I did my first HURT (Hawaii Ultra Running Team) trail race today.
I last practiced trail running on Thanksgiving weekend, 2011, in Makawao, Maui, where I chased some stony mountain bikers around. I figured I was ok at it, because I kept up. Turns out it's more likely they were just really, really stoned and slow.
Before that, my last trail run with during Escape from Alcatraz. Some of that Presidio stuff counts as trail. I had the best run of my life there. I think that was spring of 2009.
In college sometimes I would run the fire trail up through Strawberry Canyon into the Berkeley Hills, but it was hard to focus on the trail running when all I was ever thinking about was being mauled by a mountain lion.
Suffice to say, my trail experience is limited.
Here are some things I noticed:
1. The HURT trail runners are so nice they make all us road runners seem like complete and total assholes. The girls who passed me slowed to introduce themselves. Seriously. Everyone was so sweet and kind to each other. It was like Woodstock or something, but less dirty.
2. Running a hilly trail race when not recovered from a hilly marathon is not a good idea. I walked up many of the hills, because my HR would top 200 bpm on even the slightest slope. You think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. It would have been so disheartening, if it weren't for all the kind friendly folks who introduced themselves as they passed.
3. The niceness must've worn off, because Stacky waited for me at the top of all the hills I walked. Then, when we got to the final half-mile downhill stretch (on the pavement - the sweet, sweet pavement), he was waiting there for me to finish with me.
4. My 9-mile trail race time is slower than my current half marathon time: 1:29 or so, today.
5. I got a potted carrot plant as a prize for being a top 10 woman! (Probably only 10 women showed up.) Live prizes, as long as they aren't puppies, are the best prizes ever!
6. I was worrying about the wrong thing. I didn't think my ankles could handle it, but they did. My right eyeball had an unfortunate run-in with a pine needle somewhere in the last few miles, and everything got really blurry. It's still blurry 8 hours later. My eye-doc friend says it's a scratched eyeball or something and it'll go away if I ignore it. I am typing left-eyed right now.
7. The buffet. Wow. Everyone brought something, it seemed, and all of it was amazing. Fresh fruit, veggies, salads, homemade breads and cookies and muffins, wraps - even if I hadn't run, that food would have been worth the $15 entry fee.
8. I cannot begin to fathom how people run 100 miles on trails. That is seriously amazing. The next HURT race is 10+ miles on June 8, and I will be there. Hopefully with some hill-climbing legs. It was harder than any road race I've ever done, but the views were incredible (hence the name: Run with a View) and it was so much fun.
The rest of the day went like this - a little time in the water with some of Team Kailua - Todd, Brig, Cara, and the kids.