I've been making a big effort to step out of my comfort zone more often lately (see swimming 1.2 miles in open water) and I have to say it just about always turns out well.
Yesterday in a continued effort I headed out to meet a friend from the tri club who puts together weekly trail runs. I've never been much of a trail runner but I do it here and there and always have a good time. I was really nervous since the woman who puts it together is a big time trail runner and I knew her friends were the same way so I recruited my sister to come with so I'd at least have someone to bring up the rear with. Everyone was really nice which I expected although for some reason always doubt and we headed out as a group. The 2 guys shot out of a canon and we didn't see them again until the end but the other 2 ladies (and dog!) hung with us and said they'd go as slow as we needed. Most of the trail was single track so we ran single file with the 2 vets getting some distance between us but always stopping at the tops of climbs or if the trail split and calling out to us which way to go. It was a 5 mile point to point route and the boys would wait on the other side to drive us back to our cars. I was having a really good time and running faster than I ever have on trails. I guess I got a little cocky because right after mile 4 I took my first tumble!
I'm a pretty sure-footed person so I really don't trip or fall very often. Even as a kid I managed to stay upright pretty well so falling is always a little bizarre. Not sure what I tripped over but I fell kind of in slow motion and actually remember thinking "Don't fall on a joint!" I don't think I screamed or anything (or my sister is just a jerk) because she kept running for a bit before she realized I was down. I got myself back up and wasn't feeling too much pain and didn't see any blood so we soldiered on. I walked for a little while just to make sure I was ok and then went back to running. I made impact on the outside of my knee and scraped a sizable section underneath it but really nothing serious. We came out of the trail and everyone was waiting for us just like they said. One of the guys immediately said "Oh no! Looks like someone took a spill!" The woman who organizes the run rushed over to me to make sure I was ok and that falling didn't ruin my experience. It was actually pretty funny, especially since it didn't hurt too much and also because my sister is the one who usually falls so I'd spent a lot of the run telling her to watch out and be careful. I had a lot of fun out there and will definitely be going out again. It was fun to switch up the monotony of road running and train some new muscles. I think it'll be a nice strategy to help keep me injury free through this training cycle...unless I keep falling down.
For anyone local who is thinking about giving trail running a try, come on out! I averaged a 15 min/mile over the 5 miles and walked the rocky/rough spots (except for the time I fell) so don't think you have to be super fast to come with us. Plus the other runners and mountain bikers on the trails are super nice and fun and I actually find them to be a little more pleasant than their road counterparts. We meet at Seneca Park near the bathrooms at 5:30 on Thursday nights. Hope to see you soon!