A long trail ahead

Remember when this blog used to be about running? Turns out there’s not much to write about when you’re not running. At all. I’ve been justifying my extra time on the couch with tentative plans to begin marathon training after the baby is born.

But, truth be told, I’ve been a little worried about this plan. It takes a lot of motivation to train for a marathon. Even more when you have a breastfeeding infant. And I wasn’t sure I had that motivation. I guess I still don’t know. But I’m feeling more optimistic. It helps that I’m back to reading blogs. I’m definitely jealous of all the shenanigans folks like the (not so) Average Athlete are up to.

Then last weekend I went for a 3-ish mile walk. And I was sore for the next two days. It was hilly, alright?? Still, I’ve run this exact 3-ish miles before, followed by another even hillier 6-ish miles and not been sore. Yes, I do realize I’m 6 months pregnant. I’m not expecting to break any records here. But I also can’t expect that I’ll be able to do much more after giving birth. I have a long road ahead of me. Quite literally.

Anyway, that walk was sort of the kick in the pants I needed. And not just because it made me realize how out of shape I am. The sun was shining and the typically brown hills were green. Somewhere amongst the grazing cows I spotted my motivation. I unearthed my next phase in running right there on the trails.

Benicia-Hills-Dry-Brown

The problem with a goal like running a marathon is, well, I’ve done it before. Of course it’s no small feat, especially after having a baby (OH MY GOD, SERIOUSLY). But the novelty is gone. I need a new challenge. Trail running feels perfect because it’s new and it most certainly is a challenge. Not only that, it’s a challenge I can tackle slowly. 

I’ve run enough and experimented enough with different training methods to know that my body responds better to distance than speed. Especially when recovering from an injury or building back up from ground zero. Taking it easy will be a lot easier without the pressure of beating a marathon time hanging over my head.

I still plan on training for a road marathon*. Mostly because a trail marathon feels like a bit much to take on straight away. But I want to train a fair amount on the trails and throw in some shorter trail races. So far I’ve found about 10 – 12 million I’d like to check out. So, you know, that should keep me busy.

*I’m looking pretty seriously at the Big Sur International Marathon. In the event that I don’t win the lottery, what spring marathon do you recommend?

Photo Credit: Benicia. by Kirk Strauser is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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10 thoughts on “A long trail ahead

  1. Trail running is so awesome!! You are going to love it! And, yes, it’s perfect for those of us who aren’t looking to be speedy, but love to go all day. You have lots of shorter distances to choose from, too, if a marathon seems like too much right now (which it should. Hello, babies at home. I didn’t even run around the block when I had two babies!)
    If you get into Big Sur, please don’t even think of comparing it to the CIM, time wise. It’s a beast.
    Thank you for the shout out. 😄😄
    I don’t have a favorite spring marathon, but if you’re looking for something incredibly flat and mind-numbingly boring, you could do the Modesto Marathon. It’s in late March. I’ve done it three or four times now, and it only sucks a little. I have a bad attitude about spring because of my allergies.

    • I’m looking forward to it! Truthfully I was starting to venture out on some trails before I… stopped running. But this is more of a conscious decision. And, yes, I definitely don’t plan on trying to beat my CIM time if I get into Big Sur. I actually sort of don’t want to do a flat marathon because I know myself. As much as I tell myself I’m not going for time, if it’s another flat course I WILL (try).

  2. So question my wise running friend, I’d love to do trail running, but I’m still working on building up my base for my first ever half in the fall. Do I try out a trail 5k? I am on the fence.

    • I think you can absolutely do a trail 5K while building up your base for a half. Eeeeek!! First half marathon! I’m so excited for you! Okay, back on point… it’s all about where/how you fit it into your training. There’s a lot of different ways you could do that, but here’s one idea. Replace your long run with the 5K one week when you would normally hold mileage constant. Maybe around the ~8 mile mark. In other words, build your long run up to 8 miles, next week 5K, next week 10 miles. Expect to run slower than you would on the road and give yourself the same amount of rest afterwards as if you did a long run. Again, this is just one way you could fit it in. Yay! This is so exciting!!

    • That looks like an awesome race! I wouldn’t mind checking out the Vancouver area either. (I’m assuming Vancouver island is close to Vancouver.)

      • From Vancouver it’s a 2 hour ferry ride to the island. It’s then a 3-4 hour drive to Tofino. If you are okay with small planes its only a short flight. Vancouver is awesome. But I may be a bit biased.

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