Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Trail Runner? Who, Me?

Over the past year I have developed a very structured running schedule.  Tuesdays are speed (track), Thursdays are stamina (tempo), and Saturdays are endurance (long run).

 But Sunday runs are all about having fun!

My husband has to be at church early on Sunday mornings (he's the worship leader) - so AM is out.  That leaves the PM, and, since our 18 yo daughter has a life, this means we have to take the kids along!

For a while, we were using our Sunday easy run as practice for the 6 and 7 year old (when they were training for their 5K), but lately I've been trying to find interesting places where they can ride their bikes while we run.  

Last week, I remembered the state park that is nearby - Crooked River State Park in St. Mary's GA.  Even though we have lived here for 24 years, I've only been to this park once or twice - and not at all in the past 20 years.  This is one of the most surprising things that has happened to me since I started running - I am turning into an outdoorsy person!  Didn't see that one coming!

Anyway, I did a quick Google search and found out they have "trails" there, so I thought Sunday evening would be a good time to try it out.

We arrived with kids in tow, paid our $5 parking fee, and proceeded to the longest trail - the Palmetto Trail. It was listed as 1.5 miles and according to the park ranger we spoke to, had the least tree roots.  That seemed important with little kids riding bikes.

How did it go?

Well... we did have fun.  This was my first time EVER running on a soft surface (mostly packed dirt and sand.)  It was actually a nice relief for my ever-present foot problems.  Of course, that may have had less to do with the surface and more to do with stopping every 2 minutes to help a child through the softer sand, or pick them up and brush them off after a tree root crash! 

 The trail was very curvy, so we could never see ahead more than a few yards - which made for a rather exciting run.  Would we encounter a critter?  My kids were hoping for snakes (yikes!), but all we came upon was one lazy armadillo.  We did send the kids ahead of us, though, to scare off any potential serpents.  No, I do not feel bad about that!

The Palmetto Trail  - We started at the X

We finished up at the Crooked River picnic area, had a bathroom break, and then turned around and went back.  My final Garmin miles read 2.9, so I guess the trail was labeled pretty accurately.  We were all very hot and sweaty, but the kids enjoyed it and we got in our run.

But today I've been thinking.
About trail running.
I've read other runners accounts of running trails, of course, but I always thought that was something I had no interest in.  Now, I'm not so sure.  I loved the whole adventure aspect of it - what's around the next curve?, what critters would we see?, should we turn left at the fork or right?  We encountered so many little side trails as we ran along that I would have loved to have explored - but with kids along that just wasn't possible.    So, I'm making plans to return sans kids - maybe to this park, or perhaps another.  Who knows.  Maybe I'll turn into a trail runner.
And to think.... 13 short months ago I ONLY exercised indoors with air-conditioning and fans!  

Do you run trails?  

Why or why not?



  1. I applaud your blatant use of child-shield to fend of snakes. :) I literally LOL about that. Looks like a fun trail to run!

    1. Proudly using children to fend off snakes for 25 years :)

  2. What a great family adventure!
    I love trails. Used to NOT love trails, but I am trying not to be too tied up with pace, and they provide a great surface and lots to see.
    I hope you can do more- they are so fun :)

    1. I tend to be extremely pace-oriented, so I NEED something like this to help me simply enjoy the run!

  3. I'm always the first to spot the snakes! I love running through the woods and I've done a couple of trail races. Sounds like you have some fun trail running in your future!

    1. Yes - just need to wait for cooler weather! so nice to meet you, Tina!

  4. What an awesome family adventure! Love it! Glad you didn't see any snakes..yikes!