Confessions of a Trail Running Beginner

So I need to reinvent my running self. I spent most of the summer in CrossFit aiming to sculpt abs for no particular reason besides the fact that training with other people in 100-degree weather kind of appeals to me (I know. Slightly crazy). I didn’t run much mainly because of the “it’s too hot” excuse.

Then I arrived in Colorado and discovered that there is this thing called trail running. Initially, I assumed trail running was just running on packed dirt paths in a dimly lit forest mountain where photographers snap photos for their nature magazines and backdrops to other artistic endeavors. I was right about the photo ops, but trail running might as well be called hardcore-obstacle-running because the simplistic word trail has nothing to do with the running that is done in the mountains or forest areas.

Or maybe it just describes whatever I do with my exercise

This sight greeted me at the top of Red Mountain.

hours in the mountains. First, even I, the former high schooler who received the worst scores on photography assignments in journalism class, have taken several award winning shots without much skill. Point and Shoot are the only skills you need even if you can’t clearly see what you’re taking a picture of because the sun’s rays are all up in your eye vision. I am not sure I could ever get tired of looking at the grandeur of the mountain scene–the trees, rocks, dips, curves, gurgling brooks, and the angle of the rain as it falls. I have yet to see the snow, but it is guaranteed to be a masterpiece! I cannot even begin to provide the precise vocabulary to describe the landscape. Majestic–a world that had to be manipulated by a Powerful Designer. Seriously, 30% of my time is spent gawking at the beauty of it all, and stopping to take hurried pictures.

The other 50% of my time is a battle of Girl vs. Nature, which I totally lose. While nature is beautiful, it is also quite humbling to run in it. I know it is science and all, but why can’t air distribution be equal everywhere? Why don’t I have bigger lungs
for the altitude? Eventually, I need to stop the habit of walking up hills, but for now it’s convenient as my lungs scream for oxygen that is extremely lacking above 5,000 ft!

However, not only is the paper thin air my enemy, but every path is not dirt. It is tree branches and roots, rocks, thorny bushes,  and mud mixed with the dung of multiple animals. I gracefully stagger through it all. . .

I had a Sound of Music moment right here.

Until there is the water predicament. Occasionally, there is the little pond or stream, or marsh that is ankle deep.  For thirty seconds, I plot out my way.

A) Cautiously creep across the slick, mossed cover rocks and branches.

B) Take great leaps across the water to get over it as quickly as possible

C) Gingerly  walk through the water getting my shoes thoroughly soaked but reducing the chances of getting wet

I decide on option A. which turns into option B and then turns into option C. My Nike shoes absorb the water like a sponge. I squeak, squirk, decreasing my potential of animal sitings. It is a plus or negative depending on your viewpoint.

After taking nature selfies and fighting border line collapsing, running plays only a small part of the experience. So I am reinventing my running self. Well, it might be just an excuse to purchase more running shoes again. I went to a local running store and the sales rep said the latest Saucony trail running shoes are the best for my funny way of running. Plus, they have better grip for all types of terrain. I also figured maybe I should purchase trail running socks to protect my legs, and I do need a new bottle since my other leaked so much. . .

Yeah, maybe it is not really reinventing myself. I just need to train more and buy a few running toys!

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