Monday, October 27, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Oct 20- Oct 26

I attempted to resume a normal training schedule this past week. The week after the 30K I took mostly off. Just a little yoga and I was good. It was a busy week, so I was happy to have a break. Somehow, I tried to start back with a week that included one more workout (another yoga class) than I usually have, but less time to complete it all in. On top of everything else, it was a recipe for stress and exhaustion. My runs this week were feeling all very blah. I was totally fine ending runs early and didn't feel like getting out of the house for a single one of them. 

It would be helpful to include one major piece of information on why I am doing all of this: I want to run a trail marathon in November. Yes, I want to, but I'm not fully committed to it yet. I hope to use the training and 30K as a solid base to be able to pull this off, but I'm honestly not super excited about it. I want to do it but I'm not like "rah! rah! let's do this marathon!!!!" More like, "yeah, I could do that, which is super cool, so I should." 

Since I was racking up runs this week that were mostly "eh" I thought I might be burned out. I might be done training for this cycle and it was time to back off. As I dragged myself around getting ready for Sunday's long run when I would have rather been in bed, I told myself, if this run sucks, bail on the marathon idea.

Well, lo and behold, the long run was fantastic. Every single footstep felt amazing. I loved the entire thing. I am still not 100% behind the marathon, but am much more positive about it now than I was last week.

Total Miles Run: 22.6 (maybe. my Garmin hasn't been great at accurately determining mileage lately)

Monday: Yoga

Tuesday: 4 Miles Run and Strength

The strength workout I did with my friend at her new gym and it killed my legs and glutes! It was incredible how sore I was the next day. For the run, I ran back and forth to my chiropractic appointment. Uphill there, downhill home!

Wednesday: 3 Miles Run

Around the 'hood. 

Thursday: Strength (sort of)

Didn't have the time/energy for a proper strength workout so I sort of half-assed it. 

Friday: 5.6 Miles Run and Yoga

Two loops at Discovery Park. First loop I went too fast and felt crummy on the second.

Saturday: Rest 

Sunday: 10 (likely closer to 11) Miles Run

I met a friend and two of her friends for a run in Carkeek Park. It was a gorgeous system of trails, lots of up and down and up and down and then getting over downed branches and trees from the wind storm the night before. We kept the pace extremely slow, which was alright by me. The run felt great. 

****Friday is the last day to enter my contest to win an entry to any U.S. Spartan Race!****

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Making it to the Start Line of a 30K Uninjured

Since I have a significant history of injury, I thought it might be nice to share how I managed to get myself back together, healthy, and ready to run a 30K in case it helps anyone else who is struggling with injury.

While I have been free of any true injuries this training cycle, I still had a few little things pop up here and there. Soreness in my left foot (where I thought I had a stress fracture), tightness/soreness in my left knee and some tightness in my right hip flexor. That said, it was all manageable and when I lined up for my 30K I was 100% pain/tightness/soreness/etc -free!

Here's what I think has been key to staying injury:

Chiropractic Treatments: I couldn't have gotten healthy without my chiropractor. Initially I saw her because I wanted an ART treatment, but she did/does all sorts of things-- I don't even know what category they all fall in to. I see her on average every three weeks (it's been every two weeks getting close to the race) and she is a miracle worker. I have even walked in to her office with a specific tight/ouchy spot and walk out 100% pain-free. Really. So if you have access to a good one, find a chiropractor! If you are in Seattle and want the name of mine, let me know and I will give you her info. She treats a lot of runners, including ultra runners.

Strength Training: Taking the time to strength train twice a week has been invaluable. Nothing fancy-- it's stuff I can do at home, like lunges, squats, push-ups, ab work. Using bosu and stability balls help bring an extra challenge to the workouts plus they help me work on my balance. I mix it up every workout to keep it interesting.

Specific Strength Exercises and Stretches: There are a handful of exercises I do because they were specifically given to me by my PT and chiropractor. I do these 4-5 times a week. Things like "monster walks" with an exercise band around my ankles and "dead bugs" which is for my core. 

Yoga: Doing yoga at least once a week has been fantastic. It stretches me out, improves my balance and strength and helps me work on my breathing. 

Foam Rolling: I foam roll and break out my yoga tune up balls 4-5 times a week. 

Self-Massage: My calves and feet get dug in to several times a week. When my plantar fascia is getting tight I immediately work on my calves-- seems strange, right? But it works! My chiropractor taught me this trick and she was right. 

