5 Reasons To Fall In Love With Trail Running

It’s no secret to most of you that I have fallen in love with trail running. I have been running (roads) for 12+ years now and really have had no interest or desire to attempt trail running. I’ve always enjoyed walking and hiking in the woods, but the idea of running just sounded like a terrible idea ….you know, twisted ankles, banged up knees and elbows or even worse, a broken bone. So how does one get from fear of trails to love of trails? Well, it’s quite simple my dear running friends …you just take a deep breath, step outside of your comfort zone, lace up your running shoes (be sure to double knot them) and hit the trails. Just like anything else in life, running trails are not for everyone …but how would you know unless you give it a try? Reasons to Fall in Love with

5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Trail Running:

 

1. For the Love of Nature

Most runners love the great outdoors and would rather run in the rain than to have to crank out their miles on a treadmill. They love to feel the wind in their face and even better when it’s at their back! They enjoy running in parks, alongside rivers and lakes. Imagine all the things you love about running outside, multiply that times ten and that is what you get with trail running. It is literally an assault on the senses. You don’t just see trees nearby, you are running among them. You can reach out and touch them as the trail twists and turns all around them. The sounds of birds chirping, owls hooting and squirrels chattering are all around you and occasionally you may even hear a tree fall in the distance. The smell of fresh pine trees, dirt and mud only adds to the experience and helps to cover the smell of sweat permeating from your body. It truly it the most peaceful of running experiences.

2. For the Love and Fear of all Creatures …Big and Small

Sure, one can see creatures while road running, but your chances are much greater on the trails. There is just something so satisfying about seeing a couple of deer grazing nearby then disappearing into the brush as quickly as you spotted them or catching a glimpse of a sly red fox lurking in the distance and cute little bunny rabbits hopping through the woods. Of course, there are frightening creatures as well ….snakes, spiders, swarms of yellow jackets, but trust me when I say, this only adds to the excitement of trail running!

3. For the Love of Slower Paces and Walk Breaks

It’s a fact of trail running ….your pace will be slower than normal. Yes, there will always be faster trail runners than you, but I guarantee that even their fast trail running pace is slower than their road running pace. So, if you are like me and have found your pace slowing down to a snail’s pace as you’ve reached the golden years, you will be in good company out on the trails. There are plenty of fellow snail paced runners out there (as well as actual snails) who could care less about speed, pace, finish times, PR’s or even if their Garmin marks their miles accurately. They are usually more interested in when and where the next hill is so they can take a walk break. Yes, it’s true.  I know it’s hard for most road runners to comprehend since most of us, if we’re  honest, see walk breaks as a weakness. Trail runners embrace them and use them as a means to an end ….they are what allows them to complete 50k’s, 50 and even 100 mile races. One fellow ultra runner told me that, in his opinion, once you have reached the point of exhaustion, it actually takes more discipline, determination and mental strength to get your body to start running again after a walk break than it does to run without stopping. And we all know that long distance running is more about mental strength than physical.

4. For the Love of Strong Legs, Feet and Core

Honestly, I have been in complete shock at how much stronger my ankles and feet have become since I started trail running. While there are many benefits to running on all different types of trails, I am mostly referring to technical and single track trails as opposed to the wider, hard packed gravel trails. Your core muscles, glutes, quads,  hamstrings, ankles and even the tiniest of tendons in your feet are all 100% engaged when you are running with side to side steps, dodging tree roots and holes, hopping over creeks and fallen trees and trying to stay upright while running through mud. You will work muscles and tendons you never knew existed and they will get strong and hopefully prevent future running related injuries ….hopefully.

5. For the Love of Beer and all things Sweet and Salty

Well duh! Don’t all runners enjoy a nice cold one after a long hot run? However, I must say that I have been amused at how much of the conversation while out on the trails has been about beer and several runners even bring a cooler filled with their favorites (always enough to share) for post-run refueling. In addition, the snacks brought to the picnic table every Saturday morning where we gather have been surprising to this GU eating road runner. Everything from chips, cookies, angel food cake, caramel flavored pretzels and boiled peanuts to the healthier, grapes and orange sections. I must confess that I am beginning to ‘drink the kool-aid’ so to speak. Last weeks ice-cold coca-cola and boiled peanuts really hit the spot after a hot and humid 11 miles!

Bonus: For the Love of Calories Burned

I honestly do not know how this can be proved scientifically, but according to everything I’ve read, trail running burns more calories per mile than road running even at a slower pace and taking walk breaks. That’s a win, win in my book …extra calories burned means more wine calories! Priorities people, priorities.

 

So, have I convinced you to trade in your racing flats for a pair of trail shoes? Or at least piqued your curiosity? Any trail runners out there care to share what they love about the trails?

