The rocky road to healing

So this morning was my experiment in trail running to help with my persistent shin splint. I went back to my local equestrian center, which is attached to a county park, and hit the trails for my first ever trail run.

After three days of total rest, icing and stretching I was finally able to run almost pain-free. My stabbing pain has been reduced to a very mild ache. By the end of the run it was gone. The leg still feels good about seven hours later.

I learned a few things today. For one thing, the trail where I ran must be quite muddy during other times of the year. Stretches of it consisted of heavily rutted frozen ground. I’m not sure I would want to come back and run it after a day or two of rain. Another thing I discovered is that you can’t go as fast. I covered 17 miles in 3:15. On our local paved path I can normally cover 20 miles in that time. I think you must work harder too, since I was wiped afterwards, and my watch says I burned 2000 calories, which is what it said I burned on my last 20 miler. I took a 1.5 hour nap when I got in too, which I don’t usually need to do.

I saw four or five other runners, including a kid in an Iona track suit who was flying along. Ah, to be 20 again…

And a few friendly walkers with friendly dogs. And one guy ambling along on a horse and wearing a huge white cowboy hat, which was Today’s Striking Image.

I really enjoyed the run and given the fact that for the first time in nearly three weeks I’m not aware of my right leg, I’d say the combination of semi-extended rest and a day on softish ground was a success. I’ll probably do my next long run there for good measure.

Since I’m a resource-a-holic, here’s a link to the American Trail Running Association’s Web site.

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