A few weekends ago I convinced Don to try trail running with me. While we enjoy hiking, neither of us had ventured out for a run on a trail before, and, I think it is safe to say, I doubt either of us will ever again.
We drove, early on a Sunday morning, to a trail that a super-runner friend had told us about in the nearby town of Aiea. The appeal of this location for running lay in the fact that the trail was a 5ish mile loop, and that it was a tried and approved trail for running. Although the forecast was for sun, we parked our car in a light drizzle, and were dismayed, upon embarking on the run, to find the trail slippery and muddy.
Very, very, MUDDY.
I think my expectations for what trail running SHOULD be differed greatly from what it actually is. I had envisioned a well-maintained gravel path with inclines and declines, free of debris and wide enough to run next to your running buddy. Essentially, I was thinking of an unpaved road without any traffic and with lots of shade. Is that too much to ask?
What we got, however, was a hiking trail, after a night of rain (that my weather app failed to warn me about), that, for whatever reason, people sometimes choose to run on instead of walk on. Why they do this, I’m not really sure. There were steep inclines, steep declines, the path was too narrow for even one person at times. There were roots. There were rocks. There was mud. Endless amounts of mud.
I’m not sure where the fun part of trail running comes in; I started out feeling discouraged by the mud, the footing was so squelchy and gross and the trail so narrow, that it was often difficult to navigate without sliding down an embankment or landing up to your ankles in mud, and I continued to be discouraged by the roots and the fact that it was too slippery to really run at all. I felt less like I was out for a nice Sunday run and more like a contestant on the old Nickelodeon show “Legends of the Hidden Temple.” After we each slipped and fell (and suffered no injuries, in case you were worried), we mostly walked.
We did meet others who were brave enough to tromp through the slop at running speeds, but I never felt like I had secure enough footing to really give it a go. Perhaps I was wearing the wrong shoes, or maybe I just wasn’t doing it right, or possibly it’s simply that I am now in my 30s and realize I am not as indestructible as I once was, but my fun morning of trail running ended up being a long morning of walking in the muck. Don and I were both relieved when we reached the end of the trail and our feet found the paved road leading back to our car. I might give trail running another try on a day that is dry, but I think what my heart really desires is a shady, freshly-graded, 8′ wide gravel running path, not a trail.