Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Spooky Trail 10 Miler Race

Participating in a trail race was never something I thought I would do. After all, trails are hard to run  and being alone in the woods has never thrilled me. (Big chicken here.) However, when faced with the option of running 10 miles around my usual same old route vs taking up a new adventure out on the trails of a local state park, I went with the adventure!

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I wasn't sure what to do about a race outfit. The temps were forecast to be in the 50's the entire length of the race and I didn't know whether to wear a short or long sleeved top. Such a dilemma. In the end, I wore a long sleeved top to the race site and brought the short sleeved top along with me just in case I decided to change at the last minute.

This park is only about 10 minutes from my house, so it was a very easy drive to get there.

The sun was just rising as runners were entering the park. It was so beautiful and peaceful on the river!

Packet pickup was super easy and it was at this point that I realized two things - for one, I wondered what in the world I got myself in to and two, there weren't many runners milling around and I freaked out a little bit about the possibility of being in the woods alone. (Big chicken here, remember?)

In the end, I decided to change into the short sleeve shirt and I was SO glad I did. After a quick restroom stop, it was time to line up to start the race! I heard that around 60 runners registered, but only about 48 or so completed the race.

Once the race began, a group of 5 of us kind of unintentionally formed a little pack runners who stayed together for about half the race. That was fine with me because I definitely didn't want to be alone, especially not knowing the trails well.

It took about a mile and a half before my body warmed up. It was also hard for me to enjoy the course and the scenery because I was constantly looking down to make sure I didn't trip. One of the guys in our little pack of runners face planted at one point and another girl in our group kept getting her foot caught on roots and the rough ground.

This race seriously made me realize that trail running is NOT for the faint of heart!!

We made our way through several trails and although this trail looks pretty decent, the majority of them didn't look like this. There were hills, steep curves, lots and LOTS of roots, mud, uneven ground, more steep curves, bridges, and...well, you get the point.

Once our group of 5 broke off, I literally stuck like glue to the runner in front of me. After a little while, she asked if I was familiar with the trails and she admitted that she wasn't either. At one point, we weren't sure we were even going the right way because we couldn't see paint markings any longer. Luckily, we were on the correct course.

Also, there were no water stops along this course. Thankfully I knew this ahead of time and was prepared with water bottles for my flip belt. One thing about running with water, though...I despise it. I absolutely cannot stand the sound of sloshing water while running. Lucky for me, I had headphones and listened to a podcast the entire race.

I finished this race in about 2 hours which is what I was expecting. My body also felt as if I'd run a full by the time it was all said and done. Actually, it's Tuesday and my hip flexors are still sore. I had a feeling this would be a tough and interesting experience, but I didn't realize just how hard it would be. There were many times I wanted to walk but I couldn't bring myself to because I didn't want to lose anyone in my group.

In all, I finished 40th out of 48 runners. Definitely not what I'm used to, but I'll take it for my first trail race experience!

I sent a text to Jason while on my way home and asked if he had breakfast waiting for me.

...of course he did!

Now for the burning question - would I run a trail race again? On Saturday, I would have told you a flat out no. After having a few days to think about it, now I honestly don't know my answer. If I were more familiar with a trail or course before jumping into it like this, I would be more inclined to say yes. Overall, it was a neat experience and definitely one I'm glad I took on!

A friend asked what the "spooky" aspect of this race was all about. No, there never was anyone hiding in the woods, waiting to jump out at us. For me, the spooky part had to do with being alone...lost on a trail! Thankfully, that never happened!

 Have you ever run trails or a trail race? What are your thoughts on the whole thing?


  1. I would be freaking out if I was doing that race, afraid I'd get turned around and hopelessly lost! Sounds like it was spooky and scary for you but hey - you did it!!!

    1. Yes to all of the above! Hah! I'm so glad I did it once so I don't have to do it again!


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