Trail Runner Extraordinaire!

I’m so cool that I spend my Sunday mornings trail running. Because what could possibly sound more awesome than getting covered in several miles of sweat and dust while the rest of the world sleeps in past 6am? I’m completely sane.

About a month ago I ran my first big trail run (big meaning longer than “oh, cool, I stepped in grass three times!”), mainly because last year I did this huge klutz move amazing trick where I stepped off of a curb and broke my foot. It took a while for my feet to regain their understanding of their main task in life.

This predicament made it very difficult to run on anything that wasn’t flat and man made. Really it wasn’t much to worry about though, because I have a habit of living in large cities with sidewalks. Now I’m just really hoping my form is decent enough to keep my knees from revolting from this pavement torture in 20 years… we’ll see.

After many months of ankle flexes, toe raises and balance exercises that included annoying my college dorm neighbors by throwing a tennis ball against the wall while standing on one foot, I finally decided I hadn’t tripped in a long time and mustered up the courage to go run on something that wasn’t flat. The Rose Bowl is about a 10 minute bike ride from my house, and until then I had only been running on the sidewalk that leads around the park. My idea was to run the 5 mile trail loop that also goes around the park, and has some hills and rocks. I felt like my ankles would be fine as I laced up my shoes, but honestly I couldn’t keep out of my head the image of myself tumbling down a hill .

I arrived at the Rose Bowl and started running pretty slowly, my brain determined not to make my tumbling fall daydream into a reality. After a few minutes though, except for a few odd steps here and there, I was fine jogging along. After a couple of miles I decided I could probably stop staring at the ground and analyzing the positioning of every rock I came across (though in doing that I felt like I was part of some high speed asteroid avoidance game. Pew! Pew!).

I sped up a bit too! It was fun.

Something I’ve realized since moving to college and being on co-op is that I really miss having a pet. Here dogs are everywhere. I always get excited when I see them taking walks at the Rose Bowl and if I’m walking to cool down after a run I can’t not stop and pet them. Being on a trail proved no different, since my ankles could use a short break anyway. There was this adorable lab puppy loping down the trail with his owner and I had to stop and give him a few scratches. I’m pretty sure we were both thinking the same thing too.

Sadly, I could not take him home.

Of course I didn’t ask.

I continued plodding along, feeling better about every step. Looking up at the beautiful trees, crossing small streams and running along a golf course was all so relaxing. Birds were all over the trail and here and there I got to dodge branches and pick my way through rocky stream beds.

Pretty soon the run wrapped up and aside from slightly sore ankles I felt amazing and rejuvenated. I also didn’t go tumbling down a hill.  I was addicted. Trail running is wonderful, and everyone should do it at least once.

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