I have been in Flagstaff for approx 52 hours now and I must say, I am adjusting WAY quicker this time around compared to my first experience last year. In fact, not only have I adjusted quicker, but it feels much easier this time around. Last year I had a few experiences where I felt like death and even had some lightheadedness. Not this year. Definitely much better this year!
I am enjoying being back out on the trails. I am not a huge trail runner back home because simply put.... I am a train wreck on trails. Let's recap, my first ROC (Runner's of Compassion) experience (back in 2008 I believe) took me out on the trials behind Westwood. I went out with Group 1 as I figured Group 2 was too slow for me. Well, since I was an inexperienced trail runner, Group 1 was slightly too fast (and experienced) for me as I turn into a granny on the downhills.
As I tried to keep up on the decent back towards Westwood (sorry trail experts, I have no idea what trail I was on as I paid no attention and just tried to keep up), there was this tree across the trail. I stepped up on the tree and pushed off. All good right? Nope, not for this disaster. As I pushed off, my foot slipped on the wet bark and I did a half spin in the air to land parallel to said tree. All good right? Sure, it would have been, if I had maybe been quick enough to get my hands down. Nope, this all star did not get her hands down and instead took the trail with her face. Imagine, pine needles up the nose.
I guess I made a loud enough thud and a few curse words that the guy in front of me stopped and came back. My face was throbbing as I wiped the pine needles out of my nose and off my face. I think there might have been a little blood but not a lot. I believe I was asked what I wanted to do. It would have been quite the hike back down to my car, so of course I finished the run. Long story short, I ended up with a slightly crooked nose (sinus issues that still plague me) and a lovely black eye just in time for my boyfriends birthday.
Oh that is just one story. How about the story where I was running in Hemer Park, this time with my iPod in my hand (back when I ran with music). Same year I think. Sun and Shade played games with my eyes and I tripped on a root. Yep, again couldn't get my hands down. I didn't want to lose/break my iPod of course. Took out my shoulder on that one. No less than 15-20 minutes later on a downhill on the other side of the park I rolled my ankle. Pretty sure I sat and cried on the trail briefly before walking about 30 minutes home.
Or the time at Morrell, where I slipped on my last step after a wooden bridge and took out the side of my face on the cement pad at the end of the bridge. Basically you get the point. Erin = Trail Train Wreck!
Here it is different though. The trails don't seem quite as technical, at least not the ones I am on. I am still a granny on the rocky sections, but to me I would rather be a granny than hurt myself. I have been shown some new trails that I never realized were so accessible last year. I am looking forward to the rest of my time here. I have plenty of trail touring to go and I have some great tour guides. I do near 100% of my training alone back home, so it is nice to have some company on my runs and to also receive some important feedback while running from a valued source from home.
This is only the start. I am very thankful to be here again and cannot wait to see how this training (plus all training put in earlier this summer) pays off this fall. Big things are coming my way!