Yesterday afternoon Barry and I headed up to Blacksburg for my first run at Pandapas Pond. I have heard great things about trail running at Pandapas so I was really excited. I made plans to do a 7 mile out and back run on the Poverty Creek Trail. The trail was rolling throughout and at times got very rocky and root-y. Just after mile 1 I had my first major ankle roll, but managed not to fall. I completely rolled my left ankle to the side while all of my body weight was on my left foot and it had me hopping up and down on my right foot for a few seconds.
Even though I was running at a slower pace than usual, the miles flew by because my mind was so busy focusing on keeping up with Barry and not falling on my face. We saw a group of hikers, a pair of runners, and towards the end a solo runner but that was it. It was 34 degrees outside, so I can see where there may not be a lot of people out. The trail I chose to run on had four creek crossings each direction, and due to the rain we had this past week some of them were quite wide and somewhat deep.
We got to the very first creek crossing (pictured above) just before mile 3. I came to a stop and looked at it, contemplating whether or not to go. But then Barry told me to go, so I did. We had three more creek crossings before we got to our 3.5 mile turn around. Two of them were small enough that I could jump over, but the fourth one was as big as the first. Barry snapped a picture of me coming through it on our way back.
The trail was really pretty. There was one section of Rhododendrons that we ran through that I thought was really pretty. Barry says they were Laurel trees that grow near water, and that Rhododendrons are in the same family.
There were also several sections on the trail that had Pines, along with lots of roots. I had several tripping and ankle roll incidents, but I never ended up on the ground. I did have one major trip on a rock during our final mile that sent me flying with my arms out ready to catch myself, but I somehow managed to lunge forward and stay upright.
We saw a fast, local runner that we see at a lot of races in the area towards the end of our run. With about 2 tenths of a mile to go, he passed us and I decided to kick it into high gear and keep up with him, which was a lot of work because it was uphill and curvy to the trailhead. When we finished, I told the guy "man you run fast" and he laughed and said "I thought I heard you pick it up to stay with me." Once we got back to the car Barry said he was surprised I was able to pick it up so much, and I told him I was practicing for my final surge for the trail half marathon we are signed up for in March.
Back at the car, I noticed I had frost on my capris. Turns out when you cross a creek 8 different times and it's 34 degrees outside, you can get a little frost build up. Since we were already in Blacksburg we swung by the local running store to pick up some long run fuel. I also spotted a seasonal flavor of Clif Bars and decided to give it a try.
Hank photo bombed, as usual. Scout made it in, too, with her butt.
Trail running is very challenging, but so far I am really enjoying it. I can definitely see doing some of my long runs on trails, and I can also see where trails will make you a stronger runner on roads. Case in point: I was ready for bed by 8:15 last night and my legs are sore today!
Have you tried the seasonal Clif Bar? Is it any good?
When you trip while running, are you good at catching yourself?
Have you ever gone through an icy creek crossing?