Running on Trails: For real, my body has responded really well to the trails. In the past several weeks I have run over 75% of my runs on the trails and I don't feel totally wrecked after my long runs. 

Also, have you entered to win my Spartan Race giveaway? One free entry to any Spartan Race in the continental United States! Go enter! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Spartan Race Giveaway!

Contest is closed! Thanks everyone! Our winner was Jennifer! 

How lucky for you all, the very first giveaway I ever do on this here blog is for something very, very cool. A free entry in to a Spartan Race!

Spartan Race contacted me recently in hopes that I could help to get the word out about some of their upcoming races in November. If you are lucky enough to live in the Milwaukee, WI area (that's where I'm from, yay!) you can sign up for the Miller Park Sprint on November 1st. In the Dallas, TX vicinity? Maybe the Dallas Beast race on November 1st or Dallas Sprint on November 2nd look intriguing? Aaaaaaand there is always the Mississippi Sprint on November 8th if you like racing near the Gulf Coast. 

If you aren't familiar with Spartan Races, check out this video:

Inspiring, no?

I have never done a Spartan Race (waiting for them to come to the Seattle area! Rumor has it 2015 will be the year?) so I will leave it to them to explain exactly what a Spartan Race is about:

Spartan Race is on a mission to get you active, healthy, excited about change, and return to our ancient roots where running through woods, getting dirty, and facing adversity was part of everyday life. Our events are all about challenging today’s perception of normal.

Our events challenge the familiar, today’s perception of normal living and getting you out of your comfort zone! At Spartan Race, we do this everyday and it shapes everything we do.

Having experienced many different racing events, we wanted to make adventure racing more accessible to everyone, but do not be fooled by the word ‘accessible’, as our events have a challenge for everyone’s needs.

Spartan Race now introduces a level for everyone beginning with the entry level Spartan Sprint, intermediate level Super Spartan, the advanced Spartan Beast, and the ‘99.9% need not apply’ extreme level Death Race. 

Whatever your level, Spartan Race will test your strength, stamina, and sense of humor.

Active? Healthy? Running through the woods???? SOLD!

I love that Spartan Races come in several shapes and sizes to fit a wide range of ability (or ambition!).

*Sprint races are 3+ miles with 15+ obstacles
*Super races are 8+ miles with 20+ obstacles
*Beast races are 12+ miles with 25+ obstacles

The obstacles are things like jumping over fire, crawling under barbed wire, throwing objects, climbing over walls, carrying heavy objects, throwing spears (!), climbing ropes, MUD, and much, much more.

So are you ready to sign up for a Spartan Race? You can immediately use the code SPARTANBLOGGER to receive 10% off any race!

I am also giving away one entry to any Spartan Race in the continental United States! Exciting! To be entered in to the giveaway just leave a comment on this blog post. Make sure to either leave your email in your comment or comment with a registered account that links to your email address-- basically, I need to be able to contact you to tell you that you won! One entry per person.

You can also win a second free entry by tweeting a link to this post then returning here and leaving a second comment with your twitter handle. Use the link below to send your tweet!

Tweet: I just entered to win a free race entry to any @SpartanRace from @SybilRunsThings

The contest will close on October 31, 2014 at 10:00pm PST. I will randomly choose a winner and notify them within 48 hours of the contest closing as well as post the winner's name on my blog. The winner will need to respond to me to receive the information for the free race entry.

Disclosure: Spartan Race was gracious enough to provide me with a free race entry for one of you lucky readers in return for writing a blog post to promote their race series. I was not compensated in any other way.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Point Defiance 30K Race Recap

Several times after this race my ten year old daughter, Iris, said to me "mama I am so proud of you for reaching your goal". As a mother to two young girls, I feel like this is one of the most powerful things I can demonstrate to them: you can, in fact, do hard things. Do very hard things, even. You can set your mind to something, put in the work, and achieve your goals. And the bonus is, you can have an incredible time doing it. I mean, what good are goals if you can't enjoy some of the work along the way? I hope to help my girls see that the hard work of training for and running a race is something they can apply to any area of their lives. I hope the message is sinking in.

I have no idea if my girls will ever love to run as much as I do, but I can still be an example of being healthy, and strong, and working my ass off to reach what sometimes feel like unattainable goals.

Iris and I before the race.

On Sunday the 12th I ran the Point Defiance "30K". I say "30K" because it was actually more like 20 miles. My Garmin read the total distance as 19.85 miles and the website for the race states each loops is 16.6K, which is 10.3 miles and a total of 20.6 miles. So, anyways, I ran somewhere around 20 miles.

