Monday, September 17, 2012

Ode to Trails: Trail Running Discovery Park

This is the second time this month I have been trail running! Who am I?!

Let me rewind to the beginning of the weekend. Friday I went to Crossfit, despite feeling exhausted. I knew I was going to have most of Saturday to recover before my long run Sunday, and I wanted to see my friends there.

The workout was fine. It was an AMRAP and I took it nice and easy. We did 15 minutes of lunges, kettlebell swings, pushups and pullups. Since I was feeling so sluggish, I pushed myself through the workout, but didn't go all out by trying to get in a million rounds of anything.

Saturday morning I got in a nice, short and slow run. Nothing to write home about.

One of the trainer's at my CrossFit gym, Jess, is an ultra marathoner and runs several a year. Talk about amazing! Anyways, she is all about the trails and is coming off an injury. She is also running the Tough Mudder in two weekends with our team.

Anyway, in prep for our race, she has been the one taking me trail running several times. I have been very hesitant to get into trails for several reasons.

1: Hills. Most importantly: downhills, which I am awful at.
2: Increased potentail for injury.
3: It's hard.
4: Hills
5: I have an awful sense of direction.
6. I like to run fast on an open road.
7. Hills.

I think these reasons can now be thrown out the window as I think I am falling in love with trails.

Don't get me wrong. Most of my runs will continue to be "road" runs, and I will continue to enjoy working on my speed. However, I have come to appreciate trail runs to the point where I have made plans to meet on the trails twice this week.

Hold the phone. What is going on.

Sunday morning, I had plans to meet some friends at Discovery Park. There were 5 of us meeting, all of whom will be running Tough Mudder.

I had never been to Discovery Park, but since I wanted to get in 16-18 miles, I knew I needed to get started earlier than everyone else. I got to the park about an hour ahead of time and after wandering around the parking lot, found the entrance and took off. I took the main loop around and for the first lap, I was mostly alone (and swatting away spiderwebs). It was so peaceful and gorgeous out that I couldn't help but enjoy myself!
The sunrise was going on as I took my first loop around the park and I just kept a slow, steady pace, enjoying the morning!

I only got in about 6 and a half miles before meeting up with the rest of the crew: Beth, Jess, Scott and Matt. Jess took us through a longer loop that was probably 5 to 6 miles and we got to run down along the waterfront, which was lovely!

Scott is a new runner and decided after not having run over 2 miles before in his life, to start training for a 50k! How bad-a$$ is that?! I promise he is being smart about it, as Jess is helping him train. Our run Sunday morning was a new personal distance record for him! I'm really excited to watch his journey because he is still finding running to be super difficult and hasn't yet found the joy that you get once your body acclimates to running. He stepped out of his car before our run in a shirt that says "running sucks". I literally burst out laughing!

After that loop, we lost Scott and Matt. Jess, Beth and I did one more loop. I was feeling great after the first two loops and it wasn't until about halfway through the third loop that I started feeling tired. It was taking a lot of energy for me to really pay attention to my footing and not start dragging my feet along. When I run on the road, I have more freedom to stumble, but do that on a trail and you will bite it. Hard!

One thing that is probably good for me, but drives me absolutely nuts is that when I run trails, my Garmin can't always get a signal, so I never know my total miles. Jess is trying to get me to base my runs on time, but I get so anal about my distances! I just want to know how far I've gone! According to Jess, just being on my feet for a certain amount of time is akin to how far I would've gone on the road.

Garmin says 15 miles, but I think it was closer to 16 or 17. Ready to kill 18-20 this weekend! I wasn't as tired as I thought I should've been after this run. We went to brunch afterwards at the Hi Life in Ballard. I had a yummy scramble with eggs and salmon, some fruit and coffee and by the time we were finished I was excited to attack the rest of the day! Usually after long runs I need a nap and feel like I should be lazy the rest of the day. Must mean training is working and my body is getting used to higher mileage!

I'm excited for a fun week ahead. More trail running (what on earth is going on?!), CrossFit fun and my best friend comes to visit next weekend!


  1. I love your list of fears about trail running, probably because they are IDENTICAL to mine! I love it when I do it, but it just scares me. Will you take me sometime?!?!

    1. Haha, I'm glad I'm not alone! I would totally love to take you on trails sometime! Perhaps after your ankle heals and you get through the marathon =)