It's amazing how many variables contribute to a runner's outcome in any given race. On Monday evening my legs felt strong, I was reasonably well rested, I hadn't eaten anything I regretted earlier in the day, the weather was a coolish 72 degrees, the trail surfaces were firm and slightly damp. But my head was foggy and I wanted the race to be over before it even started. When the starting gun went off (actually just a "Go!") the first several hundred yards was congested and I had trouble getting around other runners and establishing a good pace. Halfway through the first mile I settled into a comfortable race pace and got my focus back. I didn't concern myself with my 1- and 2-mile splits, and was somewhat surprised when I finished at just over 22 minutes.
The majority of my running takes place on a bike trail (the Zim Smith). When I'm not running on the bike trail I mostly run foot trails in the woods near home. If you're a runner and you're not already including trail running in your training, you should consider doing so. There are many benefits, including:
- softer surfaces reduce impact on your body
- trail running develops balance and agility and helps develop other muscles
- changing terrain helps with focus and concentration
- roads are for cars. Well, not exclusively, though many drivers behave so.
- an opportunity to connect with nature and the outdoors
If you enjoy trail running - or even if you are brand new to it - you should consider coming out for some of the remaining races in the Camp Saratoga trail series. The next race is July 9 and continues every other Monday evening through August 20.