From Zero To Trail Running In Three Weeks

So I had a bad week a few weeks, back, what with lightning hitting the house and damaging a few things. Everything is fixed, though we do need a new A/C compressor, but that’s nothing to do with the strike; that’s a consequence of living where we live. Most people would have had a few drinks or a dozen bars of chocolate and written off the week.

Not me. I went out and bought trail running shoes and signed up for a 10K mixed run (trails/asphalt) that takes place two weeks from today.

For the record, I counted myself as a trail running hater. Nope, not me, not ever. I was a asphalt aficionado if ever there was. Trails were for the crazy people with better ankles.

But given the pandemic, in-person races are few and far between. So you take what you can get, and when this one came up, I signed up. Then realized there was trail running involved.

Off to the bike/triathlon shop I went, and $145 dollars later, I am fitted with the right shoes. Medium lugs, since the trail is not a high-technical one (flat, grass, and dirt) as opposed to high-technical (hills, rocks, and tree roots). I hit a local park with an extensive trail system; one that offers a variety of dirt, grass, mud, puddle, gravel, and small hill terrain.

The first time out hurt like %$#@@!!*&*^%&%$&. I did not walk well for two days afterwards. My aging self is used to flat, clean, dry, and predictable territory. Nothing on a trail matches that description.

By the second try (last week), it was better. And while it is hot and humid, there is a lot of shade. And no traffic, other than the occasional bike riders and other runners and walkers. Everyone is very polite, maintaining social distance, and respecting the park rules.

Today’s run was really good. I did a mix of trail and road running, to get accustomed to the switch between the two. I don’t hurt as much. People were still nice, respectful, and socially distant. And those trails are quiet. There’s a major highway north of the park, but zero road noise in the park. I could hear leaves rustle, water flow, and my own breathing. That was it.

Am I converted entirely to trail running? No, not at this stage in life. I’d still pick the streets first. But am I adaptable to something new? Turns out I am able to admit I am no longer a never-trailer.

So I wonder what new vice/hobby/sport could be next? Well, I’ve been doing some reading about ice/winter swimming…

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