04 April 2012

Samurai Trail Running...with minor injuries

What is Samurai Trail Running?

It's pretty much just like regular trail running, but you put your hair up like a samurai...

...comme ça...
pink, sparkly BIC Bands head band optional.

Today I decided to break in my trail running shoes. They were new...

...and oh-so-clean!

I'd had a hankering for a pair of trail running shoes. You know, with all the running I've been doing lately, the Newtons and the Mizunos just aren't enough. *cough, cough*liar*cough, cough* ...a-hem... But money has been super tight – as evidenced by my running out of gas a lot lately – so new shoes seemed a ridiculous notion.


Our REI dividend arrived along with a 20% discount coupon on one item, and the dividend was way huger than I had ever imagined! 20% off + dividend = new Brooks Cascadia 7's  :)  And I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to run my Jelly Bean 10K...trail-style. I suck and forgot my bib :(

You know that thing about nothing new on race day? Yeah... I went home with this...

But I attribute it to the soaking wet wool socks bunching up...
not the awesome and lovely new shoes.

Everything started off dry. But I knew that wouldn't last long because we've had a good deal of rain lately. Everything was fresh and green and just beautiful. My plan was to run 2 of the three-plus-mile loops that I ran a few weeks ago.

Small water crossing at the beginning of each loop.

Pretty trail.

More pretty trail a little further along.

Little waterfall next to trail right before big-ass hill.
At about Mile 1 and Mile 4.

Beginning of major big-ass, never-ending hill from hell.
I really motored up this hill on the first lap.
Not so much on the second lap :P

That, through the little lit space, is the crest of the major big-ass
mo'fo' hill that is preparing me well for the Hayes Street Hill,
which I will encounter on May 20.

Downhill and dry!
I picked up the pace considerably...especially on the first lap.

Unfortunately, I came upon more and more of this...
Super sticky, clay-ey mud.
Deep...and super sticky with lots of puddles.
And did I mention that it was super sticky?

Like so sticky that it literally sucked my shoe right off my foot...for real.
*Photo not staged*

It took me a while to navigate to a place with semi-solid footing where I could put my shoe back on. By this time my socks were soaked. This is where they bunched up and created the blister-friendly environment. All of this happened in the first lap.

Despite the mud and soaked shoes and socks, I felt great when I got to the bottom of the hill and faced off at the beginning of the whole ordeal again. I decided that YES, I was going to proceed with the run. Go, me.

So stupid.

First, I forgot to mention that in that first loop I must've twisted or rolled over on my left ankle no less than 6 times...probably more...and my right ankle enough times to make it yell at me now even after icing. I did the whole, "Oh, rolled ankle...keep going...loosen it up...stopping will make it seize... motion...loose...keep running..."

Second, I had run the first loop hard. I worked the big-ass hill like nobody's biz. I was happy and smiling as I reminded myself over and over all the way up how strong it was making me...how preparing it was. What this means is that I was rather fatigued for the second loop. The challenging terrain and the tiredness pretty much meant an end to decent and safe running form. The second time up it, I wanted to stop badly several times. I kept asking myself, "Are you feeling injured?" "No. Just tired." "Then keep going because the work over time will take care of that." So I kept going. While the UP was very challenging, it didn't hurt me.

Third, the down hurt me. By the time I got to that previously pictured mud field, my ankles were screaming as they had been perpetually rolled. The slipping and sliding and bad landings had taken their toll on my glutes and stabilizers. Everything was fatigued, and my form went to crap. I slowed way down so as to not aggravate anything that had been 'disturbed.' By the time I finished, I was so happy to hobble to my car. Sitting down never felt so good.

Now officially broken in :)
And I am ignorant...could trail runners tell me...
do I just hose them off or what?

After peeling my socks off, I drove home barefoot.
Which is legal.

What did I learn today?

  • Trail running is tough stuff. You use lots of additional muscles that are not used in road running. The anti-tripping muscles, for example.
  • Wet, bunchy socks = big blister possibilities.
  • I am not in shape. My fitness is so questionable now...so sad :( 
  • My hip likes running better when I am in shape.
  • Big, sharp sticks lurk in the mud...waiting for unsuspecting trail runners to land on them, at which point they try to stab said runners in the crotch...
It's okay, though. He just got my knee.
It's not that bad...it was just really scary when it happened :P

Course elevation profile:

I believe those completely bizarre spikes and drops from 0.8 to 1.4 miles happened
when my Garmin spazzed out. Or maybe I stepped in a really big hole 
and that's when I twisted my ankle.

Distance: 6.25 miles ...clearly, the course was long  ;-)
Time:  One hour and 14 minutes. No guns. No chips. Just a finger on a button.

Maybe tomorrow I'll do a blister-treatment video...


  1. I've got those same shoes! Mine are still really clean though. I'll change that soon. :0)

    1. I had one split second of "oh, no! now they're all dirty!" when I hit the first patch of mud. After that it was more like "awesome! mud!"

