On my list of races to possibly do yet this year is a 4 mile trail run on November 6. I have just been doing 5Ks on pavement so I thought it might be a good idea to actually run on a trail before I register. 🙂 Sometimes I try to run on the grass instead of the sidewalk but that gets tricky when there are tall weeds and when the utility company has been digging holes and doesn’t fill them in.
I’m so thrilled to report that trail running was much easier and more fun than trying to run in the grass. I chose a trail that we have hiked many times although I didn’t know the distance. Trying to decipher the trail head map was difficult because it gave the distances between 2 points and in order to know how far I went I would have to add up a few sections. Once I was finished I realized I could use the calculator on my phone to add the sections and the loop I did was 1.3 miles. The trail started downhill which was nice, but this section had stairs with a path next to them. I opted for the worn down path next to the stairs instead of hoping over stairs. The next half mile or so was pretty flat and went along the lake; it was such a pretty view! A welcome change from my usual runs in town.
Besides the natural beauty of this trail, the next best part about it was the soft dirt and leaves. The leaves pretty much covered everything but somehow I managed not to trip. The last section was uphill, which most people would groan about, but I was happy to do hills. There are none in the small city where I live. I know there will be hills during the 4 mile race so I need to be prepared! The loop ended up being shorter than I thought it would be so after returning to my starting point I went back down the first section, turned around and tried to run back up. It was pretty steep (this was the part with the stairs) and I had to walk part of it. All in all it was a great run and I went ahead and registered for the 4 mile race on the 6th. I’m looking forward to more trail running before then!
This past Sunday I ran a 5K. It was a fundraiser for our school district and also included a 10K and half marathon. In total 2400 people participated! This was my first time running the course and I was a little nervous. I looked at the map to get a feel for it but didn’t really know what the elevation changes would be like. Luckily I found the kids’ PE teacher at the starting line and this was her 26th time running the race. I knew her goal time was 28-29 minutes and wanted to stay with her as long as I could. We worked great together and were able to talk during most of it, her telling me when an incline was coming and giving me a heads-up as to when we should kick it in high gear. She didn’t know I was pretty much already in high gear during the first mile. 🙂 We ran a 9:20 mile and during training I do a 9:40 first mile.
She commented that we were perfect running partners and it was as-if we had been running together all our lives. I was very impressed with her and hope I can run the same pace when I am her age (pretty sure she’s in her fifties, I am 32). I stuck with her for 2.5 miles and was then winded; the second mile was mostly uphill. My legs felt heavy and my hamstrings were a bit tight. It was also warm and I am not a good warm-weather runner. She wanted to finish strong so took off, while I then walked for fifteen seconds to catch my breath. That last half mile felt LONG but at least it was downhill. It’s one of those courses where you can see the finish line during the last quarter of a mile so you start to sprint and then realize you sprinted too soon. At least, that’s what usually happens to me. I ended up finishing strong though and beat my goal time of 30 minutes by five seconds. If I had not run with the PE teacher I would not have reached that goal. I love having a running partner during races!
While I am happy with my time, I still want to improve and get faster but am not sure how to get there. I need to do some research on that. I also need to do an activity other than running and do some strength training. My plan is to start attending a zumba class because they seem to be wildly popular and I hear it’s a great workout. Anyone out there do zumba? Run a race this month? Have any training advice?