Saturday, March 27, 2010

Meet: The Lawrence Trail Hawks

Last year, after moving to Kansas from Alabama, I knew that I needed to do two things to keep running: one; find unpaved trails and two; find new running friends.
After running the Dogwood Canyon 25k, I met up with the Kansas City Trail Nerds one night. They were very nice and have run together consistently for years. However, the 3 guys I met that night ran way faster than my pace. One guy from out of town did stay behind me but I held everybody up by alot and it was obvious. The hilly trails they run at WyCo Park were just too much for me, especially a week after doing a very muddy, hilly race. We were probably going seriously slow from their normal pace but their slow pace still sent my heart pounding into my throat. I wasn't ready and after two miles I had to drop out. I didn't go back. I didn't know when there would be girls or if there would be slower runners. I couldn't hold them up all the time and I couldn't run alone in that area. So I just quit. I ran a few more times outside at Fort Leavenworth before the weather turned cold and I turned to the treadmill at the YMCA.
But this spring, looking at hitting double digits on my long runs, I knew I'd have to find longer stretches of unpaved road or trail. I also needed people to run with for safety and for help reaching my new goal this year.
It turns out that my old boss is married to someone who is in a running group in Lawrence. So, I contacted Gary and within a half hour knew where and when everyone would be meeting! Today I met the group at the Clinton Lake north shore trail head for a 10 mile run. Everyone was very welcoming and there were a few other new to the group runners as well.
Again, everybody ran way faster than me. UGH. In fact, I'm so slow that I think people think I am new to running. People mentioned it a couple times but after we talked for a while they realized I knew a little more than a newbie would know.... I've been running since 2004. lol. Oh well. And the funny part is that I've actually gained some speed this year - - I have been running in the 10-11 min/miles on paved roads and 12+ on trails. But running with faster people all the time is tough (though they are all super supportive - it's my own negative self talk) and it makes my gains in speed seem like nothing!
I will say, in my defense, the Clinton Lake trail is more technical than I've been training on so far this year. -Lots of hills and the mud was outrageous! Almost every step we sunk, slipped and slopped. Worst mud I've ever ran in for a training run. I've run in rain, hail, sleet/snow, on icy paved paths, etc. I'm not a pansy to running in less-than-perfect conditions. But the way that the mud pulled at my shoes, my knees ached at pulling back with every step. Hoping my knees heal quickly and if I have to, I'll go back to running dirt roads and wait until the trails harden.
Anyway, Gary was awesome and let the group go on so he could run my pace to keep me company (and keep me on the right trail). Thanks Gary!! Colleen also met us half way through and finished out my milage with us.
Afterward, in my car I peeled off all my wet, brown clothing and saw blisters on my feet. Dang! I never get blisters so I chalked it up to the 2 hours and 45 min of running in the mud with old socks. As soon as I can I'm going to pick up some Drymax socks that I keep reading about...
I will definitely be running with the Hawks again! I will probably let everyone know that I can run alone because I don't want to hold people back each run. They've got their own races to train for and I'd feel terrible if someone had to baby sit me each time. I think it will be good enough to know people are out there on the trails when I am, for safety.
And I'm really excited to have new trails to train on!!


  1. I have the drymax socks....I did our 25k in them and if you can remember I was drenched with water or covered in mud almost the whole feeties survived without any signs of damage :) I recommend them!

  2. I keep getting blisters in my Drymax.. everytime I run muddy trail. I ran the 25k in a pair of socks that has worked for me for years (since 2004) but I only have one & it doesn't have a name on it! argh. Wish I knew what they were so I could repurchase!
    Anyway, I think i need a thicker pair of Drymax socks - the ones in the running store are super thin.