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Day After Christmas Shopping or Trail Running….

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner for the Free Entry into the Cleveland Marathon…Drumroll please…..The winner is….Stephanie!!!! Stephanie shoot me an email at mojamala2blog@gmail.com and I will hook you up!

Stephanie says:  

i did the 1/2 last year, but after running the marathon in hawaii, i have the itch to do another one. would love to run in my hometown :-)

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The day after Christmas for most people includes shopping and returning gifts. I got coal for Christmas and that’s kind of hard to return. I’m kidding. I had a very nice Christmas, no coal and everything I got was perfect so no need to return. But really I heard there was a group of people doing a trail run the day after Christmas and we all know I would rather run than shop (Total girl fail).

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So Pretty!

A couple of my #dirtyrunner friends were going Kali, Beal, Jeffrey, Allison, Kristy, Ryan and Mason (if you are unfamiliar with the Dirty Runners I will post about that in a few weeks and catch you up) and I thought it would be fun to go for a long run after Christmas. I had no idea there would be such a large turnout!

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Yes that is the same picture, I love black and white photos but with such a large group it is hard to pick people out so I posted the color photo as well. Free hug if you can actually find me in that group picture 😉

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Yay running uphill on a road 🙂

So when I heard about the run I was so excited that I missed the fact that it was a trail run. Which is fine, I just wasn’t prepared for all the mud. This was probably the muddiest trail run I have ever been on too.

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That's me bringing up the rear

Not only was it a very muddy run but it was also very hilly. I always forget about all the hills while trail running. One of the best things about this run, besides hanging out with running friends, was the beautiful waterfalls. Who knew these actually existed in Ohio…probably everyone but me.

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Allison was brave enough to climb down and take a picture with me….but I made her go first just in case I needed help climbing down 😉

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That's me in the blue, enjoy the shot of my rear

Funny the above picture shows me climbing, hmm, pretty sure I was supposed to be running and not mountain climbing. Either way it was still fun playing outside. Even if I did eventually fall in the mud and covered my entire backside, and even if a couple times I had to run through rivers and got pretty wet and even if I got lost because I didn’t know the trails very well. Yep, still was fun.

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Brandywine falls

 I had a ton of fun trail running but I realized that some of my running friends are not quite fans of trail running. I will say that it is very different from road running. It will not be something I do all the time but a few times a year I will definitely be out there. Hopefully, I can drag my non trail running friends back out for another run, maybe when the weather clears up and it’s a little less muddy. And one day I will remember to bring a change of shoes after trail running.

If you are interested in doing more trail running check out Western Reserve Trail Runners. They have a ton of races already scheduled for the year.

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NERC Cross Country Series – $3 for a 5K

I am not kidding, this 5K only costs me $3.

This race is conducted on 3 consecutive Tuesdays in August. I missed the first one but was glad I made it for the second one and hopefully the third one.

It is a cross country style race and mostly high school students who run it. So I was feeling pretty old until one girl asked me what high school I went to, bah hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahah!

Me: Well 10 years ago I went to _ _ _ _.

High School Girl: Oh really?

Me: hahahahahahahaha I’m old.

The course is Cross Country meets Trail Race….or maybe it is all cross country, I wouldn’t really know. Basically, there is a lot of grass running, gravel trail running, very little pavement running, running across bridges (my fav), slippery wooden plank thingys, nice downhill in the middle of mile 2 and huge killer uphill finish. The killer uphill finish is what is bringing me back for next week and also the chance to run the same course again to see if I can beat my time!

While my goal was to run under 23, I ended up running 23:52 (or something like that) I ran hard, it’s a tough course and you get trapped in between high schoolers which can be frustrating.

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Oh I should mention, no t-shirts, no bibs (unless you count the orange ribbon you pin to yourself), this race is not chip timed, when you cross the finish line you are given a popsicle stick with your number on it and you take it to a table where they magically calculate your time and age group place. I got second in my age group! Holla!

So if you are looking for a race to do next Tuesday or if you just want to stalk me you can find me here!

P.S. There is also a 1 mile that starts after the 5K finishes. Going to try and talk my sister into doing that one!

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More Trail Running

After Saturday’s not so stellar debut into trail running. I went back to the same trail on Sunday morning. I decided I needed to beat up those trails and make them my b*tch best friend (yes I beat people into being my friend). I also needed to run the trail again so that I didn’t forget where to go.

I didn’t take pictures for most of the first mile (because I was too busy climbing monster hills) which is probably a good thing since There are way too many photos in this post. I will try to make up for it and limit my babbling.

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Manchild is way faster than me, which was nice because I was able to limit the amount of guza (butt) pictures in this post and let you all enjoy the scenery.

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If you cannot tell from the pictures, there was a lot of hill climbing and even jumping over a few logs.

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More stairs than I would like to remember. Believe it or not, I did not take a picture of every stair I went up and down.

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I wish I would have taken more pictures of the bridges I ran over. There were 3…I think.

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Somewhere around here I was sprinting because of the Canton Mountain Lion sighting…just kidding (although I did keep an eye out for him). I sprinting for real because I was getting stung/bit by these mutant bee-wasp-like flying things (technical term).

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Enjoy the view 😉 also my new header!

