I’ve decided to take on a new challenge…trail running! You would think that this would be a no-brainer, since I live in the desert, but there are things about trail running that have been holding me back.
- Fear of getting lost
- Fear of hurting myself
- Fear of not knowing what the hell I’m doing
All the pictures that people post of their trail running look so cool! We have some great trails here – also some challenging ones! I’ve been a road runner for 17 years, and I’m not sure if switching gears will be an easy transition. Experienced trail runners make it look so easy, but the fact is, it’s not!
I have signed up for not one but 2 trail races in the near future – including a Ragnar Relay! So I’m starting to sprinkle in some trail runs here and there to tip my toe in the water.
I ran my first trail run two years ago in Cave Creek, AZ. It was a beautiful setting. It was fairly steep, very dusty, lots of tree roots to look out for, and I fell twice (once while trying to take a picture and run at the same time!).
Then I ran the Lost Dutchman 8k trail run in Apache Junction AZ in the Superstitions last February and somehow took 2nd in my age group out of like 50 people! That was pretty and a fast course, I had fun.
My next challenge is the AZ Trail Series XTERRA 20K at Estrella mountain on October 4. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what I have gotten myself into on this one, but I hope it’s at least great scenery! 12 miles? Yikes. There are some other people I know doing it, so I hope it will be FUN and not too painful!
The next challenge after that is the Ragnar McDowell Mountain relay on Nov 6-7. I am terrified of the nighttime segments, what if I run into critters on the trail, or cactus? Or trip and fall and bust my head open? Praying my leg will be at dusk or dawn so that I can have a little more visibility than a headlamp. I know 2 of the girls on my team, but again, not exactly sure what I’m getting myself into here. Sometimes I jump into things head first and worry about it later. Some of the best things in life happen that way :)
I started running with @ZucchiniRunner (Corrine) – she’s a trail running pro and she ran the Ragnar McDowell race last year. We went out to South Mountain for a 3.5 mile run and I’ve gotta say, I really felt it in my lower back. I didn’t mind the elevation changes, and the scenery was great – but you really do need to focus so much more on where your feet are being planted and what’s in front of you – I feel like I can zone out so much more during road running.
On my second outing, I was more aware of my posture and was trying to make sure I wouldn’t have back issues again. We were treated to a nice sunrise and the terrain was varied enough you don't get bored. All of this beauty is about 10 minutes from my house!
I’d greatly appreciate any advice you have for a trail running newbie!
If you happen to be running the @aztrailrace XTERRA race at Estrella Mountain next month, we’ll be having a #runeattweetaz meetup at the race, stay tuned for details!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!