Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My First Trail Run!

I did my first trail run on January 13!  It was the Kiwanis Honeymoon Island Adventure Run.  They had a 5K and a 5-mile run with a combined start.  Everyone ran the 5K and then those who had registered for the 5-mile continued on to the beach and back for a total of 5 miles. 
It was a beautiful but unseasonably warm morning (mid to upper 60s). 

I had run only 3.1 miles with my running partner Melisa three times in the last couple weeks so I wondered if I had the stamina to do a longer run.  I did.  J  My daughter and I drove to the park a week or so before the race to get an idea of the course but it wasn’t well marked on the map and we ran only about 4 minutes.  Unfamiliar territory is unfamiliar territory for me!  I like to know what to expect and I didn’t know what to expect going into this run except that it would be on trails.  I love woods and I’ve walked plenty of trails, but I didn’t know THIS trail.  Now I really wish I had been able to run it because I didn’t expect there to be loose sand on a portion of it. 

By a portion I mean about 1-1/4 miles.  :-O  And not on the beach, either!  The first mile was Florida soil (sand) with a covering of pine needles.  Nice. 

Except for the occasional pile of pine needles that could be slippery. 

Not bad though.  Gotta watch out for exposed roots.

I was at 11:something at the 1-mile marker.  11:something?!  I’m ahead of schedule!  I usually do a 13:something mile!  Mile 2 and a good portion of mile 3 were loose sand.  Ugh.  I ran on the edge as much as I could where there was vegetation and that helped some but not a lot.  I was tempted to walk but I didn’t! 

Some spots had nice green grass to run on.  Ahhhh! 

I got through that and the trail turned to muck and deep ruts.  This isn't a picture of the worst of the ruts.  That was on a part of the course I didn't take the time to get to afterward.  They were much worse than this, covered the entire road, and were very slippery.

It wasn’t really mud because we haven’t had rain in a while, but the ruts in the road still had enough moisture that there was slippery muck.  I ran on the edge there as much as possible too but sometimes had to run right through it.  
Mmmmmmmm…natural Florida!

As I was approaching the staging area

and the end of the 5K, I thought, “Okay, Michele, you can stop here if you want to.”  It wasn’t so much a temptation to stop as it was just a thought.  My response was, “Why would I stop now?”  The only part left was the beach portion.  I really enjoy running on the beach and haven’t done it in quite a while so I was looking forward to it.  Oh, somewhere in the first mile a lot of people started passing me.  I’m used to it and it doesn’t bother me.  Farther along, though, I couldn’t hear anyone behind me and I kept thinking I was the very last person.  I wasn’t happy about that, but someone has to be last and at least I was still running. 

I continued on to the beach with almost 2 miles left to go and lots of people were coming BACK from the beach.  Sigh.  Again, I’m not trying to win any of these races and I know lots of people are younger, faster, and fitter than I am.  I’m not competing against them but there’s still a tiny bit of a letdown when I actually SEE them being younger, faster, and fitter than I am.  Oh well.  Keep running.  I expected to have to run through loose sand to get to the packed sand at the beach.  I didn’t expect to have to run through rocks. 

Yes, rocks.  I also didn’t expect to have to run on such a slant. 

It was much more of a slant than I’ve run on at beaches before.  Oh well.  Keep running.  I was sure I was the last one now.  As I FINALLY approached the turn-around point I said to the volunteer, “I may be last, but at least I’m still running.”  She said, “You’re not last.”  After I turned I saw someone behind me.  Then another.  Then two more.  I counted 12 people on the last portion of the run who were behind me.  I wasn’t last!  I made it through all those rocks and gave the other side of my body a workout on the slant.  Almost to the finish line! 

I ran past the clock at 1:08:59,

which gave me a pace of 13:48 per mile.  That’s 30-45 seconds slower than I usually run, but I usually run on familiar flat roads, not unpredictable natural surfaces on an unfamiliar course.  I’m not disappointed at all.  I’m sore, but I’m not disappointed! 


  1. Great job! You inspire me to get out there and run (even if the much-older runners are passing me by!) Keep up the good work :)

    Mary Olsen

  2. Awesome! I hope I can do that well!! You're very inspiring...I've been googling trail runs to see what to expect since I signed up for one a few months ago. WEll, my trail run or race is this weekend!! I think I'll just do what you did...enjoy it, keep running, and take in as much scenery as I can. Thanks for sharing! :-) Happy running!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement! Let me know how your trail run goes.