Friday, March 16, 2012

Trail Tales

Trail Running is whole different beast!

What gorgeous spring weather we've had this week! Absolutely A-Maz-Ing!!!!  My ultra-buddy sent me a few links that she found about trails up behind our houses.  Mostly, wildlife access (hunting) trails....but hey, you take what you can get.  We live on a hill and there is forest behind...you know, the kind that tucks in power lines and cell towers.  Whatever, apparantly it is loaded with trails and I got excited to check it out. Come join me as I run the slowest, hardest 5 miles of my life!

Scene of 1st walk
Nice wide trail...happy
Go Down
or Up
I started up the access road between our neighbourhood and the corporate campus.  It is a long, slow, steep hill.  I make it past the workmen tearing up some pipes in a ditch without embarrassing myself, but soon am forced to walk up the steepest couple hundred meters.  Ok, phew, made it! Must be smoothe sailing from here right?  Ha! I reach a spot with 2 water towers (11 years, never knew they were here) and see a wide trail behind.  It's the kind of trail I imagine ATV's tool around on. Nice soft leaves and not too much mud.  I start out running flat but it slowly turns downhill and then pops out at a small pond by a parking garage in the corporate park.  Ok, am oriented now.  I turn back up, end up walking just a minute or two as the half mile or so climb gets harder.  I see a cross trail.  This one is less groomed, muddier but still looks ok. I dig out my phone, and load the map program to see where I am and try it out.  I quickly scare a herd of deer.  Wasn't fast enough with the camera to catch them.  I took this for several minutes and it remained flat, then suddenly popped out in this giant swath of open space cut into the woods.  It's not the power line trail....no idea why it's here.  It looks like a long wide ski hill.  I'm not quite sure where I am so I find myself on the map again (gps is a wonderful invention). I quickly check out where the trail continues but within a few feet I realize I'm not really comfortable heading in there alone.  I'll wait until I'm with my ultra buddy to head into that smaller trail.  So the choice now is do I go up or down. It's hard to see in this picture, but apparently if you choose down, there is a lake you can get to. Had no idea it was there and where it actually is! As going down is away from home and commits me to climbing all the way back up, I choose up..which looks shorter & is, but is still a long-ass way.  Up is REALLY long and REALLY steep.  I am forced to walk again and have no shame telling you this.  It was really, really hard.  I got to the top, but it wasn't, so I jogged a small flat and then walked again to the real top.  I found a wide open field and several man made rock stacks/sculptures along the way.  It was slow going and I had to pull out the map app and find myself a few times.  This ended up a 20 minute mile. And seriously, I was a hot mess & breathing hard after only 2 or so miles!  I now am trying to find a specific trail to wind back toward my house and low and behold, the map is right and I find it! I hang a right onto another of the smaller ATV trails, but after a few hundred meters I see a single track trail.  I look a little closer and it has mountain bike treads in the dirt.  This is a good sign.  It is going relatively in the right direction, so I hang a left.  I was SO glad I did! This was the funnest part of my run! It snaked back and forth down the side of the hill for about a half mile before popping back out on the path I entered it on.  SO fun! I oriented my self once again and headed towards the power line trail and sent a picture text of our neighbourhood to my ultra buddy who is sitting frustrated at home with bronchitis :-(. Then it was back into the area I started, but on different cross trails. 
Part of the single track

I was a hot, sweaty, tired mess when I finished, but it was the most fun I've had in a long time! 

Clearly, this 50K I have signed up for is going to be a slow going affair.....my fastest mile was 12 minutes & my slowest was 20 minutes!  Now, I know I lost a lot of time having to stop and consult my map, but still....wow!

So, all you trail runners out there: Any suggestions, recommendations?

Are there apps that map with satellite views and show your current route overlaid as you go?  I used the regular map function to locate myself and then the wildlife management service map on safari at the same time.  having one that would show both at the same time would make life easier.
Sweet Lord, that it a long steep hill!

My neighbourhood :)
Woo Hoo! I am a speed DEMON ;-D
Shadow fun, Ha!

Happy Trails!

9 comments:

Coy Martinez said...

All the trail runs I've done have been IN RACES so I've never been out on my own. They have them well marked in a race, well, I wouldn't say marked but when you look down, there's really only one way to go! When I ran my first trail race I averaged about 13 min miles and it was hard as can be! I was disappointed with my time but trails are different. I've now got my times into the 11's. I always try and protect my legs so I don't know if I'll ever be able to just go all out and run like a banshee through the woods like the leaders! :) I have to say though, those races I look forward to! They're difficult but so much fun!

bobbi said...

That looks amazingly fun! And that's a helluva hill! I run on "trails" a lot, but it's all forest preserve crushed limestone paths - not like the ones you were running on. Still better than the streets, for sure...

abbi said...

Everyone I talk to just says to get out on the trails as much as possible to work on them. That's hard for me, I don't know a lot of the trails either and if I'm not with someone else, I'm not very adventurous. If I have someone to go with me it's easier!

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

I live near a wildlife preserve and they have a trail, but it's paved! So, I guess that can't be considered a trail, huh? I still wouldn't go in there alone. I'm freaked out running at the track by myself, let alone the woods! And I don't have any of that fancy-schmancy GPS crap! They'd never find my body!

Caroline said...

I have never ran on trails yet
this looks fun and hard
that hill is a killer!!!!
my problem is no buddy to come along and no trails near my house...

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

Wow that hill does look pretty killer, I love running trails, although I don't very often, maybe because most of the trails close to me are cow trails and they don't go in a strait line for very long. Looks like a pretty place to run!

Mike said...

Score on finding some trails so close by! I love running trails.

Patty White said...

That's a great run! There was a 500ft elevation change in a half mile distance. That's climbing a ladder!
I live next to a California reserve with lots of trails. I completely understood when you had to check your GPS to find out where you were.

Jamie said...

I've only done trail running once and it did a number on me! (This was at the beginning of our running career though).

My husband and I are signed up for a duathlon where the running portion is on trails so we bought trail shoes and are going to be hitting the trails sometime soon! We'll see how it goes!