Long Trail Run

Yesterday I did an 8 mile trail run, which was my longest run in quite some time. I did an 8-mile road run a month or two ago, but 8 miles on the trail is a lot harder than 8 miles on the road. The funny thing is 8 trail miles feels a lot easier than 8 road miles, even though it takes way longer. I’m not sure if it’s because the dirt is a lot easier on your body or because the scenery is a lot easier on your eyes or both.

I saw more people than I ever have. I guess I’m not the only one who loves the woods this time of year! Right off the bat, I saw a woman and her husband, and I nearly gave them a heart attack. I actually ran off the trail in an effort to crunch more leaves and make noise, but they still didn’t hear me. What is the right thing to do, yell something like “coming up behind you”? I always feel bad when I scare people.

Around mile 3, I saw four women riding horses. One of them was leading a pony with a saddle on (I’m assuming to train it). They asked if I wanted a ride back. The funny thing is, I saw them again at the end of my run. They had gone 3 miles since I’d seen them and I’d gone 5. Horses are not exactly speed demons on trail rides.

I saw two moms with their daughters, and then towards the end, my yoga instructor and her dog.

I basically did a loop around the whole park. I could have made my run longer by taking every little off-shoot loop, but 8 was good enough for me.

The east side of the park is an area I don’t often run. There’s a few sections where you run alongside a farm field in the grass, and I hate those sections. It’s worth it, though, because part of it is in a really pretty valley.

Shortly after leaving that area, I saw a few wild turkeys. Can you see them?

This is one of my favorite sections of trail, which is right behind the campground.

Right at the end of the 8 miles was a really hard downhill (as in hard to run down it’s so steep) and a really hard uphill. I tried to take a picture, but hills never look hard in pictures, do they!?

Next weekend, I will try 9 or 10. Woohoo! I’m really hoping the trails stay runable on the weekends for along time!

Scenes from Trail Runs

My goal for myself this year is to run trails at least once a week. Trail running is just so good…I think it should be a part of every runner’s weekly routine. You can learn more about the physical benefits of trail running here, here, and here. Most elite road runners do a fair amount of training on trails and those articles explain why.

The mental benefits are just as great, if not greater, than the physical ones. I never get bored on trail runs. Scared, yes. Tired, yes. But bored? No. I ran six miles tonight by myself and they ticked off so quickly. On the roads, those six miles would’ve been a lot harder to talk myself into and to finish.

I am so lucky to live just a few miles from a great network of trails. They are actually mostly horse trails, but the horses haven’t minded sharing with me so far. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually seen horses. Once I saw two mules with huge bells on their necks. That was hard to figure out until they came into my line of sight. On the topic of horses–remember, horses have the right-of-way on trails! I always step aside, stop, and let them walk by me so the horses don’t spook. Something about a person running through the woods can be scary to horses, who seem to forget that a very similar person is also ON THEIR BACK.

Anyhow. I ran trails the last two days, and I have to say, those are the best two runs I’ve had in ages. Just me and nature and way too many animals. But once I got over the “Dear sweet Jesus save me!” moment, I enjoyed seeing several turkey, deer, raccoon, squirrels, birds, and a few unnamed rustles in the low-lying shrubs. Here are a few pictures I took along the way.

There is a raccoon in there. Do you see it?

I thought this huge mushroom was a softball at first. Then a water balloon. I took this yesterday. So big and so weird!

The trails are in perfect shape right now. Dry without being dusty, clear while still being wild.

One of my favorite spots. The silt basin at the back of the park. I don’t even know what a silt basin is or does. I tried Googling it and now I’m more confused. All I learned is that it can be a part of a construction site or a pond and that it is more commonly called a “sediment basin”. Let’s stick with “pretty smaller lake” for now, okay?

Those pictures were all from yesterday. Tonight, I ran right at sunset. The bad thing about sunset is the animals are crazy active and I about had a heart attack 5 or 50 times. The good thing is the setting sun hitting my favorite grove of pine trees was so cool!

You really should’ve been there. In other news, this is exactly how I sleep, how about you?

I hope you were able to enjoy the weather this weekend where you live! It’s about perfect here!

Trail Run + Posting = Jello

I haven’t run on trails hardly at all this year. I obviously can’t leave the kids home alone to run them, and by the time Chris gets home and finished with his run, it’s often too late. One thing I do NOT do is run trails in the dark. And morning running? It’s just not for me. Today, I finally hit the trails!

There’s nothing like a good trail.

I only ran 3 miles, but given that I haven’t run trails since…um…I seriously don’t know, it was tiring for my legs.

Earlier today, I had my first riding lesson. The kids have been taking riding lessons for awhile, but Campbell wasn’t as into it as Evan. Campbell prefers to play with the cats in the barn or to play with the owner’s daughter. So, I took Campbell’s spot today and it was so much fun! But dang, it was hard. I rode horses as a kid, but English riding is so much different than the western and bareback style I’m used to! I mostly did posting and two-point the whole lesson. My thighs are killing me!

Needless to say my legs feel very Jello-y tonight. Maybe riding lessons and running on the same day aren’t such a good idea. My chiropractor DID recommend that I start doing some strength training. He said that would help my knee issue a lot. I wonder if horseback riding counts? Probably not… I’d better bust out that Anatomy for Runners book and make a better effort at doing the exercises!

Have you ever doing two-point or posting while trotting on a horse? When was your last trail run?