"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philipians 3:13b,14

Monday, February 7, 2011

Trail running 101 on the Pacific Crest Trail

Rule #1: pick up your feet.

Rule #2: if you get tired, adhere to rule #1 even more stringently

As evidenced below, I am a glaring example of the unmentioned.....or you will trip and fall.......

 Fortunately, it was only a little scrape. This time. :)

So here are a few basic items that I have found to be really helpful in doing trail runs, especially longer trail runs. The first is a pack that can take care of your hydration and calorie needs. I have tried about a bazillion packs. (ok, maybe not a bazillion- is that even a number??- but enough to have quite a pile of hydration packs stacked up in my closet) If I need more than 20 ounces (which I do if I am running longer than 10, I need a lot of fluids when I run) I LOVE this pack:

It's the Nathan HPL 020. It holds 70 oz in its bladder, and also holds quite a bit of food, also has awesome pockets up front for easy access to your food, chap stick, tissues, camera, whatever you may want to get out while you're running without having to take the pack off. I filled my bladder with Gatorade for Saturday's run:

Then I loaded the front pockets with stuff- I like my camera (I am a freak about taking photos) my Powergel bites, my chap stick, and some tissues.

I also have to bring along an epipen, due to a bee sting allergy:

Then in the back pocket I like to pack some extra food, sunscreen, and a...uuuhhhhhh..... baggie with some baby wipes (which has been nicknamed "the poop bag" for what I hope are obvious reasons....hey when you're out on the trail, you gotta be prepared!)

Aside from a good pack, if you are running trails during seasons other than summer, a pair of gloves and some ear warmers, also sleeves if you have them can be nice. These will allow you to easily control your body temperature as you go through warmer and colder spots on the trail, because you can quickly take them on and off.

(somehow I forgot to put the sleeves in the photo- nice work Shari....)

Trail shoes aren't essential when you're starting out (I hate to spend money on "stuff" before I know if I am going to like the activity) but once you know you're going to do trail running often, they are a really nice piece of gear to have. They are usually built a bit more rugged/sturdy than road shoes, which is nice since you can be running through brush/sticks/rocks.

(I am sure my husband would really appreciate me setting my trail shoes on the kitchen table)

Another feature that comes in handy is the sole. It is usually thicker, unscored, (which is nice for going over rocks, the shoe rolls over the rock and you'll get less "hot spots" from them) and has more aggressive tread, which is nice if you are running on trails because you will have more traction when going up or down steeper hills.

These particular trail shoes have a great feature that has an inner tongue and that sort of acts like a built in gaiter, which helps keep small rocks and debris out of your shoe:

And there's a toe cap to help prevent bruised toenails if you happen to kick rocks. (I still managed to bruise one toenail Saturday despite this feature. I am a total spaz)

Needless to say, I LOVE these shoes, they are the La Sportiva Wildcat (men's version, I have giant feet and the largest women's size is too small for me)

There are, in my opinion, two main reasons that trail running is such a great activity. First, you get your body off the pavement, and on to a softer surface. This can be so helpful if you're having a lot of injuries. For me, the main reason is being out in the beauty of nature and getting away from the traffic, looking at something beautiful and awe inspiring:

When you are running on a trail, you have to focus on where you're going to put your foot on the next step, and that is freeing to me. It helps me to put aside all of the thoughts and concerns that are usually clamoring around in my head and just sort of "be" if that makes sense.

(that's not me, it's my very cute and photogenic friend Kristin :) )

I also like seeing the trails at different times of the year, seeing how the plants change, how different the mountains look, what flowers are blooming.......

If you regularly run on roads, you should give trail running a try!! :)

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