I had the awesomest (yeah, it’s a word) trail run this morning! I felt great and I didn’t have the dead legs today! So, I’m developing a theory that I’m going to have to test.
I’ve been laying off running this week in favor of strength training and cardio on the elliptical and stationary bike at the (hurk) gym because for the last few weeks, every time I run, I get the dead legs and I hurt for three days afterward.
And I realized that only started happening recently, when I started hitting the roads again. All winter long when I was trail running, I wasn’t having any pain or weakness. And I think (here comes the theory part) it’s because when I run the trails, I’m working every muscle in my body and every fiber of my being, instead of just monotonously working the same muscles over and over again for miles and miles. Which brings me to the conclusion:
I love trail running!
I was under the impression it was a five miler, but it actually ended up being about 5.5; a detail that was not pointed out to me until I’d finished the race. (Imagine my bewilderment at the “halfway point,” when I thought I’d only run 2.5 miles.)
The course was killer. Right off the bat, we hit the hills and then ran through a a long stretch of muddy creek bed that added what felt like a pound of weight to my feet. To add insult to injury, the next hundred yards or so was sand, which caked onto the mud and added even more weight.
Then there was a nice stretch of flat grassy fields, where about 200 people passed me after they wimped out and walked through the mud. I’m proud to say I didn’t stop to walk. Even during the last stretch of trail which seemed to go uphill at a 45° angle for about 300 yards. (It really burns me when people walk up a hill and then pass you as soon as it flattens out. I think that should qualify as cheating; sure, you have enough energy to pass me now because you were walking earlier!)
Toward the end, this lady was on the sideline cheering for her friend. As I approached her, she screamed, “GO TERESA!!” I said, “actually, my name’s Marie but thank you!!”
Anyhoo. I feel incredible. I’m not going to stop the strength work and I’m not going to stop doing road races, but I think I’ve just confirmed my niche as a runner. For me, a 6 mile trail run is where it’s at.
Another thing that’s cool about trail running is that I don’t feel inferior if I can’t manage an 8:00 mile. I’m doing hills, bridges, mud, grass, quicksand. And if I can manage 5.5 in 1:05 in those conditions; hell, that’s good enough for me.