Running the Streets (Urban Trail Running)

I think "urban trail running" sounds a little better than "running the streets", but a lot of people have used that title for their blog posts already...

I have been talking to one of my buddies from high school who is an ultra runner and lives in Colorado (he ran the North Face 50 last year). He has a great blog Summits and Valleys: A Mountain Runner's Life about his running, snowboarding and anything else he thinks up. After reading about his trail runs, I started looking for some local trails to try out. My running experience is limited to the last three years and I have never experimented with running on trails. I am planning on running a new half marathon trail run (the Dirt Dash) in September as part of my marathon training. The Dirt Dash goes through the swamps of the Francis Marion National Forest (only a few miles from my house) so I may try to train on some of those trails before I do the race.

I was thinking about trail running when I went for my first run yesterday and realized that I was doing some of the same things I might have to do on a trail:

- Running on uneven ground - It really does not get much more uneven than the sidewalks and roads in Downtown Charleston.

- Dodging obstacles - There are so many tourists in town that it’s like running through a forest.

- Running over rocks and streams - Cobblestone roads / sidewalks and horse piss from the carriages - enough said.

- Inclines and Declines - The Cooper River Bridge adds some much needed elevation from the ten feet below sea level where I start my run. Not to mention the steps of the Customs House that I run up to do my Rocky pose.

So I ran the eight miles and acted like I was running on a trail the whole time (urban trail running). I ran all over Downtown, up the Cooper River Bridge and then made my way up the steps of the Customs House for my Rocky pose (I think I startled the homeless guy at the top). When I got back to my office I was totally pumped! I can't imagine how I would feel if I had just run a real trail.

I did my second run last night. It was a short four mile out and back route from my house. Not much to say about that run, but I did feel really good getting in twelve miles for the day.

This morning I decided to go to Boot Camp to hurt some turtles (see past post about turtles). After our warm up, we broke up into three groups and did a three station, fifteen minute each circuit.

My group went to the track to run laps and sprints. There is nothing like a Marine yelling at you to sprint to get the blood flowing. I have not run that hard in a while and it felt good to go all out. Next, we went back to the gym and worked with the medicine balls. I paired up with another guy and we did chest passes to each other from our knees. We started about ten feet from each other and eventually moved to about thirty feet apart. The goal was to spring forward, throwing the ball, and drop into a pushup. My arms were a mess after fifteen minutes. We then moved to the striking station. One person held a pad while the other person threw punches. Then one person laid on the ground while the other person straddled them and held the pad in their face. The person on the ground then did elbow strikes. After that we stood up and did alternating knee strikes to the bag. I was wiped out!

I could tell everyone was exhausted, but as we finished with group exercises the whole group was loud and motivated. This is what keeps me coming back to Boot Camp.


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