Sunday, April 6, 2014

Catalina State Park 10.3 mile Trail Race: A new love

I did my 1st trail race yesterday. And I am in love. A group called "Everyone Runs" here in Tucson holds a race at Catalina State Park twice yearly, but in the past I have always had to work that Saturday.

(I love having a job that has given my weekends back....)

So glad about my decision to register at the last minute (Monday).

I went into this with no idea what to expect. I pictured myself hanging in the back of the pack with not a competitive bone in my soul.

Until I crossed the start line........and I kept passing people. And realized there weren't very many people ahead of me.

It was the most beautiful morning. It was slightly overcast, causing a 10 minute period of an orange sky. (I got to watch all this, because I arrived to the race way too early. My nerves always seem to do this.) Pictured below is a shot of one of the trails we took - prior to the sun peaking over the mountains.



It went from that, to this within 10 minutes.....
And it was time to start the race!:
I originally planned to take some pictures while running the race, with my lackadaisical attitude about this race. But, again, my competitive spirit came alive.
It was probably one of the most challenging races I've done. We were running up mountains - so there were some insanely steep areas. Also, almost the entire 10 miles of trail was sand. There was maybe a mile of packed down gravel, but the rest was sand. If you've ever run on a beach - you understand the defeat challenge of running through sand.
At miles 2, 4, 6, and 9 there were stair climbs. In fact, the race is advertised to have 92 stairs to climb. One of them has 30 stairs. There was a point running up these 30 stairs, where I thought, "I wonder how many people have had a heart attack climbing these." (Ha! :/)
The Results:
I ended up placing in my age group - and got 1st place! 7th place for overall women's. (I got 35th overall. There were a lot of men running this race.) I seriously think this is my favorite sport! I just feel so happy trail running - you're so close to nature, in the mountains, beautiful views all around, and the environment at these races is different from a road race. People just seem more at ease.
Trail vs Road:
It's an interesting comparison. I've done numerous road races, and there is definitely a difference.
In fact it's funny, as I talk with friends who are serious "road racers" -- many of their comments along the lines of:  "could never do a trail race - because it's too crammed," and you can't pass people freely and that would make them crazy."
Trail racing has more of the spirit of "The trail is narrow, I can't pass, I'll pass them when I can. Look! A fresh water stream!!"
Physically, believe it or not, trail racing is much less hard on one's body that the road. Yes, you run up and down very steep grades of mountain. But you're on sand and gravel that has some give. Not pavement.
Today, the only soreness is my muscles in my abdominals & calves - that's from the muscular stability required to run through sand and around rocks.
(However, I did have to soak my feet in the pool yesterday for a long time in order to extract a cactus needle out of my toe. Ouch!!)
After road races, I usually have sore knees, sore feet, and I'm on a short-term NSAID regimen.
I'm not dogging on road races, and will continue road running. But this definitely opened my eyes to a new love!

What are your thoughts on trail vs road? When you are attending an event you are nervous about, do you get there insanely early? Or do you try to get there just on time, to eliminate that phase of "wait & worry". 


Steve Finnell said...

Can you imagine believers in Christ saying the same things about faith that they say about water baptism?

BAPTISM: (Acts 2:38 ...baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins....) If a believer says "I was baptized, however, it had nothing to do with the forgiveness of my sins;"would that be a valid baptism?

FAITH: If a believer says, "I believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son Of God, however, it has nothing to do with the remission of my sins;" would that be a faith that saves?

BAPTISM: (Mark 16:16...has been baptized shall be saved...) If a believer says, " I was baptized as a testimony of my faith, however, I was already saved before I was baptized," would that be a valid baptism?

FAITH: (Mark 16:16 He who has believed...shall be saved....) If a believer says,"I believe in Jesus, however, I was already saved before I believed;" would that be a faith that saves?

BAPTISM: If a believer says, "I was baptized because Jesus commanded it, however, it was not essential for my salvation;"would that be a baptism that saves?

FAITH: If a believer says, "I believe that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, however, I only believe because Jesus commanded it, faith has nothing to do with my salvation;" would that be a faith that saves?

Does what you believe about water baptism and faith, effect your salvation? Does it matter what you think, as long as you are baptized and claim to have faith?



Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I have only done one trail run so I can't really say I have had enough experience to say that I am a trail person. My issue with that one trail run I did was that it was very confusing as there were multiple loops so I felt like I could have gotten lost easily... and I HATE hills... so yah. Maybe I am too lazy to like trail running? But you, Amber, and my other friend Kyria LOVE trail running so it makes me think I need to give it more of a shot. The half marathon we are meeting up for is a trail half so I will get to experience my first trail race in September and I am hoping that I fall in love with it as I know it's much easier on your body, which is good for me with my RA!

Anyways, CONGRATS on your first place finish! That is awesome! I am so proud of you!!!

Marlys said...

It sounds like you found your niche! I do think it sounds like a good time compared to running on pavement! I am super proud of your accomplishments! Go Abby!