The Runner’s High is out on the trails

Today I pushed myself beyond prior limits and it was fun! GRao and I have been trying to get out to run on the trails every now and then but it’s hard given that I’m doing tri-training and she runs with someone else on the road at other times. The last post on trail running saw us go out to St. Eds greenbelt with Savitha. But with Savitha on vacation and my supreme boredom with road running (not to mention the impact of concrete on my knees), I was itching to get back out on the trails.

Savitha told us about the Hill Country Trail Runners group that meets twice a week. Their Sunday morning run starts at a decent time, 8AM so GRao and I decided to give it a shot today. The group was about 6-7 in number, most of them knew each other well and were avid trail runners (proudly sporting faded Bandera 100K or 50K race tees). They were extremely friendly and welcomed us into their group. We began running and it was a perfect day, cool at 50F. The group was fast! Before I knew it, they’d gone ahead and GRao and I kind of kept up with each other through the run. The group run is a NO-DROP one, i.e. they wait at the intersections where the trail might veer off, which is great otherwise we’d definitely be lost. The trail we ran today was Bull Creek greenbelt and it is hilly as hell! At the beginning of the trail, there was a ridiculously steep climb which even the seasoned runners walked up. Then we reached the top and ran over what was pretty much a ledge/precipice looking over a steep descent of bushes. The width of the trail in some parts was pretty much space for one foot followed by another. I was surprised at how well I did on the inclines and those dangerous ledges. 1 year ago, Memorial Day weekend on a hilly hike in Kentucky I had to sit down in several hilly parts while the others walked on. Feels great to have gotten younger and fitter in under a year.

The trail was extremely variable in topography – it went up and down constantly, parts with loose gravel and rocks and parts with solid roots that GRao and I kept almost tripping over. We’d run for about 10 minutes and then catch up with the group, chit-chatting about sundry topics. We’d catch our breath (they were so nice about waiting till we all caught our breaths!) and move on. The last two miles were winding paths downhill mostly which were a lot of fun. I felt so strong and even though it was a lot of effort at very low speeds, it was a ridiculous high! Just the shade from the sun, the smell of the trail and the cool air was fantastic. One of the trail runners kid knew the trail like the back of his hand. He was no more than 7, and while I split with the group to run back early to make it for swim, he took me down a short cut where I promptly fell. Wasn’t a bad fall but the kid kept running, I was amazed at how well he knew the trail and how fast he could run for a long time!

The run took about 1.50 over 5-ish miles so you can tell how steep the climb was. It was about 65% hilly and 35% relatively flat but never completely flat. GRao and I decided we definitely want to go back and get a few more trails before it gets ridiculously hot!

Oh and swim class. Barely made it to Ironchicks swim class on time. We had a different swim coach this time. We pretty much did the same drills except a new one which I loved! So the usual sideways swim is where your body is facing the side wall of the pool, your one arm is extended out straight and the other is by your side (as if you’re stretching out on the water) and you kick sideways, breathing in and out till the end. In the latest drill, we did the same for about 6 kicks (or till you breathe out underwater), then switch arms, do the free-style stroke for 3 turns and then turn to the other side and do the sideways kicking. This was way more fun than usual sideways. Other drills included swimming with the pull-buoys between your legs (to work on your stroke) and doing the freestyle but breathing on the non-dominant side. I was pretty beat from running for the last 2 hours so I kinda modified my drills and did about 50 yards less than what everyone else was doing because it took me several minutes to get breath back!

End result: NO SORENESS!! This is what multisports is about! Its cross-training all the time, using different muscles all the time. No one part gets overworked unlike marathon training. I ran 5 miles on the trail for nearly 2 hours followed by a grueling swim workout for 1 hour. What pain do I have? Nothing. Nada. Rien. Kachu nahin! I love it! I probably expended the same effort as I would have on a long road run but the trails were good to my legs and the swim was good for my recovery.

Every time I have a good workout like this, I feel glad about moving to Austin and discovering this hidden active side of me! In reward, this is what I ate today.

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