Try New Things Tuesday

Try New Things Tuesday: Trail Running!

Hi everyone!  I’m super excited about today’s post, mostly because it’s a post I never thought I would write.  See, I’m a total klutz 90% of the time.  I trip over the floor, fall up stairs, and have turned my ankle more times than I ever want to admit.  Plus, I’ve been to the emergency room tons of times for totally ridiculous reasons (one time I choked on a carrot and then it got stuck in my throat, causing me to have a coworker drive me to a hospital in Philly where they had to stick a camera through my nose to look down my throat.  Not fun.).  So while I do enjoy doing things that have a bit of danger and excitement to them, I do tend to stay away from activities that will most likely injure me.  Until Sunday, when I decided that now that I live in Alaska I need to start trail running! trynewthingstuesday This week I am proud to announce that I tried trail running!  The circumstances that put me in the mood to trail run were pretty crazy.  Basically, my new job has been stressing me out beyond belief.  I only work 4 days a week now (but they’re 10 hour days) and each day I come home mentally drained, stressed, and embarrassed about all the stupid mistakes I make at work all day long.  Starting a new job is not fun at all, and I’m hoping I can get better at it soon!  So after 4 days of stress and embarrassment I was in the mood to run somewhere new and secluded.  I love my waterfront runs but today I wasn’t in the mood to see coworkers or tourists walking along the trail.  So I headed off towards Two Lakes Park, a quiet park located behind the Avtec building on 2nd Ave. IMG_0900 I didn’t really know what to expect, but I’d seen a few pictures of the park online and figured that the trail was going to be easy to run.  Um, no.  I was immediately greeted with large tree roots and rocks on the trail. 20140527-041830.jpg While this trail would have certainly been fun and easy for me to walk on, running was a totally different story.  I have zero experience with running on trails so this was a big shock to me.  I felt like I was doing some kind of spastic jerky hiking – I would run, then stop to jump over some roots, then jerk to the right to avoid more roots, then tiptoe down a steep section of loose dirt.  I looked ridiculous!  At first I didn’t have many good lake views, and I was really annoyed by the terrain and nervous that I was going to wipe out and no one would ever find me.  Plus I wasn’t able to look around much since I was too afraid to look up from the ground, and I was terrified I was going to run into another moose with way less warning!  As the trail started going downhill I could see lake #2 and the small trail that led around it.  When I came around the corner I saw this view! IMG_0907 The lake was beautiful and I was so glad that I had decided to do this run.  I’d only seen 1 other person on the trail, and being out there alone was just what I needed to make myself feel better.  As I took off down the trail on the other side of the lake, I started to relax and fall into a good rhythm.  Then I noticed that there was a parking lot on this side of the lake – and a nice gravel road to run on!  Score!

IMG_0911A creek running through the gravel road

I also got to jump across a creek and check out a pretty waterfall. IMG_0910 Once I got back on the trail again, I realized that this side was much flatter and prettier than the other side.  I loved how quiet the woods were over here and how green everything was! 20140527-041759.jpg I finally got back to lake #1, but I was on the other side of it from where I started! 20140527-041810.jpg I realized that the main trail had branched off in 2 directions close to the beginning and if I would have gone left instead of right I would have been able to start on this side.  Even with my rough start, I reallized that I was actually really enjoying myself and that the second half of the trail had been really fun and easy.  So I decided to run it again to get back to the start! 20140527-041820.jpg Once I got back to the beginning I noticed another trail that boasted more waterfall views.  There was a trail that went all the way up the waterfall, but I was really not feeling that!

20140527-041840.jpgThis waterfall was covered in old knocked down trees, but was still really pretty!

At this point I’d only run 2.5 miles total – the trail was only about 1 mile from start to finish – and I wasn’t really feeling like I wanted to go back home yet.  As I ran down to 2nd Ave. again I thought to myself “Why don’t I just do my 6 miler today instead of tomorrow?”.  So I did!  I finished my last 3.5 miles on roads and the waterfront trail, and while I started to get tired at the end I felt pretty good overall.  Lately I’ve been getting side stitches almost every time I run but I didn’t get that on Sunday.  I felt almost back to normal, and I was really excited that I was able to randomly decide to do 6 miles and actually get through it!  Plus I saw sea otters on the waterfront trail, so that’s a win!   So what do I think about trail running?  Right now I give it a 3 out of 5! What I liked:

  • It was much more secluded than my normal running routes.  I saw maybe 3 people total on the trail!  That was just what I was looking for and I was glad to know that this park exists for whenever I’m feeling the need to get away from everything!
  • The views were really pretty and were something I could never see during a normal run.
  • It was a unique challenge that made me look at running differently.
  • I was able to combine my two loves – running and hiking!
  • I felt like a much more hardcore runner running along that trail vs running along the sidewalk
  • The day after running I felt like it used muscles that I don’t usually use during running

What I didn’t like:

  • I felt like I was going to trip the entire time.  Roots are not my friend when I’m walking, so running over them made me nervous!
  • There was much more elevation change with trail running.  Hills are something I am constantly working on, but I definitely need more practice if I’m going to trail run on a real trail!
  • I was so distracted trying not to trip that I was unable to check for moose and bears.  I feel like I need a non-distratcting trail so that I can pay attention to other things while running
  • I felt stupid jerking and swerving all over the trails!  Hopefully that will improve with practice?
  • I didn’t feel like I could get into the running zone for a while – that is something I love about running so I feel like this was missing the best aspects of running!
  • I ran MUCH slower than usual – one of my miles was 3 minutes slower than my usual mile pace!  I know it’s because I’m spending so much time jumping over things and trying to safely get downhill, but it was kind of depressing seeing that slow number when all I want to do is run faster!

I think this is one of those things that you need to ease yourself into and will appreciate once you’ve gotten more experience with it.  I am really glad that I hadn’t seen the trail before running it because I would have talked myself out of it for sure.  Sometimes trying new things when you’re in a terrible mood is just what you need to feel better though!  I will definitely run there again and will update you on if I improve or not!

Have you ever been trail running?  Would you ever try this?  How do you feel about running in the woods?

17 thoughts on “Try New Things Tuesday: Trail Running!

  1. I love trail running! I feel like for me I always run faster, because instead of focusing on my distance and pace I’m focusing on staying on my own two feet 🙂 The miles seem to pass a lot quicker!

  2. I tried trail running for the first time on sunday! I haven’t had time to get a post up about it yet, hopefully in the next couple days. I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought.

  3. Ahhh all your pictures are sooo beautiful! I’ve never tried trail running (I am pretty cautious when it comes to uneven surfaces – and prone to tripping), but I should give it a shot one day.

    1. Hey I totally understand! I’m the exact same way. I’m pretty sure this time was just a fluke and I’m going to break my ankle next time or something. Hopefully we can both get into it though!

  4. It looks like you had an AWESOME time! I might just have to try trail running one of these days – Paris doesn’t have that many places to check out, but I’ve no doubt I’ll take a trip into the countryside soon enough 🙂

  5. One of the best things about trail running is that it works other muscles that you usually won’t with a pavement run.
    You’re very lucky to have such a gorgeous trail head near you to run through. Trails are scarce in my part of Florida. And we have to watch out for snakes and alligators instead of moose and bears.

    1. Ugh snakes and alligators sound terrifying! I ran at night in Florida once and I was terrified a gator was going to get me! At least they move slower than bears, right?

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