Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trail Running

Yesterday I hooked up with fellow Northwest BF runner Josh Humbert and friend Dan to run a short section of trails in the Forest Park area in Portland, Oregon.  I have run very few trails in the 7 years of my BF running experience. I felt like a total newby!  Josh was gracious enough to slow way down to accommodate my clumsy efforts. He and Dan floated over the rough stuff with exquisite grace while I seemed to test every sharp rock there!

It was quite cool out, sub 50F (sub 10C) and rainy. The service road from the parking area to the trail head was quite rough and rocky (by my standards). It was maybe 1/4 mile long. The trail itself was a mix of very slimy mud with a few patches of rock & gravel. The constant drizzle of rain only made it more slick as we went along.
We seemed to be more equal on the slimy sections - it was all we could do to keep from slipping right off the trail. There was one section where I became genuinely concerned for my safety. We were going downhill, and gravity was pulling me along faster than I wanted to go. Every time I tried to slow down, my feet started skating across the slick mud. When I stopped slowing down, my speed increased too much, and I knew it would be that much harder to slow down later. I wondered if I was just being a wimp about it when I heard Dan behind me let out a whoop as he also slipped. Josh tried to comfort me by exclaiming several times that this was the most slippery he had ever seen. I wondered what it would be like on a dry, sunny day.

When we got back to the service road and its relative roughness, Dan and Josh glided on ahead of me. I felt like the turtle of the group.

When I was done I found that my left foot had a puncture wound, and it was probably filled with mud. It felt like there might be something solid stuck in there, too. Last night I soaked my foot in calcium hypochlorite powder (pool shock). This converts to "hypochlorus acid" when dissolved in water, and is one of the most effective antibacterial agents (and anti fungal) out there. It has the added benefit that it does not harm healthy tissues at all and it is painless (unlike hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or tincture of iodine.) Last night I sprinkled some calcium hypochlorite powder on a bandaid and slept with it applied directly to the puncture. Voila! No more swelling or pain by morning. I HIGHLY recommend this as a cleansing/healing method. (If you want to try something really "out there" - I know some people who put small amounts of this powder inside of gel capsules and ingest it for health. Search "MMS2" for more info.)

What I learned from yesterday's run:
>  rough surfaces encourage better form, 
>  Josh and Dan are leaps and bounds ahead of me in trail running,
> slimy muddy trails are fun in their own way, very challenging, and something I will not actively search for in the future, and
> trail running has its own unique sense of accomplishment.

Saturday I went out and ran a 10K that was actually a walking event. It was fun, lots of people, lots of stares and friendly comments. I still get a kick out of those people who stare but don't want to be caught staring - and those who have a look of total disgust on their faces (they are just feet, people, pretty common things!)

See you out there!