure my camelbak was ready, phone was packed, everything in order. I headed over to where the pack of people (mostly women) had gathered, and being my shy self I just kind of stood alone for a bit...until a woman noticed we had the same watch. We began chatting, and that helped ease my nerves. I've mentioned before, though I get lonely when I run without people, I am also very anxious and nervous to run with a pack. We signed in for accountability so they knew if someone had gotten lost on the trail (sigh of relief...I wore my BRIGHT orange shorts juuust in case), and off we went for the first 8 mile section. I decided to settle towards the back of the pack in case my toe gave me any problems. A good bit of the trail only has room for single tracking, so I made friends with the women in front and behind me, and the four of us stuck together for 95% of the 8 miles. I was sweating pretty heavily right from the beginning (hello two big hills that start off the race), but then I noticed everyone was in the same boat as me.

Eventually, one of the head guys of Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (Bill) decided he would lead us the rest of the way, which was a great thing because some of the turns were hard to identify. The first 8 miles start out on paved uphill road, then you turn onto the trail and it's flat-ish for a while, some uphills but nothing too bad. Then you eventually hit the do-loop, and that was where the challenging part started. The entire 'loop' is just this mix of steep uphills, steep downhills, and semi-flats. We decided to walk the uphills to conserve energy, and my thighs were burning anyway. We finished strong, minus one of the original four, and I even got to lead the three of us for a while :)

At the end of the entire run, I was sucking air, my lungs felt completely like toast, and I could barely walk with my shoes on. My toe has been pretty swollen since, but in hindsight, I would make the exact same decision and go on that run again. I don't think I've ever been sweatier in my entire life, and it felt like heaven.

Yesterday and today my calves are pretty sore, and my thighs feel used. I decided to sign up to be a member of Virginia Happy Trails Running Club, with the prospects of MAYBE someday going farther than 13.1 on a trail (most of their organized races are of the ultra variety). The attitude and love of trail running from the members is very contagious, and I look forward to the friendships I will form.

Sidebars: I just started reading The Long Run by Matt Long, a book I've been waiting for in paperback for a very long time. I just started yesterday and I'm already halfway through it. I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book, and if anyone personally knows Matty, hook a sister up! That man is delicious. (I do not care about THIS age difference)

My birthday celebration is this Saturday, pushing my long run of 15 miles to Friday night so I can be completely relaxed and not so exhausted on Saturday for the party!

I'm fifth on the wait list for the trail race! Getting closer! That means more trail runs on the weekends for me now if anyone ever wants to join me!

Countdown:
WTHM: 19 days
Philly RnR Half: 27 days
VA TM: 62 days
MCM: 69 days


Websites to check out:

www.thehaysay.com

http://trailrunningsoul.com/trs/

www.vhtrc.org

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