After running the Rock-n-Roll half in the spring, I decided to run a trail half marathon in the fall. This was at the urging of my friend Rob, who paced me for Rock-n-Roll. He primarily runs incredibly long distances on trails, so that's where his heart is. This is considered a bit of a warm-up to trail runners.
1. Think about running on trails.
I actually did this quite a bit. I thought about running, getting lost, tripping, getting hurt. Really, I had all aspects of the race covered. When I would run with folks and they would ask if I was training for anything, I would tell them about the run. Then they would ask what it was like to run trails, and I would say "I have no idea!".
2. Volunteer at a trail race to talk to actual trail runners.
In this phase, I learned that trail runners are very nice. They have a lot of tips for roadies like myself, though some of them don't really respect roadies. It was a 50 mile race, and the day was super hot, so I also watched a lot of people drop out of the race. Ouch! I gave many people flat soda, which is something trail runners seem to enjoy.
3. Get urged by friend to move from the "planning to run" phase to the "actually run phase".
This was Rob's wife. I see her almost weekly, and she would always ask "how's the training going?" and I would respond "I'm still in the planning to plan phase" and then later I'd say I was in the "meeting people phase", and then I'd say I was in the "planning to run" phase. She clearly doubted the wisdom of my training plan. She may have had a point.
4. Ask the women of Moms Run This Town if anyone knows how to run on trails.
Anyone?!? There are 1,000 people in my chapter of this group. Surely someone knows how to run on trails and where the trails around here are.
5. Receive one response from a woman willing to try it out.
You've never run trails either? Awesome! This will be fantastic. Did I mention I cannot read a map? Is that a problem? Oh look! I have a phone, too. Let's use it. Where are we?
6. Find map for trail. Try and follow map. Fail many times - but because the person in #5 is so nice, and willing to wander around looking for trailheads, start running.
- pro-tip: if you're crossing a street that dissects a trail you are on, look for a trash can or other such object across the street - it probably marks the next trail head. Pavement probably marks a very long driveway on private property.
I ran 6 - 8 miles every week on trails, in place of what would've been a longer weekend run. Definitely a good choice. If I could swing running on trails twice weekly, I'd be in even better race shape.
8. Find you have no running partner the week before the race and be grateful your parents happen to be in town and your husband is willing to run with you while your parents watch your children.
- yes, dear, we run early.
- no, dear, I won't make you run more than 8 miles.
Total time: 2:22:57; 52 overall; 6th in age group.
|Mid-race - nice work by the photographer! I love my flying hair.|
|Coming down the home stretch towards the finish. Another nice shot! Am I levitating?|
*If you start a comment with "I mean this in the nicest way possible", you should probably just stop talking. Because what comes next will probably be unlikely to endear you to the person you're directing your comment at, although it may provide a motivational boost as the person tries to get away from you.