As the name would suggest, the race was held in Point Defiance park in Tacoma, WA. The race started at 8:00 am which made for an early morning for my family and me. We were out the door a bit after 6:00 am for the drive from Seattle to Tacoma. Parking and check in were easy. I felt relaxed and excited, and ready to run my little booty off. 

Matt got some sweet photos of the girls and I, then it was time to go.

At Owen's Beach ready to go!

The first couple of miles were very crowded and I found it tricky to determine where I wanted to be/needed to be. I kept moving ahead in the crowd until I found a comfortable spot to stay for a bit. The further we went along the more it thinned out and after the first bit the rest of the race it was smooth sailing.

The race had three distances, the 15K, 30K or 50K, which is one, two or three loops of the course. The course wound all over Point Defiance park and covered all sorts of terrain. Wide, well-groomed trail, narrow single track stretches, up a few easy hills then up Achilles Hill which was quite steep, but not too long.  We also ran on a small stretch of grass around the back of Fort Nisqually and there were a few short bits of running on the road. As we got to the edges of the park the views of the water/islands/bridge were amazing,Actually, the entire course was gorgeous and it was constantly twisting and turning, so if you didn't pay close attention to the pink ribbons on the course you would be easily lost!

I also have to mention Nelly's Gnarly Descent, which was so steep that there were two ropes to hang on to as you worked your way down the roots and dirt. I was worried that this steep descent would be very hard on tired legs at the end of each loop, but I actually really loved scrambling down it before "sprinting" to the finish line! 

Elevation profile for the 30K.

The first loop I felt incredible, almost invincible. I was running hard, but it felt comfortable and sustainable. I was drinking water and eating every 45 minutes. At the only aid station on the loop, which was about 5 miles in, I grabbed a cup labelled nuun, and the drink in it it was yellow, so I thought, yum, maybe grape nuun? Nope, it was MOUNTAIN DEW. Yuck, not what I expected! I tossed the cup in the trash and kept moving.  At the end of the first loop I was so excited to see my family. When I got to them I stopped for a bit, drank some (actual) nuun, and ate one of the fig newtons I had my family have ready for me. They walked with me for a bit as I headed out on my next loop. 

I *think* this was after the first loop. 
The girls are getting some use out of my race apparel! 

The second loop was much more difficult. The trails seemed empty and lonely! I ran for almost five miles before I caught up to anyone. There were a few people at the five mile aid station and luckily was around a few more runners for the rest of the race. 

In the second loop I did that thing where I reminded myself to be present in the mile I was in. Literally saying in my head "I am in mile 12. This is nice, I can do this mile" and so on and so forth. It worked though, and once I hit mile 16 I just got to repeat "holy crap, this is the farthest I have ever run!" over and over for the rest of the race. There was a section of the course near the end that was on the road, maybe 1/2 a mile or so before we dropped back in the woods towards Nelly's Gnarly Descent and every step on the road I thought about how much concrete stinks and I could never run a road marathon!

Right before the descent I was standing in the woods, looking around, and couldn't figure out where the pink flags were! No one was around me, and I panicked for a moment. It looked like I wasn't anywhere near a trail, but I moved forward a bit and found a flag that led me to the steep descent. After I made my way down it for the last time I could see the finish line. My girls were waiting for me to run me in and Matt was stationed to take pictures. There was definitely some joy in crossing that finish line, but mostly relief. OUCH. My legs hurt. I grabbed a drink and headed for the Puget Sound to sit down and take an ice bath. 

Running to the finish!

My Garmin time and the official results different a bit, but the chip timing said I finished in 3:54:16. 

I would absolutely run this race again and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a gorgeous fall race! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Trail Running for Beginners: Seward Park

Seward Park is in the Seward Park neighborhood of Seattle. It is located at 5895 Lake Washington Blvd. South. The dirt trails are on the interior of the peninsula that sticks out in to Lake Washington. A paved trail follows the outside of the peninsula. Both times I ran there I parked in the upper parking area, right by the black star on the map at trail #3.

Map from the site.

As a runner, I have run at Seward Park many, many times. The paved trail around the perimeter of the trail and it is a popular loop for runners as well as being a part of local races such as the Rock-n-Roll Marathon. It never occurred to me that there might be actual dirt trails inside the park, though. I didn't discover this until I was perusing the Northwest Trail Runs site and saw they do a trail race there! 

