Trail Running Is Hard

I ventured out to the trails on Tuesday. They kicked my butt.

I usually stick to the neighborhoods around my house, or if I hit up Ft. Harrison (where I usually #runch—run at lunch—once a week or so) I stick to the paved trail. It’s very hilly, but since it is paved it’s not technical at all.

I’ve convinced myself that the reason I stay on the paved trail is because it’s safer. The dirt trails through the woods are certainly more secluded, and I always worry at lunchtime, especially in the winter, that I’m putting myself in danger by running alone in such an isolated spot. So, I stick to the pavement where there are far more people and it’s not so heavily wooded.

But, let’s be honest here. I skip the trails because I know they’ll eat this road runner alive, not because I’m scared of psychos who might jump me (OK, I am a little scared of this, especially now that I’m typing it). I know my running would benefit from switching it up and heading to a new surface, but man I get stuck in running ruts and it’s hard to break out.

Anyway, on Tuesday I decided to suck it up and hit the real trails. I was feeling a little left out I guess, after watching my sister’s marathon this weekend and Boston on Monday. Feeling like I need to up my game and put in a harder effort. I have a kid-free morning Friday (tomorrow!) so I’ll be doing my weekly long run then, so I didn’t want to do another long run on Tuesday, but I needed to do something more challenging than my standard 5-8miler in the neighborhoods or on the treadmill. So I headed to the trails at Fort Harrison State Park after work—and my ass is still sore.

The trail I chose isn’t too bad, it’s a good mix of smaller ups and downs and larger ups and downs. There are a fair amount of rocks, roots and streams you have to watch out for, but by far the greatest challenge is the boardwalk section. It’s maybe a quarter- to a half-mile of uphill stairs that lead to lookout areas over the park. It’s tough to walk, but running was brutal. I was reminded of doing stadiums—running up and down the stadium stairs a bajillion times—during high school track practice. I had to pay careful attention to my feet, something that’s not really a concern when you’re running on a treadmill.

The Boardwalk at Fort Ben. Source
The Boardwalk at Fort Harrison. Source

It was tough, and made worse by some brutal winds—making me respect those Boston Marathoners even more than I already do. I ended up doing a little over 6 miles in just under 54 minutes—I’ll take it.

Obligatory Garmin shot
Obligatory Garmin shot

My booty was on fire yesterday! I secretly love being sore. I feel like I must have really pushed myself if my muscles are still screaming at me two days later. If I can incorporate the trails into my training once a week or so, maybe that BQ this fall isn’t so far out of reach?

I’m off to work where something exciting is happening today! I’ll be celebrating at lunchtime with some Orange Leaf.

Plus, we have a date night tonight—that’s 2 in 2 weeks! Last week was a last minute, special circumstance for the Pacer’s game. We usually get one every month and a half or so. I can hear the wine and adult conversation calling my name…

Do prefer trails or roads? Ever switch it up?

If you’re a parent, do you ever get date nights?

My MIL very graciously takes the kiddo once a month or so. Instead of her waiting up late for us to get home, he stays the night with her. He loves it, and we can stay out as late as we want! I miss the nighttime snuggles and bed time routine, but I think it’s good for him to spend time with another person who loves him a lot 🙂

What’s your workout today?

Short run this morning – that’s all I’ll have time for. Long run tomorrow morning!

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16 thoughts on “Trail Running Is Hard

  1. I’m the same way about running ruts.. just can’t help it, and I’m definitely a road runner also. I don’t switch it up..and not bad at all.!! 6 miles in the trails with that pace is really good.!! good job. 🙂
    I did a short run today also.. tried to do a tempo.. but went out too fast and totally died the last few miles. augh. fail

  2. My wife and I get out pretty regularly, once or even twice a month… Next year my oldest will be able to babysit regularly, so we’re all kind of fired up about that!

      1. Gotta have that time… We went for several years before we started doing “date nights”. We enjoy our marriage a lot more for it.

  3. I am definitely a road runner. Besides the crazy psychos who could greet you on a trail, I’m a little clumsy and would absolutely twist my ankle over a loose rock on a trail. I stick to what I know is safe. That said, I do have lots of hills to work with in my neighborhood so I can make it tough if I want to 😉
    I’ve got a 6 mile group run on my schedule tonight! Those are always fun.

  4. I completely agree…trails are hard. I’ll be putting in a lot of time on the trails for an ultra in June. I like to mix it up between road and trail.
    Today’s workout: 3 mile walk (legs are still toast from Boston), PiYo, and light weights

  5. I love running trails, I love barreling down them even more. 🙂 Oddly, I never worry about the people I encounter on the trails but the mountain lions who like to hide in the bushes around here. Oh and rattlesnakes. They’ve started coming out already out here, yuck.

  6. I prefer trails. Well, trails by Vegas standards, anyway! There is an equestrian trail near my house and I run on it all the time. One, it offers much better scenery than cars on the road and two, the dirt is much easier on the joints 🙂

    My workout today was a long run and some abs! I LOVE the long run!

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