Friday, April 26, 2013

The Hazards of Trail Running

Distance: 3.52
Time: 55:27
Number of falls: 1
Number of ankle turns: 1
Number of confused moments trying to find the trail: 6-8
After spending Wednesday evening riding our trainers while watching the Detroit Tigers game, we were ready to get outside again Thursday. As it turned out, the weather began cooperating just in time for our run, and it was a sunny, fairly warm evening.
We decided to hit the Lake Lansing Park North trails again and unfortunately, I took this quite literally. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am making an effort to improve my speed. I was trying to run faster and it was working. But as much as I love trail running, there are drawbacks to being out in the woods. These drawbacks are called roots. If I'm on my mountain bike I don't worry about them too much—I just roll over them. While running I have to try a lot harder to watch out for them, and this time I wasn't paying close enough attention. I felt my foot plow into one of those pesky roots and the next thing I knew I was sailing through the air.
When I landed, my first thought was for Maddy. I lost my grip on her leash when I fell and she kept running for a minute until she realized what happened. I always freak out a little because she isn't trained to be off leash outside and she's gotten away from me more than once. Luckily this time she must have been concerned for my welfare because she ran right back to me.
Later in the run, I stepped on another root which was hiding under some leaves, turned my ankle and then stumbled a bit. I had a momentary fear that I may have sprained an ankle, but then I realized it didn't hurt that much so it must be a false alarm.
We ran the "blue" loop this time, which is supposed to be 3.8 miles. At the end of the route the trail opens up into a clearing with a playground. At this point I've always just walked through the playground back to my car, not realizing that this wasn't technically the end of the trail. When looking at my Garmin I realized we had only gone a little over 3 miles, so we started looking around for a continuation of the trail. We found one, but it crossed multiple parking lots and big open fields. Each time we crossed one of these, we had to search for another trail sign. Finally, when we had gone about 3.5 miles, the trail ended abruptly at a big brush pile. We ended up doubling back and walking through another field to get to the parking lot. Then we went home to tend to my wounds.
Even with all the hazards, it was still a great run. And during the time I was actually running, I was making good time. Unfortunately, the fall and the walking around confused at the end made for a much slower time than I should have had.

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