Being new to these trails, I printed out the map and brought it with me. The total mileage for trails in Seward Park is just 5.745, according to the site. If you are trying to fit in a run of a decent length you will find yourself doubling back over most of the trails.  

Some of the trails are wide and well-groomed, such as #1. Some of the trails are much more rugged, you will be jumping over roots and rocks, ducking obstacles. In my opinion, those trails are much more fun (see trail # 7)! I ran over a bridge or two and up a couple of steps, as well.

Garmin route from my run.

The trail does not have any major hills, though there are a few short spots that you might have to stop and hike up (I did!). 

Elevation from my run.

My first time on these trails was on a Monday mid-day. I saw just a handful of other hikers, the trails were very quiet. Well, except for the crows! The crows were having a party.

These trails would be perfect for a beginning trail runner who wants to try out trails that are a bit more technical without any risk of getting lost. Another bonus is that these trails are in the city, so for many of us city-dwellers, they are relatively close by!

Have you ever run the trails at Seward Park? Any other thoughts to add?

Check out my other posts in the Trail Running for Beginners series HERE

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: September 28- October 4

Taper week, woo hoo! I felt great on almost all of my runs this week, THANK GOODNESS. I was so nervous after how hard my 16 miler was. 

Total Miles Run: 23

Monday: 4 Miles Run

I ran at Seward Park and tried to throw in a few faster miles. I felt blah, but that is pretty standard for my Monday runs.

Tuesday: Strength

Wednesday: 6 Miles Run

I checked out a different part of the Grand Ridge Trail, it included a lot of climbing. Mostly I felt great and it was fun to see a new trail.

Elevation of Grand Ridge Trail run.

Thursday: 3 Miles Run and Strength

Simple out and back on a paved trail, nothing fancy. Strength was a quick run through:

*extension/flexion with a weight
*bicycle crunches
*plank with alternating leg abductions
*donkey kicks with exercise band
*lateral lunges
*squats with bicep curls

Friday: Yoga

Saturday: 10 Miles Run

This was a great run at Cougar! I did the whole thing by myself, which wasn't initially what I would have liked, but I ended up being really glad I had the chance to push through on my own. I felt so good, and finished the run a full minute per mile faster than the last time I did a 10 mile run at Cougar! This even included two very long and steep climbs at the end:

Elevation of Cougar Mountain run.

I am so glad I had a really successful long-ish run after the previous week's 16 miler that was so hard. It really helped boost my confidence going in to this weekend's race!

Sunday: Yoga (sort of)

Trying out a family yoga class with my girls, so while it's still yoga, it's not as "rigorous" as my usual class. 

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Saturday Long Run: Cougar Mountain Edition

Last week Saturday, September 27th, I ran my longest run ever, 16 miles. On the trails at Cougar Mountain it took three hours and forty-five minutes. HOLY CRAP. That is a very long time to run.

Stacey and I made plans to meet up again for another long run. I had to do 16, she had to do 24. We started at about 11:30 in the afternoon, which works because it is so much cooler in the woods! 

The day threw a few challenges in our path, though. A hilarious, or maybe not-so-hilarious, collection of events (including both of our Garmins dying) that held the ability to really put us off our game-- but, like Taylor Swift, we were able to shake it off and put one foot in front of the other. For 16 MILES!

The run was my second with a new hydration pack. The Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta felt perfect on my eight mile run earlier in the week, so I was confident wearing it for my 16 miler. Thankfully, I was right, the pack was/is AWESOME. I highly recommend it-- and maybe will do a bit of a review on it soon.  Not sure if I was just getting used to drinking from a hose, versus drinking from the bottles on my beloved waist belt, but I do think I under-hydrated. I ended up drinking one total liter during the whole run, and I definitely felt it. So that was a major lesson: drink more with the hydration pack!

Squinting in to the sun, not succeeding at hiding my exhaustion. 

So, anyways, we did two loops of the High Heels Running Group route. The first loop I initially felt great, but then started to lose stamina earlier than I thought I should have. I walked almost every hill, lagging behind Stacey who was running up everything (again: trail-eating BADASS). I mis-read the map, got us off track, finishing the first loop later than I planned. It threw off my rhythm and my eating plan. After a very quick stop at the car, it was back out for loop two. I gave myself a pep talk and was grateful for Stacey's energy to help carry me through. Luckily with some food and water, I was feeling better, the stamina was back. Unfortunately, my body felt the toll of the miles. I had a general idea of where we were mileage wise, but not having a working Garmin kept me (luckily) from slowly watching the distance tick by. When Stacey and I got back to the car we calculated, between dead Garmins and phones tracking the rest of the mileage, that we had about .4 more miles to do, so we ran the rest of it! An out and back down the driveway of the parking lot and then a lap around some horse trailers and we were D.O.N.E.

