…a run through the woods

11 12 2008


i'd run it.

i'd run it.

ran my first official trail race this past Saturday.  Although I’ve been doing some trail running as part of my full training for a couple of months now, this was my first official trail race.  I did the Run at the Rock at Cedar Rock Park in Burlington, NC.  I must say that I could definitely only run this way for the rest of my life.  It was a great experience.  The race was well run, the runners were all super friendly, the trail is beautiful and I had a great time.


it’s funny, but when I’m on the trail, tough runs never seem as tough.  For whatever reason, i don’t find myself working as hard, i’m not constantly checking my pace, my time.  i also find that i run with a smile on my face more often when i’m in the woods.  I liken it to a kid on a playground.  When i’m on a trail run, i’m so focused on dodging limbs, missing roots and stepping over rocks, that I don’t pay attention to time, breathing, etc.  and the funny thing is, i often end up faster than a road run.  

on a few occasions, i’ve actually gotten lost in the woods on a trail run.  most of my trail runs are done on the single- and double-track trails that tail off of the pumpkin trail in Chapel Hill.  Moby and I have taken long saturday morning runs there before and gotten lost.  he loves trail runs as much as me and is really good at leading the way for me.  Each time we got lost, we just decided we’d run till we were tired, then we’d just turn around and run back to where we started.

 the bonus affect of my new affection for trail running is a growing awareness of the need to preserve the spaces that provide us with the amazing and challenging trails to begin with.  i’m fortunate to live in a community with a strong belief in conservation and people willing to be leaders in protecting those spaces.  one such group is the trailheads.  i’ve not had the opportunity to meet any of this group, but i have heard only good things about them and they are a group…well, you can read there mission on their site.

i’m still dedicated to completing my first marathon in March, at the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA.  and in keeping with that, i’m only giving myself one trail run a week.  i’m concerned that too much training on the softer surface of trails will serve as poor preparation for 26.2 on the road.  but, i’ll continue to sprinkle in races, and after the big race, i may never come off trails again.

in case anyone’s wondering, i finished the 7-miler in 56:15, which i was really pleased with, considering the terrain and the fact that i’d never seen the course before.  next up, the little river run – a 10-miler on january 9.  in the mean time, it’s always training season, and maybe i’ll see you on the trail.