Today I went on my very first trail run. My brother has a background in trail running. He will run on pavement, but I think he much prefers the trails and being close to nature. He is also an avid hiker and camper and dabbles in rafting as well. It’s what he does when the world around him is closing in on him and it’s just too much. He takes a hike…literally. It is definitely one major thing (aside from the obvious of my family and friends that are here) that I seriously miss about living in Oregon. Camping and hiking options in Texas are severely limited and definitely don’t include the flora and fauna that there is up in the great Pacific Northwest…Oregon: Pacific Wonderland indeed!
Before I came up here, I had messaged my brother on Facebook and asked for trail run recommendations and he said he would hook me up. When I got up here, I texted him to remind him that he promised me a trail run of at least 6 miles (that was my only requirement). A couple days later he emailed the map of the area for the trail he had in mind, plus directions on how to navigate the trails so I wouldn’t get lost and would get the longest run out of it. He told me that (he doesn’t wear any GPS devices when he runs, he runs “naked” as us runners call it…no technology. I’m quite sure that he does not listen to music as well) it was about 10 miles because it takes him roughly an hour 45 minutes to 2 hours to complete the route. So, now I had my heart set on a 10 mile trail run.
I got up this morning, gathered all my things, ate some cereal, stopped at Dutch Bros and got me a large iced Americano and headed down to Peavy Auditorium. My brother’s directions on how to get to the trail system were very clear and accurate.
I find the trailhead he told me I would be starting at: the intensive management area.
My brother had typed up a detailed list of directions on how to maneuver the trails. He even included a warning about the “brutal hill” in mile 3. He told me it was about halfway through the run, so I wasn’t expecting it that soon, but I knew it when I hit it. I walked pretty much the entire “brutal hill” because there was no way I could run it. I would have hurt myself. This course is extremely hilly, in fact, according to my Polar, there was about 1280 feet of elevation gain to be had in the entire 10 miles! Whoa!
|that's some crazy elevation gain!|
For the most part I was running along actual, dedicated trails, but there were portions that were on gravel roads. Let me tell you folks, running on gravel sucks. My calves are already sore from that little bit of the run. There were quite a few areas that had signs and orange safety tape across them.
I went around all of these. I neither heard nor saw any logging activity, so I just continued on with my run. Well, then I got to just after the 5 mile mark of the run and there was machinery and it was active. The trail near this was again closed off with a sign, but the trail went off and away from the machinery, so I went ahead…but also, I wasn’t going back the way I came. So I chugged along. Then, I got to an area where the felled trees definitely smelled freshly cut. Then there were whole trees that had been recently cut lying across the trail. At one point, I had to climb up on these trees that were a good 1.5 feet or more across, sometimes in bundles of up to 6 trees, and hop over the top of them. About this time, there was a piece of machinery that was driving through the woods and seemed to be coming straight in my direction. I neither wanted to get run over OR in trouble for being on a trail that was supposed to be closed at the time I was running on it (the signs said no closures due to activity on the weekends…this is Thursday). My adrenaline shot up and I got scared, so I kicked it up a notch and powered through the area and soon, there was no more machinery sounds and I was in the clear. Then there was no more freshly cut trees anywhere and I relaxed.Thankfully, only once did I make the wrong guess, but I quickly figured out my mistake (I’d say well within .15 of a mile) and turned around and then when the right way. That was right around where the active machinery was at…so I was also trying to not be seen. But in the end, between my educated guesses and my brother’s 95% awesome, clear, and accurate directions, I made it to the end of the route. Sadly, the route he gave me and said was about 10 miles was actually only 6.75 miles. So, I found this .4 mile loop called the Woodland Trail and made 7 loops of it, then ran back to where I had parked the car and ran about .2 of a mile back up the start of the initial trail, took some selfies with my new selfie stick with the woods in the background, then ran back to the car. Got my 10 miles! Boom!
This was my slowest 10 mile run ever, I’m pretty sure. But, you know what? I don’t give a hoot! This was my very first trail run and I was in it solely for the experience and it was an amazing experience! I had decided days ago that I would be stopping to take pictures (as you can see, I definitely did this). Also, I knew going into this that it was a super technical route with a “brutal hill” in it and all that meant that there would be periods of walking. So, when I finished and had a time of 2:09:04 I was actually quite happy!Here’s the list of my splits if you’re interested:
Mile 1 – 11:19
Mile 2 – 12:43
Mile 3 – 18:22 (hello “brutal hill”)
Mile 4 – 12:29
Mile 5 – 11:24
Mile 6 – 12:57
Mile 7 – 10:19 (zoom zoom!)
Mile 7 – 10:19 (zoom zoom!)
Mile 8 – 12:50
Mile 9 – 14:11
Mile 10 – 12:27
Overall, I’m extremely happy with this run on so many levels!