Matt and I at the end of my run.

My body really hurt when I was done. Not specific pain, like my knee or hamstring, just an all over deep ache and soreness. I got home and took an ice bath and eventually felt ready to go out to dinner. Everything still ached when I went to bed, and it was a pretty fitful night's sleep-- which is annoying following a long run!-- but surprisingly felt normal when I woke up. Had a very busy Sunday, which included a yoga class with my daughter, and my legs felt okay, So, I guess that is a good thing?

Since my mileage will now decrease until the 30K, I guess that means I am tapering. Woo hoo! Will admit that I am now pretty nervous about the race, My 14 (.6!) was tough, but the 16 was HARD. My hope right now is that the stars align for the race. My fueling will be spot on, my adrenaline will carry me through . . . and my feet will remain blister-free, haha. 

Monday, October 06, 2014

My 30K Training Plan

First things first: I am NOT an expert runner. In fact, I am the most injured runner I've ever known, so that should tell you something. I made my training plan up after consulting a couple of different sources, and threw together a plan that: A) fit my schedule, and B) fit my time-frame.

I was quite surprised that 30K training plans are hard to come by on the internet! So here's what I did: I looked at a marathon training plan, checked out when the long runs hit 18 miles, then laid out the long runs up to that point. Then I had an "oh shit" moment when I realized I had one less week than those marathon plans called for to run those runs and just cut one out and winged it with the rest. I asked around a little to make sure that my total mileage wasn't insanely low, and voila! A plan was born. Here are the last six weeks of the plan, I officially began training on Week 1's Wednesday-- it was my girls' first day of school! I didn't write down anything concrete up to that point because it was summer and my summer was all over the map for training. At Ragnar in July I ran 17 miles in two days, so I sort of considered that my actual starting point for building mileage.

1restrest7mi4mi + strengthyoga12miRest23 miles
24mistrength7mi3mi + strengthyoga14miRest28 miles
34mistrength5mi3mi + strengthyoga10miRest22 miles
44mistrength8mi4mi + strengthyoga16miRest32 miles
54mistrength6mi3 mi + strengthyoga10miRest23 miles
6yoga4mistrength3 miyogaRestRACE! 27 miles

As you can see, I mostly followed three main rules: two days of strength, one day of yoga, and my mid-length run was half the distance of the long run. Wait, four rules: my weekly mileage had to match (or just slightly exceed) my Saturday mileage. I wish I had time for swimming but my favorite pool's fall swimming schedule doesn't work with mine. So sad. So far I have followed this plan fairly closely, but not exactly.

There were two big things that concerned me going in to this training: First, I really did not know how long I had to run in training to be able to run a 30K. Knowing that someone can run a half marathon on a 10 mile long run, and a full marathon on a 20 mile long run, I figured a 16 mile long run should get me up to 20 miles in the race (I have heard the 30K race I am running is actually closer to 20 miles than 18.6). But being that it's a new distance for me, I am nervous! 

The second thing is not quite understanding how the long runs work when training for a trail race. Is a 12 mile trail run as good as a 12 mile road run in training if the trail run takes me an hour longer? After running my 12 miler on the road with some of my very favorite running buddies, I kind of got freaked out about doing any more long runs off the trail because trail running takes so, so, so much longer than road running, and I needed to have lots of time on my feet logged in order to survive this race!  

Speaking of time on feet . . . I posed this question to my new massage therapist, who also happens to train running groups. One of her suggestions to me was look at the race distance and elevation and difficulty and see if I can get an idea of how fast I can finish it in, then train using that time as the goal. An extremely hilly or technical trail race will take quite a bit longer than a flatter, less technical one. I don't know for sure, but I *think* the "30K" will take me about 4:00-4:15 to finish, so because of this I feel confident that I have done a long run that took 3:45.

Maybe when I make my next training plan I will do it in time and not miles?

The proof will come on October 12th on whether or not this plan worked! 

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Sept 22- Sept 28

My highest mileage week EVER. Wow. How exciting! I went in to this week feeling, well, not that good. I had a really hard long run the previous Saturday that left my quads just dead, plus there was a lingering soreness in my right hip flexor and left inner knee. I wasn't sure how I would do on Monday's run, but it went fine (other than walking a steep downhill instead of running it!). A massage on Monday helped, as did lots of foam rolling and self-massage at home. I also saw my chiropractor on Friday, which always helps. 

