Krystal, one of my coworkers, always says I look like I’m gliding when I’m running. Yesterday I was not gliding. Friday’s 7:13 average pace was easy compared to the 9:41 I ran Saturday morning. The difference? I hit the trails.
I’ve met a lot of great runners over the past few months at races. Kurt, an avid trail and road runner, planned an 11 miler at Crystal Cove in Laguna. I’m glad I went in with no expectations because I might have not signed up for the challenge had I known what was coming. We climbed nearly 2000 feet over the course of the run. By comparison the Palos Verdes half, a race I always think of when of my hilliest runs, had just over 500 feet of elevation gain. The downhills were tough too, with terrain requiring full attention. I only fell once!
I feel like I’ve been introduced to a whole new world. Yes, I have trails before, but nothing like this. I was mountain climbing! I now know why trail runners have such a snooty attitude. Running trails really hard! Running on trails must make you stronger for the road. It’s also a great mental challenge. At an easy pace I can run forever. I haven’t had that “I really need to walk” experience in a while. It’s was fun to push myself past my comfort zone and have a run where I reached my threshold and had to stop. I’m going to try to do a few intense trail runs every month, and I’m hoping my run club buddies will join me. I feel like it will make me stronger and it’s a great way to see the beautiful state of California.
Thinking of going on a trail run? Don’t make my rookie mistakes. Carry water, salt tablets, electrolytes and definitely carry your phone. Also, if you are a numbers person, have fun challenging yourself to climb higher. Your splits are going to be significantly slower, but it’s fun to look at your elevation. Are you in? Let’s hit the trails!