Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Trail Walker (Ode to Chris Brogan)

If you've been reading Chris Brogan's blog lately (and if you haven't, you should), that guy's crazy about trails. Trail happy. Trail daffy. Gaga for trails. He's recently been running a lot of trails and really loves it.

Well when reading Chris' posts I was both jealous and resentful. I felt that, as a walker, I'd never really be able to do trails. Sure, occasionally I could walk on an easy trail, if I had to, but I didn't see it in my future. This made me a little sad because there are so many great ultras that I've read about or heard about, but 99.9% of them are on trails, so I felt cut off from all these great races.

Well, all that has changed. Last night I met a colleague at McAllister Park in San Antonio, which is the place to run and ride bicycles on trails in San Antonio. He was late so I was warming up, stretching, wandering around, etc. Then I saw some trail: single track, mostly dirt, slightly rolling. While I was waiting, I decided to give it a try. It was awesome. Awesome! I didn't trip or stumble or have any trouble with form. The only reason I had to stop was that my friend was so late that it got dark and we couldn't see the trails so we moved onto the paved jogging path. But I was really excited to think that maybe I could walk on trails.

Today I finished work early. It was the first day of training and in spite of all of my anxiety and trepidation it went well, very well. I promised myself that my reward for making it through the day would be another visit to McAllister Park. So I headed back around 4:45 this afternoon. It was 97 degrees (ugh) but what else are you going to do in Texas in July. So I hit the trails. Man, it was awesome again. I wandered all over that park. These trails aren't particularly technical or difficult, but I still loved it. I scared off some deer; I passed a family of wild turkeys; I even saw an armadillo. It was so great to get lost in the park and on the trails.

The best part was that, for me, I was fast. I actually did a 10 minute mile for part of the trail, and my average was 11:23. For a lot of you runners that may not be fast, but for me it was a very acceptable pace for a training run. Considering that it was my first time on trails, that it was 97 degrees and that I walked 8.26 miles, I'm very happy with the results.

There's only one problem: I need some trail shoes. Chris, can you loan me $80? I mean after all, this is all your fault!

Distance: 8.26 miles
Time: 1:34:02
Pace: 11:23