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.

4 Responses

  1. Yay…I’m glad it went well.

  2. Congrats on the run! I have never done any trail running but it looks like fun

  3. The uneven ground I think make strail runnign harder. It also helps to work all those small muscles that dont get used so much when running on pavement.

    Happy Trails!

  4. I assume you ran on Twin Lakes and Nature Study (since you mentioned the stables and the Iona guy). I did much of my marathon training there, including a 4+ loop 20 miler.

    But the trails are not so great when it is freezing because the ground freezes but not smoothly. As you discovered, you get lots of ruts and uneven surfaces. I pretty much avoid them until it warms up. And there are stretches that are frequently muddy, and you have to resign yourself to running through or running around.

    During the winter, the better trail bets are the Old Croton Aqueduct (you can get a 10 mile up and back heading north from Hastings-on-Hudson) and the Rockies. I ran on part of the OCA and the Rockies yesterday over an inch or so of snow and it was no problem. Even if the ground freezes, it tends to be smooth.

    Marathon training at the Rockies is tough, however, because it has lots of short (and some long) hills, so you can feel pretty beat up. The OCA south of Tarrytown, on the other hand, is as flat as a pancake. You can start at Hastings, head south into Yonkers and then head up to Tarrytown. I’m not sure of the distance, but that would be in the 16-18 mile range. And Hastings is only about 10 minutes away; up the Saw Mill to Farragut Parkway brings you there.

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