TRAIL RUNNING

Well, I finally made it out for a trail run yesterday afternoon!  At 23 1/2 weeks pregnant, this was in fact my first time back out on the trails in more than a year.  With the Spartan Sprint only four and a half weeks away, I figured I’d better get out there and start my trail training sooner rather than later, and today’s mild and mostly sunny weather provided just the motivation I needed.

 

I decided to conquer my nemesis, the five-kilometre Lynn Loop at Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, where I sprained my ankle (very badly) just over a year ago.  I’ve been back once, just to walk the trail, but I haven’t actually run it since “the incident.”

 

I ran the first 1.8 kilometres — a mostly flat gravel and hard-packed trail — and then walked up the steep 300 metre leg that comprises the majority of the elevation gain.  Even when I wasn’t pregnant, I had always found this section of the trail a bit too steep and treacherous to run, but I’d usually tackle it at a very brisk hiking pace, whereas today, I took it pretty slowly. For the next 1.9 kilometres, the trail is fairly technical, comprising of undulating muddy, rocky and root-y terrain, with a few sections still awash in spring glacier runoff.  I ran most of it (at a very moderate pace), but did slow to a walk on a few occasions when I was a little bit tentative about rocks or other tripping/slipping hazards.  The trail ends with a relatively steep, but smooth and gravelled, 1.2 kilometre downhill section, which I ran with no problems.  I finished the entire five-kilometre loop in 48:53, which is anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes slower than my typical pre-pregnancy times.

 

I should mention that part of my ambivalence on the trail stemmed from the fact that this was the first time I had ever trail run in my Vibram FiveFingers shoes.  I have hiked in them dozens of times, and I’ve worn them for running the asphalt sea wall more times than I can count, but until now I have never actually run on a mountain trail in anything other than trail runners. Overall, I think the experiment was successful.  My soles are a bit tender right now from running on the gravel sections, but I know they will toughen up with continued training.

 

I decided that I want to run the Spartan Sprint in my FiveFingers TrekSports (if possible) because I feel that I pay much more attention to what I’m doing with my feet, and am thus less likely to roll or sprain an ankle.  On the other hand, it’s a lot easier to bruise the soles of the feet or to stub (or break, as I’ve done before!) a toe, but traditional trail shoes seem to lead to a certain complacency on my part that results in a lot of little ankle rolls anytime I’m on uneven terrain.

 

All in all, I am pleased with my performance, and I think I should be able to cut four or five minutes off my time as I gain my confidence back and get used to trail running in my TrekSports.

 

 

Lynn Headwaters Trail Map

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