Total Miles Run: 32

Monday: 4 Mile Run

A sort of "get it done" run at Lincoln Park.

Tuesday: Strength

I wore ankle weights and did 50 each of:

*extension/flexion with an 8 lb weight
*crunches on bosu 
*plank with leg abduction
*dead bugs (no ankle weights for this one!)
*single leg squats
*donkey kicks
*bosu push-ups
*side lunges on the bosu

Wednesday: 8 Mile Run

A very fun, and wet!, run at Bridle Trails State Park.

Thursday: 4 Mile and Strength

Did this run on my ol' favorite paved trail. Strength workout was:

*crunches with weight
*bent over rows with weight
*windshield wipers
*chest presses with weight
*lunges with overhead tricep extension
*marching bridges
*tae bo kicks with weight
*single leg deadlifts
*dead bugs
*lateral raises with squat
*donkey kicks with band

Friday: Yoga

Saturday: 16 Mile Run

I will write more about this run. Whew. It was a doozy. I did it on the trails at Cougar Mountain and it took 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Sunday: Rest

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Trail Running for Beginners: Bridle Trails State Park

As part of my new series reviewing Seattle area running trails, I visited Bridle Trails State Park. 

According to the  Bridle Trail State Park Foundation website, Bridle Trails State Park is 482 acres with a total of 28 miles of trails. The park is located just off of I-405 in Kirkland, WA.

One thing to note: you need a Discover Pass to park in the parking lot and can buy a day pass on site. 

Another thing to note: The trails are all used by horses. Familiarize yourself with etiquette regarding sharing the trail with horses-- the main things being, the horses have the right of way and when you come upon a horse and rider, stop and step off to the side of the trail and "make your presence known". You can do this simply by saying hello to the rider, or they will say hello to you! Every rider I passed during my run was very friendly.

The first time I was at Bridle Trails I came across about eight other walkers or runners and six horses/riders. That run was mid-day on a Wednesday in early September, the trails were almost totally dry, and the weather started out overcast and ended sunny (though the trails are completely shaded).

Trail map below is from the Bridle Trails State Park Foundation website. I printed a map and brought it with me, which I think is a good idea for any new trail you may explore! Since I already had one, I didn't check if there were maps to use on-site. 
Download or Print a Trail Map

Bridle Trails has three main trails. While there I ran the Coyote Trail first, then the Raven Trail, then while running the Trillium Trail I darted off on to smaller, unmarked trails. All of the trails had many, many piles of horse poop on them, which was a little gross, but I guess that's how it works when you share the trails with horses! 

After parking in the Bridle Trails parking lot you need to walk a very short ways up to the trail head. From there you can follow the signs for the three main trails. The main trails are wide and well-groomed dirt with little elevation gain (my Garmin showed 483 feet total for my 8.3 mile run). Every once in a while I would come across a very short stretch where the trail was covered with gravel. All three trails are well-marked if you follow them clock-wise from the trail head.

Elevation results from my run.

The Coyote Trail closely follows most of the perimeter of the park. There are many places where you can see houses, or the street, or hear noise from the neighborhood. When you are more in the interior of the park it is as if you are miles away from civilization, however. 

I ran about five miles on the main trails before I decided to try out some of the smaller trails. The smaller trails are a lot of fun, there are lots of roots to jump over and twists and turns to make. While I won't say it is impossible to get lost (ahem), all of the smaller trails start and, as long as you are running towards the center of the park, also end on a main trail. Some of the smaller trails will end up on a road next to the park, so you could just turn around and head back in in that case. As long as you have a good idea of where you are when you end back up on a main trail, you will be okay. I got turned around coming off of a few of the smaller trails and ended up adding on over a mile to my run because I wasn't headed the direction I thought I was!

My route from my Garmin.

Bridle Trails seems like it would be a great park for beginning trail runners and more experienced trail runners alike. If you want the feel of a trail without the obstacles (other than horse poop) just stick to the main trails. If you are adventurous and want more of a challenge of roots and logs and twists and turns, get lost in the interior of the park!

As far as running events, it looks like Seattle Running Club has put on races at Bridle Trails. That might be a really fun event! 

For more Trail Running for Beginners post, visit HERE.

Have you ever run at Bridle Trails State Park? Any other thoughts or tips to share?