Thursday, May 19, 2011

"I HATE TRAIL RUNNING!" Says the Person Who is Running the Pikes Peak Marathon in 3 Short Months

I just returned from a running of the Phoneline Trail, and cannot stop thinking about 1) how much I hate trail runs, and 2) how badly I suck at them.

1) I hate them. Oh, there are so many reasons why I hate them! Here are a few:

*Having to worry about finishing before the sun sets. (I know I could get a head lamp, but I also hate wearing those.)
*Rocks in the trail. Especially when running at sunset or sunrise, the rocks throw all kinds of crazy shadows that make it hard to tell where the actual rocks are. The one way to know for sure is to find them with your toe. That happened probably 10 times on my way down Phoneline. Amazingly, it never resulted in a fall. Not yet, anyway.
*On the same topic, rocks in the trail -- I am like the princess in the story of the princess and the pea. If I land even slightly on a pointy rock, even a pebble, I feel it in the bottom of my foot. I have a secret belief that every rock I step on is going to cause a stress fracture.
*Desert wildlife. I didn't see any snakes today, but it is a matter of time if I continue to run on desert trails in the summer. And snakes are not my only concern. I'm also afraid of mountain lions. There have been quite a few sightings of them recently, especially on Douglas Springs where that girl has seen one THREE TIMES in the same place -- Mile 2.5, you know, about exactly the same place I was running ALONE last week before I knew about the mountain lions.
*Carrying my own fuel. That really stinks! Not that I am doing that right now -- I don't have my new Camelbak yet. (Trail runners -- any suggestions on choosing one? I have no idea what I'm doing.) This means I can't carry any fuel, which also sucks. Not like I can't do 10 miles without water -- I did today, and it wasn't unbearable -- but I sure could have used a nice cold drink at the turnaround.

2) I suck at them. I mean, really. I am not a super-fast runner, but I did manage to qualify for Boston. I should really be able to manage better than 10:00 miles. Actually I don't think I even ran a single mile under 10:00 pace. (And we won't mention the one mile I "ran" that was 15:something. Oh wait, I guess I did just mention it.) I think Tom G. could beat me on that trail WHILE CARRYING LOGAN! I know you are supposed to go slower on trails. But like 3:00 or more slower per mile? I don't think so. It's not like I was going easy, either. I was gasping for breath the whole time -- uphill and down. Avoiding those rocks takes so much energy. I will walk any section that has too many rocks so that I don't trip. I am deathly afraid of tripping, especially on trails like this one where if I tripped the right (really, the wrong) way I would just go tumbling off the edge and down into Sabino Canyon far, far below.
Also, when I run trails, my already awkward gait gets worse. I have sort of an egg-beater run, where I start kicking my ankles with the opposite feet when I get tired. Well, on the trail I managed to kick my KNEES with the opposite feet, not just once but many times. I mean, I would not have thought that that was even possible, anatomically! But I guess it is, because I did it! Thank God no one was watching -- it was just me up there by myself, just hanging out there like mountain lion bait.

I did run into Tom, Dallas, and Mike at the bottom, in the parking lot at 7:00. They were just heading up Phoneline. God, I am so glad they saw me in the parking lot, when I was legitimately finished, and not a mile up the trail where I had been walking -- yes, walking -- dispiritedly back towards the car.

I am really kicking myself for registering for this marathon and sentencing myself to a summer of trail running. What was I thinking?

1 comment:

  1. 1) You're not slow on trails! Well, you probably have some room for improvement, but Phoneline is a real climb AND the footing can be quite tricky. 12 min/mi is often a nice cruising speed for me on tough trails.

    2) I've tried a multitude of hydration packs, waist belts, hand bottles, etc., etc. Last fall I got a 50oz CamelBak with only one tiny zipper pouch (just big enough for a phone) for storage. It's the first hydration system that I really feel comfortable running in. If you want to try out any of my stuff, feel free... you may find yourself with a free gift, with the way I'm getting rid of stuff...

    3) You'll get sucked in and learn to love it. ;-)