Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Well That Was Tough

On Sunday I completed my 28th half marathon and this one was definitely a challenge. It was called the Mud and Chocolate Trail Run which included a 4.5 mile & 1/2 marathon trail run. I knew it was going to be 3 loops and there were going to be trails, but I was not fully aware (or did not want to admit to myself) that the whole run was on a trail. Here was the low down.

Trail running is a completely different beast from street running. The path is narrow, it is much harder to pass people (in the beginning), you use completely different muscles on trails than you do on concrete, you have to pay attention to where you are going, and finally, you have to pay attention to where your feet are being placed.

The first loop of this race, I felt like I was stuck behind people who were going at a different pace than I would have liked to run, but by the second loop, I was all by myself on the path for the majority of the time. I didn't realize how much I need the energy of other people while I am running. I would get a burst of energy when someone would pass me or when I caught up to someone else. I think the hardest part of this race was having to be mentally on the entire time. I almost rolled my ankle a couple of times and you can't zone out in the end (which I like to do) because you have to make sure you don't trip. To top it off, since I didn't train on trails, my hip flexors were screaming at me around mile 6 because I was lifting my legs higher than I normally do to avoid branches and rocks.

I sound like I am complaining. I am not, I was just not as prepared as I should have been. Luckily my running experience got me through, but I highly suggest training on dirt and trails before completing this endeavor. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. This was definitely a new challenge and I must admit I felt pretty hardcore.

The end of the race was sweet…Literally. I ended with a chocolate medal and a buffet of chocolate goodies.
And this race definitely lived up to its name…Mud and Chocolate
My chocolate medal, chocolate cupcake and muddy legs
I don't think I will be participating in another half marathon trail run anytime soon, but I can see myself running in shorter distances of 6 miles or less.

On Tuesday I was rewarded with an amazing 2 hour massage. The massage was a 30th birthday present, but it was definitely needed after this race. I felt sore in muscles I have never felt before.

So do as I say and not as I do, and if you are planning on running a "normal" road race, train mostly on concrete. If you are planning on running a trail run, train mostly on dirt. It is important to "teach" our body's tissue to work on what ever surface it needs to work on. That being said, if you think you have bad knees, don't run mostly on the grass and dirt and then complete a long race on concrete, your body will not be trained to work on that surface. And vice versa, running on concrete did not harden my joints and muscles up for this trail run, I was probably less stable because my muscles were not use to stabilizing me on such uneven/unsteady ground. I would have benefitted from running on more uneven surfaces before this race and then I might not have been as sore as I was.

Has anyone completed a challenge that they were not prepared for?

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