The long distance trail thing…I get it!

I get it…I really get it! For the first time in my life I actually understand why some runners will spend hours on trails and be able to walk away talking about how much fun it was, even as they ice bruised joints and patch up cut shins.

And those people that always say their training is so much fun!? If they are trail runners, I’ll finally believe them! I have trained for and run two marathons – Twin Cities and Fargo. Both times the training eventually felt like a second job I was only putting hours into for bragging rights. I have always said those who thought that training was the fun part were a little off their rocker. And maybe they are…but if they are then I’m willing falling off my own rocker.

On Saturday evening I headed out for a long trail run, just to see what my body could do. I wanted to run 15+ miles alone. I knew my body could pull it off but I wasn’t so sure about my brain. I packed my bag, set up a “check-in” plan with Chris and drove up to Centennial Cone. The full loop would put me at 16.75 miles…I had high hopes for my night!

Centennial Cone Trail RunningCentennial Cone Trail Running

My goal was to run as much as possible, ideally every step of the way. This trail has some decent climbs but I knew if I completely forgot about my pace and just focused on the act of running I’d survive. And survive I did. By the end of the night I had run a full 16 miles on the trails, up every one of those darn hills!

Centennial Cone Trail Running - Elevation
The fact I had to map this out on MapMyRun for the elevation chart makes me wonder why I bothered wearing my Garmin…

I did take breaks to text Chris my whereabouts every 2 miles and once it was fully dark out I did end up walking about 3/4 of a mile just to take in my surroundings without a headlamp on! The moon was nearly full and it was easy to hike without a headlamp. It is so beautiful and peaceful in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night!

Centennial Cone Trail RunningCentennial Cone Trail Running
Centennial Cone Trail Running

Aside from the insane number of spider webs I ran through my lonely night run was far less traumatizing than it could have been…I only saw glowing eyes once! I am so glad I had the guts to get out there and run, alone. I have so much more confidence in myself, my running and what is about to become my “training”!

I am no where near an expert on trails but I learned a thing or two on this last run…

– The scariest creatures in the dark are startled birds…and spiders.
– The sunset really is prettier when you earn your vantage point.
– Being lost in your own head for 4 hours is refreshing.
– Trails are 8,092,435 times better than pavement.
– Next time I’m bringing someone with me to break the spider webs.
– I need a brighter headlamp.
– If you’re wearing a pack don’t forget your t-shirt, chaffing hurts!
– Don’t run dehydrated…because after 4 years I still haven’t figured this out!
– Night running is a special kind of awesome, minus the darn spiders.

There were so many perfect things about this run, which is saying a lot because I was mentally prepared for a run where the wheels fell off miles from my car. Luckily, I am still waiting for the crappy run that is going to test my love for running. I’ll keep waiting, patiently. And hoping for many more runs like this!


The long distance trail thing…I get it! — 17 Comments

    • Trails in the dark are amazing! I had my first experience this week – loved it. There are more critters, but cool things like toads and caterpillars! You’ll have so much fun! I’m kind of jealous of your trail relay! :)

  1. I love it when that happens! A run that you came out of glowing with happiness! So glad that it was a good experience for you, and hope to see you participate in a long distance trail event! :)
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    • We bought a pretty low key headlamp to use in a campsite or even hiking – you don’t need to see a ton to hike. I’ll let you know what I end up with, definitely higher lumens/beam distance.

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