I mentioned on my Dad’s birthday about my desire to run trails a bit in his honor but I wasn’t quite honest about that. My desire to run trails was actually a side effect of Stockholm Syndrome.
See…this is what happened. I was basically kidnapped by a bunch of crazy runners. And they tricked me.
There were several running coaches in our group and all of them participate on some level in the local trail runs. Which we have TONS of. Trail running is kinda huge around here, it turns out. And after running with these coaches for weeks (See? THEY KIDNAPPED ME.) and listening to them talk excitedly about upcoming races or training runs…I couldn’t help but start asking questions. Of course I’d always say, “I just don’t think trail running is for me. I have weak ankles. And I’m a total klutz.” And those things are both VERY TRUE so I really believed what I was saying.
But they just kept with the talking about it I started looking to my crazy running captors like superheroes that I wanted to idolize and next thing I know I’m telling people: “I think I want to try trail running.”
Our main coach took a few of us interested newbies (or hostages, depending on how you look at it) out for an introductory trail run on Christmas Eve. And I was immediately hooked. It was an “easy” set of trails. A “technical” trail is one that basically prohibits you from running, maybe it’s too rough or steep. These trails were not very “technical” so I know there are harder ones. But that one outing? WAS SO MUCH DAMN FUN. It was like being a kid, tramping through the mud. Running through the woods. It was AMAZING.
So I’ve been talking to the other newbies who all also drank the kool-aid and we are all kinda on the same page. Loving the new experience of trails and wanting to sign up for trail races. The only one available soon is the McKay Hollow Madness. And it is described as here: “The McKay Hollow Madness 25K Trail Run is roughly 25 kilometers of mostly single track trail…This is a technical race with some difficult climbs and descents.”
EEK. Narrow and difficult! That wouldn’t be smart for a newbie, right? NO!
But I let my captors on the trail run this weekend talk me into it. And I signed up for the race Saturday night. EEEEEEEK. I AM DOING A 25K TRAIL RUN IN MARCH!
I’m telling you, I may indeed be suffering from Stockholm Sydrome, but this weekend I did 11 miles on the trails and loved every single step. Of course, I’ve been loving most steps of running lately, but these steps? OUTRAGEOUSLY FUN. Muddy! Rainy! FUN! So when I was reassured that the McKay Hollow 25K was within my realm of ability by another trail runner? I jumped at the chance to give me an excuse to run more trails.
So…this is a new journey. TRAILS! You definitely have to be more focused on the ground when you’re running trails. And you have to accept you’re going to turn an ankle (which I’ve done a few times) or fall (which I’ve not done yet) or end up covered in mud (which I’m looking forward too) but all in all? I think it was an easier 11 miles on the trails than on the road. It took me longer, but it went by faster. And the peacefulness? Worth all of the ankle turns and mud.
I still think of my Dad a lot while I’m out there, which is nice too. But this is something I’m doing entirely for me. As all of my runs are. And the miles on the trails? Are for the 8-year old me who just likes stomping in puddles and playing in the mud. And for the biology degree holder who is fascinated by lichens and shelf fungi. And for the photographer in me who can’t resist the mist-covered trees. The trails are a whole new facet to this running experience, and I can’t wait to explore them.