Sunday, January 18, 2015

Trail Running away from Trouble?

First, before I tell you about anything, you have to watch this.  Seriously.  If it doesn't motivate you, ask someone to get at you with a defibrillator.

Favorite tagline:  I kick balls. (I wish I played soccer so I could actually use this.)

I love that this video shows women of all ages, shapes, and abilities doing what we do: working hard and sweating a LOT.  Women who work out are all beautiful--'nuff said.

Speaking of working out. . .I have been taking advantage of my off-season running to try new things; specifically, I've been doing some trail running.  If you know me, you probably fell off your chair (or whatever you're sitting on) because you know that I gripe about trail running.  As a matter of fact, check out this post, which addresses what I hate about trail running.  Winter is a good time for me to shake up my routine, so when Jennifer and Renee invited me to go trail running during my last two long-run Sundays, I thought, "What the heck?"

Trail running is an excellent way to strenghten your ankles, feet, legs, and core.  It is also great for practicing mindfulness, which is definitely something I need to develop.  I like to put in the earbuds and zone out, and if I forgo my music, it's because I plan to have lots of conversation with my peeps.  Trail running doesn't rule out conversation, but you can't zone out while you're doing it, or it's a good way to fall and hurt yourself.

The first trail run I'll write about is from two weeks ago.  Jen and Renee invited me to do parts of the Buckeye Trail combined with the Towpath in Peninsula.  We planned to do at least five miles and then see how we felt afterwards.  I really enjoyed this trail because the weather was gorgeous, and the trail offered a little bit of everything.  Renee and Carrie left us at the five mile mark, and then Jen took me on another part of the trail (I have no idea where I was--seriously, she could have left me there, and I would have starved to death.) for three more miles.  During this run, I told myself to relax and enjoy.  I have not yet started any speed work for the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon, so I don't have to "expect" anything out of my run.  I also made sure to reward myself for trying something new:

3 kinds of mussels.  Yummy!

I don't know the name of the actual trail for the second trail run; it starts from the Covered Bridge on Everett Rd., and it is the course for the Bills' Badass 50k.  The plan was to do two loops of five miles each.  During mile two (about 40 minutes into our "run") I decided that I was NOT going to do two loops.  Geez.  I don't know how runners do six loops of this!  We actually followed deer tracks because nobody had been around there for days.  I was grateful that the stream we had to cross was frozen.  There were some pops and cracks when I crossed, but I made it without falling in.

The Covered Bridge on Everett Rd.

This is where we start getting into uncharted territory.

Jen and Renee were very nice about it, complimenting me on getting through one loop without my normal bitching and moaning.  I'm sure they were grateful that I didn't go on with them.  Instead of another loop in the woods, I finished out my long run by doing three speedy miles on the roads with Shelby and Elizabeth.  It was an excellent way for me to get two different kinds of workouts in on the same day.  And the company for both runs was fabulous, of course.

Reward for trail run #2:

Apple Tart-Fine with Sea-Salt Caramel Gelato
Are you sensing I have food issues?

Today I ran the lake loop in Munroe Falls Park.  I chose the park because I thought it would be best to be off the roads when there is ice around.  Loops are good because I don't have to carry anything.

This is the lake I circled eight times.

One nice surprise was that I saw Bob at the lake as I was leaving.  Do you remember Bob?  I ran with him one hot day in Sand Run Park.

I'm not going to show you my food-reward today because we are going OUT to get it!  I'm so excited; we are going to Bar Cento tonight for dinner.  I love eating out in Cleveland, and Ohio City is such a great neighborhood.

I'll leave you with this:
This is the new, trail-running Stephani.  I'm not going to claim she is improved.

Happy Trails, Peeps!  Keep up your training, and let me know if we are running together at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon!

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