Fact: Trail running ain’t easy.
It is NOT for the weak.
Or the squeamish.
Or the insectophobic.
Or the whatever the word for “fear of turtles” is. (Note: It’s chelonaphobia. And yes. I am a dork.)
Seeing as how my next big adventure is a 50k in Vermont, a state NOT known for being Flat as a Pancake, I decided that I needed to really put some time in the woods, trail running. 31 miles on trails is an awful lot different than 26.2 miles on the road. And I’m nervous about it.
By the way, if you are training for a Fall Marathon or Ultra and are looking for bloggers doing the same, my buddy Salt @ Run Salt Run has put together this awesome list of bloggers who are training for their Next Big Thing. Check out The Fall Training Run Blogger Directory here. Maybe someone out there is running the same thing as you or has developed a fear of turtles or is also figuring out how to conceal a black toenail (Opi’s Lincoln Park After Dark. Trust me.) Check It out. And Salt. She Rocks!
So back to Saturday. I ran. For 2 hours. Solo. In the woods. It was the morning after a day of TORRENTIAL downpours. And it was warm. Like Steamy. Super steamy. And super green. Like neon. I should also add and it was insanely peaceful. And I loved it. The good thing about all that rain was that the trail really stood out. I didn’t get lost once. That in and of itself is EPIC. I was considering leaving a trail of shot blocks behind me, but quickly realized they would be eaten by wildlife the moment I tossed ’em. The bad thing about all that rain is that it brought out a plethora of woodland critters, crawly critters, sting-y critters, turtles, snakes, butterflies…you name it. The trails were ALIVE up in here. It was a party! And I loved being a guest.
I will say that there is a definite learning curve trail running. Here are a few of the lessons I learned this weekend:
1. Tie your goddamn laces LIKE YOU MEAN IT. Loose laces mean loose shoes which mean loose ankles will roll whilst navigating technical terrain. I learned that one 0.5 miles in. I’m quick like that.
2. Snapping Turtles are ANGRY. Do NOT tangle with a snapping turtle. Ever. Especially one laying her eggs. She will cut you. And hiss.
3. You will fall. Get used to it. Roots, rocks, sticks. They’re all out to get you. I’m the Queen of Falling. And have the facial scars to prove it. Get Rrrrready to Tumbbbbble!!!
4. Deer WILL scare the shit out of you. You will mistake them for a Mass Murderer and let out a scream. The scream will startle them and they will dash off leaving a heap of Deer Ticks in their wake. Schedule a Lyme Disease titer. STAT.
5. Do not stop for a selfie. You will wind up with Malaria, Dengue Fever, West Nile Virus or some other as yet to be named, mosquito born illness. Besides, you need every red blood cell in your body. Or an oxygen tank. This shit is tough.
6. Double check that all pockets containing iPhones, Sports Beans and car keys are ZIPPED UP. Shit can AND WILL bounce right on out. Then you’ll wind up freaking out in the woods, back tracking and running into a dangling inch worm who will peek over the rim of your cap, a millimeter from you eye, and wave all 50 of its hands at you.
I also learned that you can throw your road running pace out the goddamn window. You run a lot slower on trails. I guess I’d better get used to those Angry Turtles. We’re gonna be spending an awful lot of time together.
Road running or Trail running? What’s more annoying: gnats, mosquitoes or snapping turtles?