Column: Twelve in 2012I had to do some research for race No. 5 since I had never done a trail run before last weekend.
By: Carolyn Bray, The Republican Eagle
I had to do some research for race No. 5 since I had never done a trail run before last weekend.
I signed up to run the Gilmore Gallop 5K Fun Run/Walk at St. Mary’s University as part of my 15-year college reunion weekend. The race was free — which I’m positive will be my only free race all year — and the bluffs around campus are known for their beautiful trails.
As soon as I signed up, I started doing the research. I went online and searched “trail running vs. road running” which led me to several helpful articles. I also asked around to people I knew had more running experience than I did.
The research paid off because I learned a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t have thought of on my own. Here are some of the main things that helped with my trail run:
• Wear trail shoes instead of running shoes. Even though the extra grip made me trip on carpet several times when I was indoors, it paid off greatly on the trail.
• Wear socks that will handle the wet ground. The temperature was in the 80s but the trees keep the dew on the ground well past the 8:30 a.m. race start time. My shoes were soaked by the end of the race but my socks had kept my feet dry.
• Use tape as extra support on your ankles. The surface was definitely uneven and a little unpredictable. There were tree roots, rocks, tall grasses and gravel spots to conquer.
• Make sure you pick up your feet. This may sound like a silly comment but it proved to be the most helpful comment I remembered during my race. I run fairly slowly and at times can kind of ‘shuffle’ along, which is easy to do on a hard surface. But I learned quickly that on trail runs you need to really pick up your feet and watch carefully where you place them.
I finished the race in 36:25. I reached the 1-mile mark by 10:10 and the 2-mile mark by 22:38. I stopped to walk twice on the course — there was a fairly short but steep gravel hill that I decided to walk up and down for fear of falling or re-injuring my calf, and I also walked through the water stop at the 2-mile mark (I still can’t run and drink out of a cup at the same time).
The race was enjoyable. The scenery was so different that it really made the time go by quickly. On a surprising note, the heavily wooded areas made for a strong mosquito population, which turned into a positive for me because I knew if I had stopped to walk I would have been eaten alive. I think I actually ran faster through that area.
My only real complaint was that I was definitely more sore than normal on Sunday and Monday. My calves were extremely tight and I was sore in my hips and butt, too. I guess the uneven surface engages more muscles than a flat road run.
And, while it was a great experience, I’m headed back to ‘shufflin’ along with race No. 6 — the Red Wing Fourth of July Road Race at Bay Point Park.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or race suggestions.