The Hills are Alive

Last week was the week of running trails,and boy are my calves and quads feeling it today. One of my favorite places to run is the Forest in Nisene State Park located at Aptos, California. You can run up to 30 miles of trails surrounded by beautiful redwoods and lush ferns. Quite the ideal spot to run on a warm sunny day with the tall trees providing a canopy of shade. UMM and I headed out and met up with Elise for a lovely morning jaunt. We explored a single track trail new to us that was very technical and challenging.Ten miles of trails equaled plenty of smiles! 

On Saturday, I participated in the "InsideTrails Santa Cruz Trail Race 10k." This event was held at Henry Cowell State Park. I drove up with Mark & Shannon and we got a little lost. Another runner stopped with us and together we figured out where the entrance was located. That other runner ended up paying for our parking which was very kind indeed. I found out later that it was his first trail race and he ended up rocking the course. I also saw friends before the start who were running the half and 30k event.

The course was no joke. There were tough hill climbs, and to make it even more challenging, I was running on sand. Deep sand like as if I was at the beach. I had worn an old pair of trail shoes that made my knees twinge. I got frustrated with just about everything, and I did something that even surprised the likes of me. 

At the 2.5 miles mark, I stopped, took off my shoes and socks, and ran barefoot. It was awesome to run shoeless in the sand, but once I got out of the sand onto a very rocky terrain, it was very hard and my feet hurt. I lasted a mile running barefoot on the trail before putting my shoes back on. The idea of taking my shoes off right in the middle of the race made me laugh at myself and my actions. I was giddy the rest of the way while enjoying the gorgeous views. I crossed the finish line at 1:10:39 and placed 4th in my age group. This is the exact same time and placement I received at the last Inside Trails race I participated in. Perhaps if I had kept my shoes on, I would have gotten a better time. Oh well, I had a lot of fun!

I am not certain if I will take up barefoot running, but I am willing to try it out again on easier terrain.

Mark, Shannon, Me!
A couple of times last week I also hit Quicksilver for a couple of trail runs with Katie. One of those runs was on Sunday. I woke up at "F*#@ O’ Clock" to watch the Women’s Olympic Marathon with Katie and Layla. We then hit the trails for a nice and easy pace. I think I was delirious at that point as I was talking a whole lot of nonsense. Well, we all were, but that is what made it a great time!!!

I have a week more of running leisurely before I start CIM training. I am enjoying my time on the trails right now as I know once training begins, I will focus more on road running than the trails. Not to say that I won’t be running trails, I will just be doing less.

Did you get out and hit the trails? Where is your favorite place to run?

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