So I started running for real last summer. After a while, I found out about Trail Running. I thought there was only running running, not running in the woods or running offroad. Trail running seemed amazing and awesome and kinda forbidden, like it was only for the cool kids. Then I realized that at least in my running group, there are no cool kids. There’s just a big sand box where everyone is welcome, no matter what. Occasionally someone from some other sand box may wander by and tell us we’re doing it wrong, but we resoundingly tell them to leave our toys alone and go back to being miserable with the other gatekeepers.
Two Sunday races in a row and so different. Last week I was dreading the Louisville Half Marathon like a root canal. I hadn’t had a decent run in weeks and was worried about lack of training and healthy living in general and sad hamstring specifically.* The night before the Harrod’s Creek Trail Bash, I was excited to get back out there.
*it went okay—I finished with a better time than I thought possible, but I could barely walk afterward
Yesterday morning I went out with the Alpha Run meeting of my women’s running group. I ran three Seneca Loops (1.2 miles per loop) with the other people (mostly post Monumental Marathoners) who wanted to take it easy. I wanted to run, but not aggravate my stupid hamstring. We had a fun lovely run. I adore my running group. My wonky leg did not seem to be any worse after a little over three and a half miles at sexy pace. I decided I would be just fine for the trail race.
Harrod’s Creek Park is in Prospect Kentucky. It’s a hidden gem of trails and a creek, snuggled in a subdivision. I ran there several weeks ago with a few other women from my trail running group. The trails were rocky and full of tree roots, which were all covered by a thick blanket of leaves. Kinda scary but I managed to not fall. I am not the most experienced trail runner, and even though I grew up in a rural area and spent a lot of time in the woods as a kid, I am as an adult still pretty intimidated by the thought of falling in the woods.
The race this morning was a 5K and a 10K. It’s the first in a three-part trail bash series. The next race is in late December, half and quarter marathon distances. I signed on with the short series. I hate cold weather and did not want to commit to training for a longer race if there was a chance the temps were frigid. This Wisconsin girl left all her cold tolerance up north. This was my third trail race; the first two were a five miler in May (it was muddy and crazy and incredibly fun) and a quarter marathon in mid-July (it was a million degrees but still so fun).
It was quite chilly, but I was dressed for it. I’ve got a North Face jacket that Spouse gave me for Christmas years ago. I wore it some over the years, but it has become my best friend for winter running. Caught up with friends from the running group, including a few women I hadn’t seen in a while, so the pre-race chilly standing around was really nice. Got the group photo, off we went!
The race was fine and fun. I felt my hamstring almost immediately, but it was never what I would describe as pain. It didn’t slow me down at all, not that I was going fast. Those leaves that scared me a few weeks ago had scattered or been broken down, so the obstacles in the path were clearly visible. Some good hills, slippery bridges, frosty ground. It was a good time. Three miles went by quickly, then I hung out and chatted with my running friends for a while after. The morning was sunny and it was just overall a fabulous day for an early run. Each finisher got an awesome mug to take home. The race t-shirts were cute. Age group winners’ prizes were super cool bird houses. Really neat race.