I did it. First trail run is run and done and part of history. No slips, falls, trips or other athletic accidents. I did get lost finding the park, but I left the house so early (I build it in and call it “What if I get lost?” time) that I was on time.
I had a map and GPS, but the roads around the park make no sense (they go by names and numbers and change according to which city you’re in, which apparently confuses the GPS as much as this driver), but now that I know where it is, I’ll never have an issue finding it again.
There was rain for the last mile or so, but it made very little difference; the place was a muddy mess before the skies opened up. It had rained for a few days, so it was not just the mud and puddles, it was the smell. Think wild night in the zoo elephant house seasoned with a week’s worth of picnic trash. It certainly keeps you moving.
There were fewer than 40 runners total, and that made social distancing easy. This type of running is a different mindset. It’s more about survival, less about speed. I was surprised to see older runners (including a four-generation family!) tackling the course. Then again, I think I was the only newbie out there, both to the sport and the course. But people were nice and welcoming.
Four days later, my quads are still tired, but surprisingly, nothing really hurt. I needed no pain medication, and even found I could do housework and lawn care after the race without feeling bad.
Am I hooked on trail running? I have to say I enjoy it, but not to the exclusion of road racing. I do have another trail opportunity in April, but definitely need more training, especially running on grass, which I found the most challenging part of last week’s race (sand, rocks, gravel, tree roots, mud, and water don’t seem to be an issue). I want to do the April race because it’s in a city that boasts the state’s best fried chicken, which I’ve eaten before and think about often. And to drive that far for a race, there should be a reward like fried chicken.