Happy Trails...or All About My First Trail Mishap

Am I an official trail runner now that I have battle scars?  I hope so.  Tell me I didn't bloody my bloody knees in vain.  If you don't like the sight of blood, it's probably too late.  You can already see my beautiful knees in all their gory glory below.

My poor knees immediately after the fall.  Thank goodness for compression socks or my entire shins would have been a mess.  And thank goodness for RED compression socks, so the blood won't stain them!

What happened, you ask?  Well, I'd never done any trail running until this spring.  I entered a couple races that had portions of the course on unpaved trails.  The end of the Flying Pirate Half Marathon was like that.  Not only was there a dirt trail, but there was a muddy, puddly, messy trail and it was pouring rain.  And guess what?  I loved that portion of the course.  Then I ran the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon and quite a bit of that course was on gravel.  And not just flat gravel, but rolling hill gravel, and a long gravel driveway that led to a water and wine stop.  Who wouldn't love that?  On that hilly, gravelly course I PR'd.  I decided that I wanted to do some more runs on trails and even bought new shoes just for the purpose!

The Newton Momentum All-Terrain trainers.  Since I'd converted to Newton, it was only natural that I'd buy their version of a trail shoe.  I don't blame the shoes for the fall; I blame user error.

So imagine my delight when my friend and former personal trainer Angi said that she had a group of friends who run weekly on the Burke Lake trail in Fairfax, Virginia.  Fairfax is a little out of my way, but I'd heard good things about this park and the 4.5 mile trail loop around the lake.  I joined Angi this past Sunday for my inaugural run around the lake.  And I was enjoying it, running along at a pretty good clip, when I suddenly felt myself diving toward the ground.  I'd tripped on a tree root and face planted myself in the dirt.  I bloodied and scuffed up my knees pretty bad, and my hands, which broke my fall, suffered some damage too.  The good news is that nothing was broken, or pulled, or strained.  I just had some major abrasions to clean up and bandage when I got home.

Hanging out on the sofa a few hours after the incident, my knees were bleeding through the bandages.  Lovely, no?

Two days later, my knees still hurt, but I'm really not sorry that I fell.  I kind of feel like it's a badge of honor: my first trail mishap, and I lived through it (and finished the rest of the loop Sunday morning, of course).  I'm not discouraged from doing more trail running, and that's a good thing, because Parker's Marathon is coming up in two weeks.  The course runs through a state park in West Virginia, and it's not all paved.  I will attack that course with gusto!  And I will also make sure not to wear my sunglasses on any shady, wooded trails.  I'm pretty sure that's why I didn't see the root.  Then again, it could just be that I was clumsy!

Do you have any battle wounds from trails?  Or even from road races?  I'd like to think I'm not the only one!


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