Today I went trail running for the first time since I moved here from Colorado. I had taken it up as a side hobby in my last year out there, but haven't found any trails to run on here. Well, I found some but forgot my trail running shoes, I wasn't going to wear road running shoes on an off-road trail because I need the stronger grip that trail runners offer. The group that I run with via Pacers Running Stores decided to do a trail run today, with hopes that it could be incorporated into the routine on a monthly basis. Today? Big success!
Eight of us went down to Prince William Forest Park, near the Marine Corps Musuem in Quantico. Click on View Map, and we ran from parking Spot H north on High Meadows Trail, right on Taylor Farm Road, right on South Valley Trail along the creek (we saw a creaky old wooden bridge that I my 200 lb butt wouldn't get on and the remants of an old camp swimming pool, complete with ladder steps!), right on Mawavi road, then along the road to get back to the cars. This run was awesome! Small hills which required some climbing, a couple of nice decents, and not a ridiculous amount of leaves and broken branches to dodge. There were some thorn bushes that we needed to move out of the way, but it was all good.
Since you always have to look towards the ground when trail running so you won't trip up on a tree root or loose rock, you are not going to get the same minutes/mile times that you will on road courses. But who cares! Trail running is about getting further away from it all, breaking the occasional monotony of road running, really getting outside beyond the city, and experiencing a different running challenge. Today was one of the best runs I have experienced since I took it up seriously in 12/06. I rediscovered how much fun it is to run on a true trail. I'm not even going to lament how gas prices will likely prevent me from going out to a trail run more than once a month (I live at least 15 miles from any parks with long enough trails to make it worthwhile), I'm just going to revel in a great, great run. I can't wait for the one next month.