Wednesday, March 28, 2012

When hitting the trails really just means FALLING

There is a definite art to tripping on the trails.  To do it right, several things have to happen.  Here is a short list of the most important things you need to stumble, bumble, tumble with aplomb.

1) Witnesses.  First and foremost, you MUST have witnesses to the tumble.  In fact, the more, the better.  Because, as any philosophy major will tell you, if you don't have witnesses, it didn't happen.  (Or, would they tell you it did happen?  Anywho ...)
2) Race week.  If you are going to trip, you must make sure it happens within five days of an upcoming race event.  Anything over five days and you are running the risk that you might actually feel okay for the event.  Five days or under and it's more of a crap shoot.
3) Invisible debris.  A good fall will leave no evidence.  (This is especially important if you have fulfilled the multiple witness requirement.)  When you - and your witnesses - look back upon the scene of the crime, there should be no earthly indication of what you possibly tripped on.  In fact, it is even better if instead of a visible rock or tree root, there is simply a series of divots in the dirt where you apparently hopped, skipped, and jumped your way to your downfall.  It gives the witnesses more things to laugh at talk about.
4) Early in the run.  Falling at the end of a run is no good.  When that happens you just get in your car and go home.  It's much better to trip in the first half mile or so, so that you have a good long time to relive the moment and can spend the rest of the run in a state of paranoid anticipation of falling again.  That way you get more bang for your clumsy buck.
5) Get dirty.  What good is a fall if you don't come away at least somewhat soiled?  Ground-in dirt and grass stains on clothes are good.  Pebbles stuck in your hands are even better.  This at least can make you feel more badass during the rest of the run, as you - of course - pick yourself up and continue on the journey.
6) Laughter.  And lots of it.  After all, if you haven't broken anything and you can still run, it wasn't that bad.

So, I had a great run with the Wednesday morning running group this morning.  Eight of us took a little field trip to the local state park to run trails.  My face-plant, which did occur in the first half mile or so of the run, was luckily just a small part of an otherwise enjoyable five miles.  If anything, the fall just makes me shake my head.  I tell myself time and time again that I am not allowed to run trails before a race - just one part of my pre-race weirdness - but I didn't listen.  I ALWAYS trip on trails the week before a race.  This weekend's Run for Home 10K is really just a training run for me.  I don't plan on racing it, but apparently it is enough of an "event" to invite trail tripping disaster.  When will I learn?


  1. Love this post! I like to do a tuck and roll with every fall because it gives it a little pizazz, like maybe I meant to do that as part of my trail running routine. Good luck in your race this weekend!

    1. Hmm, now that I think about it, I did kind of roll when I fell - onto my side and then back, which left me staring at the sky. I think I forgot the tuck part, though. With any luck after the race this weekend, I'll be back to focusing on footing when I get to the trails next and any perfection of my falling technique will not be required. lol Thanks on the well wishes!

  2. At least you only left COULD have been near the mud bog!! Now THAT would have been funny ;)
    Seriously, glad you were ok after the trip :)

    1. Very true, Ann! There definitely was some mud on the trail. The good thing about being slower in a group run, though, is that mud is easier to avoid. I only had to watch one of my friends nearly lose a shoe in a big shoe-sucking mud pit to know I had to go around it. Of course, you're right. If I had tripped near one there would have been no avoiding it. Then I just would have wanted a good picture. lol