  2. Those nasty sticks!glad the blister held on so you could deal with it, instead of popping itself?

  3. I LOVE trail running! That looked like a lot of fun!
    I got a nice blister on a trail run this weekend. A blister on top of a callus...always nice :p

    Is it actually legal to drive barefoot? I do it always...and always wondered...

    1. Totally legal in all states...except driving a motorcycle barefoot in Alabama is illegal. I looked this up :)

  4. Awesome looking run. I'm looking forward to trying the Cascadia 7s as well!

  5. Ok first OUCH!!! That blister looks like a doozey! Second of all I wouldn't judge your fitness on this run...it looked killer between the trail and the mud and all that jazz! It does look like a beautiful place to run though!!

  6. OUCH on the blister! I need to do my Jelly Bean runs this week, too. Trail running is a great idea!! Tonight is a group track workout for me, but I may do a trail 5K tomorrow...

  7. My road shoes look like that...I let my brother talk me into a little off-road romp one afternoon, and the poor things still haven't had sufficient rain to wash them clean yet.

  8. What a beautiful, and challenging, place to run! Hope you heal up quick and get back out there.

  9. I've been lusting after those shoes for a while now but my current trail shoes are not needing to be replaced and since I'm not running trails at the moment I really can't justify the purchase... even to myself, which is pretty impressive because usually I can talk myself into buying anything :)

    When my shoes get super muddy, I just take them for a spin in the rain, which here in Eugene isn't too hard to come by.

    That trail looks beautiful... well except for that big hole you fell in somewhere after 0.7 :)

    1. Ah, yes...the lust. I had it for several weeks...and then the means of purchase came in the mail. I was beyond excited :)

  10. your shoes are pretty - and that trail is gorgeous! I want to get more into trail running this summer. Unfortunately right now all the trails are crazy wet and the mud you experienced would be the norm...

  11. Great job! What a beautiful run (minus the mud). That's what makes me nervous about trail running is twisting ankles or falling. I try to stick to the roads but would prefer the scenery of the trials. I hope your blister heals:)

  12. That does look like a great trail but muddy! Great run, really trail running is so much harder and with those hills! You did a great job!

  13. Replies
    1. You have to know that I was seriously laughing my ass off...in between the expletives...the whole way. I'm glad you were in on it :)

  14. Those shoes are definitely broken in now - you ARE officially a trail runner! Woot! What a gorgeous trail, I would have been in heaven with the peace and quiet and solitude. You did well with the time and those incredibly tough hills, too. I think your fitness is starting to make a comeback :).

  15. Yea, dirt and mud! I LOVE your trail. Rinse the crap out of the inside of your shoes, and bang off the dried dirt after it dries. They'll be clean enough...or not, and that's cool too.

  16. Woah! Serious hills! That trail looks amazing. I need to tough it out a bit more and hit the "real" trails, post-marathon...

  17. I knew Kate would love this one!!!
    I on the other hand would not be convinced to hit that mud.
    you are crazy!

    maybe you will be ready to try those Gladiator races!!!

    ok I posted my nuun application
    where is yours?

  18. I could see how it would be easier to run when you are surrounded by that scenery. Beautiful! I love the samurai part. Ha! Made me laugh.

  19. LOVE the trail runs. Can't wait to run some again ....hopefully soon. Please never post feet again ;) lol

  20. You just gave me a great idea of what to spend my dividend on at REI! I love trail running just for the spontaneity that it provides-like goopy mud.

  21. Awesome run!! Trails are the best!

  22. Way to break in those new shoes!! Who wants shiny clean running shoes anyway???

  23. I need some trails and a really kick-ass hill like that one!
    And the samurai hair, I'm glad you gave it a name: I sport it daily (especially when I don't wash my hair!)

  24. hey that hair, I must do it next time I trail run! got to love a butt kicking run!

  25. You are a tough cookie!! That is a serious run! I keep thinking I want to trail run, but looking at the mud and muck made me cringe (I'm such a prissy park ranger, how is that even possible?!) so I think I'll hold off!!

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Holy mud!
    But the trails do look pretty! (That blister, on the other hand, looks angry.)

  28. That trail is beautiful-- wish we had more trails around here. But you're right, it's a whole new level of running! Great job--that elevation is impressive.

  29. hose em off or leave them muddy and don't worry about it... after they dry and you get a dry trail run, the mud falls off. trust me, i live on the wet side of oregon. you can dry them off easily from the inside by stuffing them with newspaper... just remember to replace the newspaper after a few hours a couple times. trust me on that, too... newspaper molds overnight if you don't. yuck. lastly... drymax socks. no blisters. no matter how much rain or muck... providing your shoes fit properly, of course. :) happy trail running! and great job on the hills! whoo whoo!
    kristin, OR

  30. I am afraid that this statement is not correct"
    I'd had a hankering for a pair of trail running shoes.
    .'elaborate this please.Thank you.

    microchipping dogs.

  31. That looks like a gorgeous place to run!


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