Sunday, 14 July 2013

Knocked Over

Yesterday morning Leigh and I set out to run our first really long long run (20+ miles) of this training cycle.  My awesome mom comes and watches the boys so we can do these runs together, which prevents our entire Saturday from being taken up with someone's run.  Not only is it nice not to lose 8 hours to running on Saturday, but it is nice to have company on such a long run, especially for me.  Because I frequently run solo I stay in residential areas where I can approach a house for help if I ever feel threatened.  This is definitely the safest approach, but the scenery becomes somewhat mind numbing, especially on long runs.  House, house, house, house, house, house, house, house, playground, house, house, house, house, house, store, store, store, store, store, house, house, house, house, house...You get the point.  Running with Leigh means that we can hit the trails.

Leigh is indigenous to the various trails in Guelph.  He does a lot of trail running, which is very different then road running.  He is used to it, and good at it.  I, clearly, am not!  We set out on our first loop of a new to both of us trail.  It offered shade (glorious shade) and beautiful views.  Portions of it were wide enough for us to run side by side, while some areas were a single track.  We cruised along easily and the conversation flowed about all sorts of things, things parents talk about when they manage to get out of the house without their kids (the kids, what we are going to do when we take the kids on vacation, funny things the kids have said...).  That's when we approached a large tree branch overhanging the trail.  Leigh pulled it back as he passed, and sort of 'passed' it to me so I could take it as I passed.  Well, my inexperience as a trail runner showed.  As I reached for the branch my foot his a muddy rut from a bike tire and I went down, hard.  And you are not going to believe what Leigh said to me.


OK, OK, that is not exactly how it happened.  But that would have been funny.  I hit the ground, Leigh turned back looking very alarmed, asking if I was ok, I muttered and moaned, mentally assessed the damage, and got up.  I am not entirely sure of the mechanics of the fall, but I do know my sunglasses went flying, one of the bottles from my Fuel Belt went flying, and when I got up my right side and back from my ankle to my shoulder were muddy, muddy and sore.  Leigh, always chivalrous, helped me clean up using the water from one of his fuel belt bottles (mine were all filled with Nuun), leaving him down one bottle on a very hot day.  We started to run again (I always try to leave the scene of a fall quickly), and that is when, thinking of that scene from Despicable Me, I yelled KNOCKED O-VER.  I figure, if I am going to fall like an idiot the least I could do is have a sense of humour about it.

Now just to add insult to injury, that was not my only mishap on this run.  I stumbled once more after hitting a rock, but managed to catch myself.  Then Leigh, trail runner extroidinaire, stumbled and caught himself.  As I asked him if he was ok, and was being careful to avoid the rock he tripped on, my other foot got caught on a root, and you guessed it, I bit it again.  AGAIN.  This time my comedic timing was better.  First I muttered, "for crying out loud," and then with the best Gru accent I could muster...KNOCKED O-VER.  You see, I am of the firm belief that when you find a good joke you should reuse it as much as possible.


This tumble scraped both knees, ripping my KT tape off, and somehow involved my left shoulder and elbow.  Leigh was out of water due to my previous fall, and I wasn't particularly interested in having Nuun or Gatorade poured on me, so I wiped up the best I could and off we went again.  As we ran on I told Leigh, "I am trying to decide if this makes me a BAMR or an idiot."  We determined that I was an idiot for falling repeatedly, but a BAMR for getting up to keep going.  Sounds reasonable.

Is this talking about falling?  No? source
 So I guess there has to be a take home message from this run, some sort of lessons learned.  I certainly learned a few things, some from Leigh and his trail running experience and some just from the experience itself.

  1. When trail running you have to be much more aware of the ground.  You need to always be scanning to look for rocks, roots, mud, sticks and all sorts of other things that jump up and grab your feet when you least expect it.
  2. When trail running downhill the trick is to sit back on your heels more then normal.  It feels more jarring on your body but keeps your toes up so they don't get caught in the above jumping and grabbing objects.
  3. Running skirts are good for something other then providing wedgie free runs.  I made good use of my skirt wiping down my muddy arms and legs.
  4. Hiking steep, completely rock covered uphills is actually faster then trying to run them.
  5. When single track running with a running partner, especially a big football player sized running partner, it is wise to drop back and shift to one side.  This allows a better view of the trail ahead instead of being blinded by the body in front of you.
  6. This old lady's body is more spry then I thought.  When I fell I fell hard, and I was pretty sure I was going to pay for it today.  I woke up feeling pretty good.  My right shoulder, deltoid, and tricep are sore, but surprisingly I do not feel like I fell like a sack of potatoes twice.
  7. Trail running is fun!  Despite my mishaps this was a great run.  It was a nice change of scenery and is a totally different challenge.  Maybe this is in my future...

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