Yesterday I participated in the Paris Mountain 11K Trail Run. I had never run a trail before, but it sounded like fun. My husband signed up, my BFF, and several people from the gym I go to. I have thought trail running sounded like a nice change from pounding pavement, so I wanted to give it a try.
The race started out running the first half mile on pavement, to sort of "thin out" the pack. I started close to the back, because I know I am slow. It was hard right away, what with my coming out of an injury, and it being held on a mountain and all. The start of the trail was not bad, pretty soft from a bit of mulch and not too many stumps or rocks. I was only getting aggravated by the threesome behind me who were holding a full blast loud conversation. I stopped to let them pass, eating a couple of sport beans. I then settled into a rhythm, sort of. On the road, you just sort of settle in. On the trail, you may shorten or lengthen your steps depending on the terrain, or need to hop over things. But I stuck with a couple of other women who were doing the same as I was, making slow but steady progress.
We ran up and down hills, around trees, over rocks and little streams. We came to a spot where we crossed the road and on of the other girls asked the course marshal how far we had gone- only a mile! Trail running is much more brutal than running on the road! Anyway, we continued to trudge on.
I was feeling pretty worn out as we continued to climb....then what do I see before me but a stone stairway! We walked up this forever long stone stairway that was a straight drop down on one side- it made me very nervous! Once we got off that stairway, it flattened out a tiny bit before continuing to climb forever upward. We stopped at one point to sit on a rock for a minute and catch out breath. That helped out a lot, and at this point we were about 2 miles into the race. We started chugging along pretty well, but then I had to stop and vomit. I really did feel much better at that point but I was feeling so dehydrated. I caught back up with the girls and jogged along with them for a while, and we caught up with Melissa. I walked with Melissa until we got to the water station. We were both probably dehydrated and not feeling great. The water was a lifesaver, and we were back into the woods. By this time, we were running back down the mountain. This was somewhat easier on the muscles, but harder on the joints. It was also tough because there were so many tree roots that just wanted to reach out and grab you! But it was definitely more fun. We alternated running and walking, and it felt so great when we knew we were getting to the finish. We could hear microphones and clapping- they were already holding their awards ceremony! I finished just in time to hear them announce Phil had won third place for his age group! (My husband is a stud!)
Melissa and I finished in 2:09. That was about what I was expecting, and we were told by several people that that was great for our first trail run, and that the Paris Mountain Trail Run is one of the hardest around. This was definitely the hardest thing I have ever done. I can't wait to get back out on a trail!!