Today, Jennie and tried something different for our run. We went on a trail run. We participated in The Dirty Herd’s Fall Classic. The Dirty Herd is a trail running group in Grand Rapids and they were hosting a free event at Robinette’s. The email announcing the event had the subject of “Let’s meet Sunday for Cider and Doughnuts”. That’s all we needed to be interested.
The forecast showed rain today which we thought could make for a very muddy run. Thankfully though, the rain held off and we had a dry event.
We showed up around 5:00 and were greeted by about 200 other runners ready to go. We signed up and entered the raffle before lining up. We ran into lots of people we knew; college friends, a co-worker, friend from high school, and one of Jennie’s friends that she hasn’t seen in years. It is great to see so many people out running.
The event offered three courses; 4.5 miles, 2.5 miles, and 1.5 miles. I opted for the 4.5 and Jennie did the 2.5. We all started out at the same time and “herd” is the best way to describe us. The first half mile was a nice wide area, but it quickly narrowed down to a single track. Unsure of how “trail etiquette” worked, I settled into position behind a long line of fellow runners. The trail would open up to a double track where I could pass people. I gradually started to follow the lead of others and figured out how to pass on some of the narrower sections.
After a mile or two, the crowd finally started to spread out a bit and I really started to enjoy the course. The course included quite a few hills so it really made for a good workout. There were plenty of times where I was bracing myself to prevent from falling, hopping over logs and carefully navigating roots. Overall, I thought the course was very challenging and am curious as to how it rates among other trails.
This was our first time doing a trail run and we are both looking forward to doing it again. It was a ton of fun and super challenging. We are both sore now. Trail running certainly seems to use a lot of different muscles than regular road running. It is a good sore though – the sign of a good workout. My ankles are the worst off and Jennie’s quads and ankles are tender. Nothing that a little rest and stretching won’t fix though.
After we were done running, we got our free cider and donuts. They had pumpkin spice donuts which are amazingly good and fresh apple cider.
Jennie got back a bit before me and already had a donut in hand when I finished. She had also scoped out some of the product displays (there were tents in an expo-like setup) and found a table that was giving away free hats. They are really nice hats too – great for winter running. Jennie also found a $5 technical shirt to add to her running wardrobe.
As the final runners finished up, they started the raffle. They were raffling off back packs, Timex watches (their new GPS watch), and shoes. And guess what? I won! I won a gift certificate for a free pair of Saucony shoes! Woohoo! When I won, they said it was for a pair of trail shoes, but it doesn’t say that anywhere on the gift certificate so I am going to try and get a pair of racing shoes instead.
Overall, it was a great event. I’ve always been hesitant to do trail running because I like to just be able to run out my front door and run versus having to drive somewhere to run. However, having tried it, I will definitely try and get out on a trail again. I highly recommend it if you haven’t ever tried it. It is a completely different experience than road running.