Hitting the Trail

Tonight, I am going to a women’s beginner trail running clinic at Camp Fortune, put on by Natural Fitness Lab (http://www.xczone.com/labrunclinics.htm). If you want to go, it starts at around 6:15 pm, is limited to 20 women, and is $20 online, or $40 at the trailhead.

Because we have such a great network of trails, parks and the like here in Ottawa, there is a strong trail running community (as well as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing). They have run evenings, just like Running Room does, and announce the location of them on social media a few days before hand (usually located on a Gatineau Park trail). I have been too intimidated to go to one of these runs, fearing my red-faced 12-minute mile pace (on the road, slower on trails of course) would be left behind by the first half kilometre as the more seasoned runners bounce away, leaving someone to stay, wait, and be annoyed at my huffing, puffing finish in the parking lot long after everyone else has left for the night.

I had this same worry going to a Running Room Wednesday night or Sunday morning run too, just for the record. I know I am slower than a lot of “average” runners. My long, slow pace is between 7 and 8 minutes a km, which for a lot of folks, is very, very pokey. Going with my friends to a couple of Sunday morning runs in Westboro, though, made me feel better about “belonging” and keeping up, since you run back to the store, and there is always somebody still there stretching, and you get smiles and such no matter when you get back.

I’ve also made strides in acceptance of my pace this year. Slow is ok. Even if I am slow, I am still doing it. I will get faster eventually… Yup.

Despite my confidence strides this year, I am nervous to go tonight, since I’m meeting a new group of runners, some of whom may likely be muscled paragons of trail running endurance, standing proudly at the foot of a black diamond slope before bounding up in their zero-drop trail shoes, as if channelling the white-tailed deer watching from the sidebush. Scouring videos of the trail running group, and reading about their training and exploits, it made me quail a bit inside. These people are seriously fit. Most of them in pictures do not appear to have any body fat, and look like runners that model for the magazines.

Eep.

Silly, I know, and likely unfounded. But, I am trying to be as honest with myself as possible. If I am nervous, I examine why, so I know how to best cope or solve in the situation. I think it comes down to me not wanting to look ridiculous (solved, I have rainbow socks to wear with my rainbow run skirt and neon shirt), and out of shape. Put a more serious way, I want to participate, but hope it is not going to defeat me when the pace is too fast, the level of exertion above what I am currently capable of.

Oh anxiety… Thou art a vile and bilious &*#$@.

Thank GOD I won’t be doing it alone, and am going with a good friend. She’s got trail running experience, and she’s better at hills than me. We’re going to this together for support, and because we both prefer trail running to pounding pavement on a daily basis. Honest… I love my run routes at lunch around downtown, they make me happy to run in the history and people… but I adore the trails near my house, or running where the trees are on either side of me, the ground not man-made… And there are some hills to heft up.

Yes, heft. I’m not in shape enough to bound yet. Soon, but not yet.

I want to do more trail running, and take on new challenges with my running. This is important to me. I think trail running is the best way I can boost my obstacle racing endurance, and mentally (emotionally) I need to get away from the concrete a bit more. I am missing the country, the forest, and the quiet it brings to my mind. Perhaps after this clinic, I can meet some other beginners like me, and we can group together to be the caboose for one of the free trail runs this group puts on, time and family permitting, of course.

If nothing else, tonight will be a fun evening with a friend, and a good workout, I am sure.

Finally, some trail-running inspired laughter for your Monday. Remember me posting this?

Well, he did another one, this time extolling the virtues of cross-country trail running to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse. Heh… He reminds me of Hammy from Over the Hedge. Heeh…

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