Trail Running

We Santa Feans have been so blessed this season (knock on wood) to not have any fires in our area of the National Forest.  We've had more rain and moisture this year than previous years, and the wilderness is so lush and green right now, with wild flowers in bloom and colorful, tiny butterflies fluttering about.  I took Kua on a run up to Puerto Nambe yesterday, a clearing in the woods on the way to Santa Fe Baldy.  It was such a beautiful day!  

View of Baldy

Queen of the Mountain

Winsor Trail

Kua admiring the wildflowers

I remember hiking La Luz last year and feeling so impressed with all the people running to the top of the mountain.  I also thought they were crazy.  It's challenging enough to hike up a mountain, and I couldn't imagine running the trail!  Well I guess now I've become one of the crazies.  A lot of my hikes have turned into trail runs.  And I love it!  (In my defense, I'm not crazy enough YET to run to the top of Wheeler, or Santa Fe Baldy, or Deception Peak.  I do have my limits.)

"The key is to understand that though running on trails is technically running, it's entirely different than running on roads. Similar to road cycling and mountain biking, running on trails is skill-based and requires a level of strength, balance, and focus that is greater than running on a smooth road." - Runners World

It's a great workout to run the steep hills, especially at 10,000 feet elevation in the mountains.  Also, if I can hike a trail in 4 hours, then I can probably run it in 2.5 and have the rest of the day to do something else!  (I watched a documentary a few years ago about the race to scale El Capitan, and one of the climbers was quoted saying something very similar.  That totally hit home for me!  As much as I love hiking, wouldn't it be great to be done before noon and have time for a bike ride, dip in the pool, or happy hour later on??)

I've moved up to #37 on the wait list for the La Luz ultra trail race next weekend, and I'm terrified that I'm going to get in (and hence feel obligated to actually participate)!  The La Luz race is a 9 mile trail run that starts at the foothills of the mountains in Albuquerque and ends at Sandia Crest, an elevation gain of more than 4,000 feet.  The crazy devil on my shoulder is telling me: No Excuses, If Your Friends Can Do It Then So Can You, Wouldn't It Be Great To Say You Did It, and If People Can Do 100 Mile Ultra Marathons Then You Have No Excuse To Not Do A Measly Nine Miles!  But the more intelligent and rational angel on my other shoulder is reminding me that a) I have never run even close to that distance of continuous uphill before, b) I have a difficult off-road triathlon the following weekend that I really should be focusing on, and c) there are much more enjoyable ways to spend a Sunday morning, often involving mimosas.

So we'll see what happens, but if I get into the race then I just may end up doing it.

Link to a Runners World article about getting faster at trail running!: Trail Running


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