Last Saturday, Cliff and I ran an almost 9-mile trail run from Buck Hall near Awendaw, SC. I had a couple of weeks before starting to train for my next half marathon and thought I would like to try something different.
I liked the description I read about the trail from the event organizer. He said, "The portion of the Palmetto Trail that we will be running on is The Awendaw Passage. This is the coastal terminus of the Palmetto Trail, ending at the intracoastal waterway, the "sea" part of the Mountain-to-the Sea Trail. This is also where you'll see palmetto trees along the trail. The trail follows Awendaw Creek through a maritime forest and offers sweeping vistas of the salt marsh."
Cliff and our friend, Tom, ran a portion of it last November. I guess that's what started me thinking about trail running. You can read about that adventure here.
It was raining Saturday morning and I thought we might have to cancel, but as a long-time follower of the Weather Channel, I determined that the rain was quickly moving away from the area and that we would, indeed, run the trail. AND then......wouldn't you know it. My cockamamie nerves decided to throw me a curve ball. I had not been feeling nervous at all and was actually looking forward to running. But the nerves decided otherwise. I dealt with them all morning. I guess they sensed that I had never run on trails before and got a little out of sorts. So it goes.
The crowd had gathered and the line up was according to age. Wasn't that nice to give us older runners a head start. It wouldn't matter. I still got passed...a lot. I only passed one person. I need to work on that. My goals for this run were:
1) Finish in 2 hours
2) Not to break a foot or ankle
3) Not finish last
And, I am happy to say, I met all my goals.
The trail run was an out and back. For at least the first 1/2 mile or so, this is what the trail looked like. The path was clear of roots and was quite enjoyable to run on.
We ran on several bridges, which I loved. They had just the right amount of give.
Then there were the Palmetto fronds. You can see a few roots in this picture.
And even more roots, in this one. To the right of the trail is the Awendaw Creek.
And this is the Awendaw Creek vista showing the salt marsh.
Being a novice trail runner, I would have to describe this run as very tough. We had to run over roots and dodge holes, there were up hills and down hills and slick mud built up over one area like a dike. I walked that, maybe 8 foot, section. I was not about to come out those woods looking like I belonged in a Rambo movie. My feet hurt so bad and my ankles were very sore. Obviously, I did not have the right shoes. When I finished, I told Cliff, "never again!"
And now, one week later, I am scouring the Internet for more trails. I am going to buy trail shoes this weekend. The pain? I described it to someone as birthing a baby. You hurt for a while, but when it's over you forget the pain. You are left with a beautiful experience and can't wait for the next one. Yes, I have to say that after the initial learning curve and pain, I think I fell in love with trail running.
On to the next adventure,