I’m linking up with Rachel, Lacey and Meranda for the Friday Five. Be sure to stop by and see what running related topics the others are talking about!Five Reasons I Love Blogging | Friday Five 2.0 | Running on Happy

xoxo,

 

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one trail run at a time!

 

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Lessons Learned from a Downhill Marathon

A few weeks ago, I completed my second full marathon ….Revel Rockies, a downhill marathon just outside of Denver Colorado. They don’t call Denver the ‘mile high’ city for nothing. It sits at an elevation of 5,280 ft above sea level which is exactly 5,000 ft above where I live and train. To add to the challenge, the race started even higher, at 10,500 ft with a net drop of 4,708 ft. 3,000 of that being in the first half of the race.

Now that I’ve recovered and can finally take the stairs at work again without using profanity, I can look back on that 26.2 mile trek down that incredibly beautiful mountain with objectivity and ponder the lessons learned …because I believe there are lessons to be learned in every mile we run.

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My First Marathon: Alis Volat Propriis

After 21 weeks of training and exactly 26 days from my 51st birthday, I ran 26.2 miles and crossed the finish line of my very first marathon. It’s been a truly amazing journey. A journey that I had put off for so many years, for so many reasons. Reasons such as …my body won’t let me run that far, I’m too old for a marathon, it will take me too long, the training is too time consuming and even lying to myself and others when I would say that I truly had no desire to ever run a full.

While I truly believed these reasons excuses and they certainly have some validity, what they all boiled down to was fear. Fear of failure. Of course, I didn’t want to admit that to myself or to anyone else but that is exactly what it was. It was so much easier to wrap my fears in excuses than to face them and that is exactly what I was doing  …that is until January 27, 2018, when I stood at the starting line in the rain with an iffy foot and two black toenails as a reminder of the miles and miles of training leading up to this moment. This was it, I was about to embark on a new journey …a journey which would consist of 26.2 miles of determination, joy, discomfort, soul-searching, pain, pride, human will and ultimately a satisfaction and sense of accomplishment like nothing I’ve ever experienced.Mississippi Blues Continue reading

Marathon Anticipations

In some ways it’s been a long 20 weeks, yet it also seems to have flown by. My journey to my first 26.2 is coming to a close and the only thing left to do is weather stalk, rest, hydrate and daydream about that finish line. I shared with you all last week all of my worries and concerns, so I thought it only fitting that this week I share with you the things I am most looking forward to with this, my first and most likely my only, marathon.

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Marathon Woes: What if?

In less than 24 hours, I will be exactly one week away from lining up at the starting line of my first full marathon. I’m anxious, excited and yes …afraid. Okay, afraid may be too harsh ….it’s more like worried. Yes, I’m worried.

I will readily confess that, by nature, I tend to be a worrier. Just ask Major Hubs. There’s a running joke between us in that every time I say something like …’but what if  _______  happens’, he always responds with ‘yeah, and a meteor could fall out of the sky and hit {you/me/or whoever else I may be worrying about at the time}. Are you going to worry about that too?’ Hmmmm ….It’s quite possible. www.findingfabulousatfifty.wordpress.com Continue reading

2017 ’twas a Blinging Good Year!

While the year began in a bit of a slump due to a nagging irritable ankle which followed me into the new year, I’d most definitely say the best was saved for last!

What I found to be most interesting looking back on the past year is that this is the first year since I began running (12 years ago) to not participate in a 5k. Crazy, huh? ….apparently I was so busy with two moves, four half marathons and hundreds of miles of cycling to even notice. However, despite the lack of 5k’s, the year was filled with meeting new friends, accomplishing new goals and spending countless Saturday mornings getting the miles in with my favorite running partner, Major Hubs ..what more can one ask for!

2017

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Fall Races: What’s on the LadyBird’s Schedule?

Ahhhh, the sights, sounds and scents of Fall …who doesn’t love this season? The sound of a crackling fire, the sweet sugary taste of candy corn, the beautiful colors of leaves floating to the ground, the sound of leaves crunching under foot and the crispness that fills the air ….these are just a few of my favorite things about Fall. I also love that with the arrival of Fall, it usually brings with it cooler temperatures and less humidity which in turn drives most runners to start signing up for every race they can possibly fit into their schedules. Am I right?

Today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is all about Fall Races, so let’s see where I’ll be running over the next few months. Where will your running shoes take you this Fall?Fall

Those who follow me know that I’ve bitten the proverbial bullet and decided to attempt my first full marathon. With that in mind and now on the schedule, I have a few races in mind between now and then that, hopefully, will make for good training runs. Continue reading