Monday, April 7, 2014

Running in the woods!

A few weeks ago we went camping as a family. We drove a couple of hours to join friends at Fall Creek Falls State Park. It's chock full of great hiking and lots of fun. We did a few little hikes that day as a family and since I hadn't done my long run for the day I decided to run in the woods when I had a chance. It got me super pumped up.

I've been dealing with this nagging injury but it felt like running in the woods on the softer surface wasn't as painful as road running sometimes seems to be. So, when I got home from that trip I immediately registered to run my first trail race.

The Knoxville Track Club has a great trail race serious - Treadin' Troddin' Trails.
I chose one of the harder trail races on the schedule as my first trail race. I.C. King of Trails. When I told my PT I was running it he asked if I had ever ran there. I told him no and he told me that it was definitely legit.  I was even more excited.

Booty shot  my hubby got as we headed to the trail.

For $10 or 2 volunteer coupons I got to run a low stress, no pressure race in the woods with friends and got a t-shirt to boot! The weather on Sunday was perfect. I chose crops, a tank and a long sleeve to wear. I opted for a hat rather than one of my beloved BICbands for fear I'd have to deal with branches in the face and at least the hat could shield my eyes a little. My hubby bought me a new pair of trail shoes a couple of weeks ago so I also got to break those in. It was muddy too since we'd recently had rain. Fun!!

This race is stagger start based on age/gender. There were 4 women in my age group and we started roughly 10-12 minutes after the first person. We started on the paved road and  headed up into the trail. The uphill start was tough but there was plenty of downhill (narrow downhill, I might add) to make up for the uphills. I stepped to the side as needed for the fast folks to pass me. I walked when I felt the need to walk and I ran fast when I could. My friend Lindsay and I piggy backed each other the whole race, talking and making sure we stayed on the very well marked course.

I'd check my Garmin once in a while just to see where we were. She'd check hers too and we would compare  notes. I noticed mine was a bit short on distance but every time I stepped to the side for someone to pass or walked my Garmin would auto pause. Starting back up it took a while for it to restart. So, the whole time Lindsay was about .60 mi ahead.

There was a water stop at the half way point. Our buddies were working the stop so we took a break to chat with them for a minute or two before heading out to finish up the race. I had carried my own water but they had a sports drink and I opted to take a small sip of that.

The first half of this race is on the expert trails and we knew the last half would be easier. We were thankful for that. It seemed like we were able to run much faster and walk less on the last half. It went by much faster than the first half. The funniest part was when I hit a root, caught myself and hit another root. Thankfully I caught myself again!

We kept wondering based on the difference in our Garmins when we would hit the end. Then we saw vehicles and heard cheering. We'd reached the end!

6.93 miles

This race was so much fun. It felt so good to not worry about time or pace. It was fun to talk to a friend and just enjoy our surroundings without the normal race day pressure. I'm already planning my next trail race! I was amazed at how well I felt afterwards. I was sore but it was such a different sore compared to how I feel after road racing.

Have you ever ran a trail race? Do you prefer that over road racing?


  1. Sounds like a fun race! I love to run in the woods! I'm training for a 50K trail race so I've been running on trails more lately. Fortunately, we have some (short) trails outside my back door!

  2. I love the trail. I sometimes tire of people whining about how come they can't wear ipods, or how it is so much harder than a road race...but honestly even though I am way slower on trail, I love how it is such a good workout and such a different feel than a road race. I never miss music out there.