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Fun fact: to run around the lake is 1 mile. I see mile repeats here in my future. Not so fun fact: that tunnel smells like pee.

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This picture is a giant hill but all the green doesn't really help my camera skills

I got lost at the end and didn’t know which way to go so I climbed the biggest hill I could find and from the top I could see my car! I had a map but I didn’t know how to read it (I am being serious).

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I had mud up to my knees!

I had fully intended on posting the elevation from my garmy on this post but I forgot…again. So if in my next post there is a random elevation post then you know why.

Anyone out there a trail runner?

Oh and if you missed it I was named one of Cleveland’s Most Interesting Tweeps!

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Muddy Paws Trail Race

In case you missed my tweets after the race this morning, it did not go as planned and I ended up only doing the 5-mile portion. I had intended on doing the 10-mile portion. S0 here is what happened.

Alarm went off at 4:30am (ugh super early), I rolled out of bed at 4:47am, got dressed, put my hair up, ate a power bar (cookies and cream), chugged water and left to drive to peninsula at 5:30am.

I have been to Peninsula, OH maybe 3 times in my life so I was relying heavily on my garmin (car GPS not my watch GPS) to get me there. After almost an hour drive my Gamin told me I was there. I certainly was not there, I was on some random road and could see no park entrance or signs nearby. I drove on for a couple miles and decided I was heading in the wrong direction and would need to turn around. Except the first place I found to turn around was the place I needed to be! What are the chances. Arrival time 6:15am.

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Pine Hollow Trail at the Cuyahoga National Park

When I arrived it was raining, not pouring just raining but the sun was also just beginning to come out and there were not a lot of clouds so I was sensing it would stop soon.

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Early Morning Sunrise

So I went and picked up my packet, which consisted of a race shirt and bib. The shirt is easily a new favorite of mine ( I am actually wearing it right now, love it!)

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After I grabbed my packet I waited in my car until about 7am to seek shelter from the rain. But I got brave and left my car at just in time to see the start of the 2-mile dog run. I may or may not have been creeping on dogs and picking out the ones I would like to have.

Finally, at about 7:30 my race was set to begin. I headed down to the start area which consisted of climbing down a giant hill…..which would be the start of many hills I would need to climb Sad smile 

At this point of this post I need to let you know that I am not an experienced trail runner. Most of the trails I have “trained” on are flatish and gravel (no grass or hills). The only trail race I have ever done was only 4 miles and consisted of 1 dirt hill.

When the race started it was different from the road races I am used to. Everyone was really relaxed and most of us were single file as the race started. I trudged up that first hill and was surprised that people were walking up it, it was the first hill of the race, how could people be walking. After the first hill we ran across a grassy area and then entered the woods where the real trail running would begin.

I instantly loved running in the woods. It was a challenge, there were roots everywhere and the ground was pretty wet and muddy from the morning thunderstorms we had. My pace instantly slowed down while in the woods. I had to pay so much attention to everything around me. I even ditched my headphones for this race.

The first mile felt like it took forever. It was probably one of my fastest miles of the race but it was very hilly and made me pretty tired. However, it only got hillier after that. By mile 2 I had no idea how I would tackle those hills a second time. I was having trouble picking up my legs high enough and not trip over roots and such.

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After running through more puddles and going up and downstairs and climbing over trees that were down on the course I was barely at 3 miles. I remained positive and ignored the times that my garmy was telling me and pushed on. By mile 4 I was seeing a lot of people walking. It was only a 10 mile race how could you be walking at mile 4 already. Not gonna lie, I wished I was walking my legs were feeling incredibly heavy.

I made a deal with myself at this point that if I could finish the first 5 mile portion without walking that I could take walk breaks on the hard sections of the race for the second half. Unfortunately, when I got to about mile 4.6 I decided that I was done and that the trails had got the best of me. I was beat. I crossed the finish line and hung my head and sadly walked away in defeat.

I was highly disappointed in myself for only doing the 5 mile portion. I avoided talking to any other runners after the race because I was so upset. As I slowly made my way back to the finish area I talked with some other runners who had also switched and did the 5 instead of the 10. Talking with them made me feel a lot better that I was not the only one who wimped out and I was not alone in feeling guilty for not doing the 10 mile.

I also received this tweet that really made my day and made me feel 110% better! Thanks Roxetta!

@MojaMala2 Don’t feel bad! At least you got out and did it. Trail running is tough! That’s why they always have the option to stop early! 

My official time for the race is not posted yet but my garmy tells me it was about 56 mins. I usually run around 37 mins for a road race 5 miler so that tells you just how hard it was.

Justin wins the Beast award for this race because he took of and rocked the entire race and completed the 10 mile portion!

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Justin on his way to a strong finish!

Moja wins the Safety award for taking all precautions on the trails.

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Safety First!

While running this race I highly questioned ever running a trail race again. however, I have decided I need to practice my trail running and need to get my revenge on this race and try out some other trail races. These things are super tough and I love me a good challenge.

Now I am off to run a 5K in one of my favorite neighborhoods, Lakewood! So yes I am running 2 races in 1 day, yes I am crazy, yes I am loving every minute of it!

Have you ever ran 2 races in 1 day? how about 2 races in 1 weekend?