Happy trails to you

Today I made my first attempt at trail running. There is a park in Wauwatosa snuggled between Swan Boulevard, Innovation Discovery Parkway, and Watertown Plank Road. I’m not sure it has a name other than County Grounds Park.

2016-07-30 14.34.37

Look east across County Grounds Park

It covers an area of 55 acres and has a number of paths worn through it by walkers and runners. I’ve walked there a few times, but today I went with the intention of actually attempting to run.

I wore my battered old Brooks Beasts because I didn’t want to get my new Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16 dirty. Yeah, I know. I’m anal that way.

This was my second time off the treadmill. I ran a few weeks back on the sidewalks and roads around my house for about 2.75 miles for an average pace of 11:46 minutes per mile.

Today, I ran for 2 miles on the little trails that wound all over the park. Honestly? It kicked my ass. I was exhausted when I finished, dripping with sweat. My legs felt like noodles.

According to Runtastic, my average pace was 14:01 minutes per mile. Yes, I admit, that’s slow as heck. But as I said, the trails killed me. They weren’t flat as they wound around the park; they followed up and down the hills that dotted the field. My elevation gain was 85 feet and my elevation loss was 75 feet.

That’s a lot of up and downs. And as I said, I felt it. My legs were burning. I was gasping for breath. I stopped a few times to drink water and sometimes I had to walk up the steeper hills.

My average speed was only 4.3 mph, which is a fast walk, and just a tad slower than I manage on the treadmill when I do inclines. My maximum speed however, and I assume I hit this racing downhill, was 10.7 mph!

That’s faster than I’ve ever run on the treadmill.

And I enjoyed it. Truly. It was exhilarating running along the trails. I was forced to keep my focus on the ground ahead of me to avoid rocks, holes, and what appears to be a dry creek bed. Gave the run a whole new dimension that I don’t experience on the treadmill or on the sidewalk.

I look forward to my next visit. It’s a great addition to my running repertoire.

And afterward, as a reward, I had a fudge shake from Gilles Frozen Custard.

That’s why we run, right? For the food rewards?

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