signed up for the Trout Creek Trail Race 5k completely blind. I had no idea what to expect from a trail run (I’ve hardly done any running on trails in the past), I knew my time would be slower but wasn’t sure by how much, I couldn’t tell you what “single track” and “double track” meant (this was mentioned on the race website), and I wondered if I’d break a leg (literally) tripping over a root. But hey, I wanted to run this race.
Some factors that made this race different for me:
1. I have never done a trail race before. Like mentioned above, this was totally new to me, and I was anxious to get my feet wet (perhaps literally?) into a new form of running.
2. No Garmin, no goals, no problem. I wanted to have fun. I didn’t want to know my pace and I didn’t want to set a time goal for myself. I wanted to pay attention to the path in front of me and the nature surrounding me.
3. I didn’t listen to music. No iPod folks, I’m just getting crazy over here! I wanted to focus in on my surroundings and enjoy my first trail run without rappers yelling at me through me earphones. Plus, if someone yelled “snake ahead” I’d like to be aware. Snakes, along with any animal you might find in the woods, terrify me.
4. This was my first back-to-back 5k. I ran a 5k road race the day before and I was silly enough to sign up for one the day after. What can I say? I’m addicted to the endorphins and it’s my me time.
So let’s chat about the race. The Trout Creek run is a part of the Xterra series. Trail races are not too common in my area (at least from what I can find) and when I saw a local race come up, I thought why not give this a go? Trail running is a lot different than road running, but the benefits of: less impact to your joints + being out in nature and away from the crowded streets appealed to me.
I picked up my race packet a few days prior at a running store. When I walked in, I found a booth where all I saw were glow sticks and really loud girls. This can’t be it. I asked someone who worked there where the trail run booth was… she lead me to the side of the store where a man looking like he just stepped out of the woods welcomed me. I was handed bib #15 and knew this was going to be a small, but really fun, race 🙂
My husband and I headed out to the trail a little before 8, to get there in time for the 8:30am start time. There were a bunch of people at the top of a hill looking down, and I thought ohhh man… a hill is involved. Sure enough, the start of the race was running up a grassy hill before taking off down a path!
There was both a 5k and 15k (I did the 5k), and they split at the top of the hill. I thought it was a really fun way to start a race and it wasn’t the mass chaos you would think it’d be.
The handheld water bottle strikes again! And check out that guys’ calves!
After climbing up the hill, I took off at a pretty fast speed to get towards the front (remember, I didn’t have G so I wasn’t aware of my pace the entire time). Well…I was out of breath after about 5 mins of running. I think starting out by bolting up a hill then keeping a faster pace just about did me in!I stayed close with one lady and we ended up running the whole thing together, switching who was in front/behind thanks to the narrow trails (<– that’s a single track!).
Once we hit the woods, I was in heaven. I slowed my pace a tad so my lungs wouldn’t burst, and for the most part I was able to enjoy my scenery. There’s something about being surrounded by trees, and not stomping on concrete that makes me feel peaceful. I loved hearing the leaves crunch beneath my feet, not being able to see a road, winding around narrow trails wondering which way they were going to curve next. It was an adventure!
I will say, I rolled over both of my ankles at different points along the trail. I’ve injured both of them pretty bad in the past, and I swear they’re like invincible now. I’ve strengthened those bad boys up! Both “rolls” my runner friend asked if I was okay…to which I replied, yup! They can take anything! 🙂 Hey, at least I didn’t fall (I lied earlier…I did have a goal to not fall)
My dad surprised me and showed up to the race! He found a spot on the trail that the runners would be passing through and snapped some pics:
That was so motivating and pushed me to continue running harder. I was so tired with probably just less than a mile to go. I felt like I had run much more than 3.1! One guy and one girl (I don’t like you) passed us towards the end, but I felt like I had given it my all.
It was a straight shot to the finish line and I heard Ryan yell “Go Molly!” I knew I had a guy right behind me and I didn’t want to let anyone else pass me, so I pushed hard to the end.
I did it! First trail race and I LOVED it. Everything was sore the next day, but nothing hurt. Being on softer surfaces was much kinder to my knees. My time was much slower than my past couple 5k’s, but I expected it to be, and I honestly didn’t mind. I got something else out of the trails that made me just as happy as a PR would do 🙂
What do you do for your “me time?”
Have you ever run a trail race?