Ben has really been digging trail running since last year. He got his first taste of a trail race at the Xterra Wildhorse in November. Tampa Races has a really sweet deal where you can run for free if you provide a volunteer for the day. So Ben got to run Wildhorse, Florida Challenge and will be running the Claw for free. Watching all these bad ass runners cross the finish line is really very inspirational.
It's one thing to run a 5k, 10k, 15k, or half marathon on the road; it's a totally different animal to run one on the trail. Ben pushed me (gently) to try a trail race. Reluctantly, I agreed and so did his dad. We set our sights on the Trout Creek race a while back, mainly because of the 5k distance. I did purchase a pair of trail shoes (which I love), and have been training on the trails for a few weeks.
Luckily, we live pretty close to Lake Rogers Park (short trail loop) and Flatwoods/Trout Creek. Unluckily, I fell last time I ran Flatwoods with Ben and then fell again (within the same week) when I was at bootcamp. Personally, I find falling more painful for the ego than anything else. But, I did injure my hand pretty nicely both times. In the same spot. Needless to say, I was VERY nervous about the trail run and falling again. (I spotted a guy wearing gloves at the start line - very smart!).
This particular race started on the bottom of a berm at Trout Creek. Here is a photo from last year's race:
It's really not that bad of a hill, but it's a very interesting way to start. The first mile was on top of the berm so there were no roots or anything technical to deal with, which was also a little surprising. After the first water stop, we ran through a field before entering down a single track trail. The trail led across the main road to a path around the lake (which I assume leads to trout creek).
The scenery is so breathtakingly beautiful that you almost want to gaze at the water or beautiful trees with the sun coming in just right, but if you don't watch where you are heading you could be face first before you know it. Ben's dad was right behind me the whole way, so we were sort of running together but not really running together because the trail wasn't wide enough.
Mile two was pretty uneventful, and I was beginning to think that I might actually be able to complete a trail run without injuring myself. Tampa Races normally has a (cheesy, but fun) DJ that entertains during the races. I started to hear the music from the finish line and instantly knew that I was pretty close. Right around the 25 minute mark, I came upon a pretty rooty (?) part. And it happened.
I fell. Hard. Ben's dad was right behind me so I was trying not to curse (or cry), but I wanted to do both. I hit the same hand that I had the first two times and it was bleeding pretty good. Ben's dad helped me up (even though I told him to keep going) and we kept going. I believe I also said another curse word or two before reaching the finish line.
Here are the final splits:
1. Finish under 30 minutes
2. Don't fall
3. Get a cool campfire mug
Two out of three isn't bad!