Introducing the Young'uns to Trailrunning

We took the kids out yesterday on a recovery run after Wednesday's race and someone thought it would be un to play on the verge of land between the 1st Street houses and the river. We didn't do much of a warm-up, just some light stretching mixed with intermittent shrieking when a largish spider was noted by one of the girls. She didn't do the shrieking - Carmen did. Meanwhile, the boys harassed the spider up the tree. Natch.

We also had flopping, sprinting for the beach, and all the signs that the kids needed to run. Like a puppy that just gets more energy the fitter it gets, the kids  keep getting fitter and the extra energy needs an outlet. Running helps - except they get fitter still.

Anyway, we got the kids moving, me running toward the front and Coach Cowdrey keeping an eye on the back of the pack. Maia and Carmen started up a song while they ran while Sam reverted to ‘mountain bike’ mode, chasing up and down the little bumps and dirt mounds. Everyone else pretty much just ran easily.

When the lead group reached the osprey nest, I gave them a choice – keep going and we’d play on trails or head back and maybe do some drills.

Out we went.

I had already planned to pick up the trails out in the bird sanctuary. At the beginning of the season, I only had two girls ready to handle the extra mileage. On this run, eight of the kids made it. They looked a little stunned when I mentioned to them that we had reached our original turn-around point from the second day of practice and we had plenty more time to play.

We crosses the ditch the Corps of Engineers dug, I guess to help salmon, walking across the large watermelon-sized river rock. Once on the other side, I led them out, dodging around the scrub trees, under limbs, between saplings.

They kids loved it. “It’s real trailrunning!” came drifting up. We came out of the small wooded section into the sunlight and ran for a few more minutes before it was time to head back. None of the kids wanted to turn back for the school, a clear sign that the run was a success.

There were some adventures. Coach Cowdrey and the group behind me found a rattlesnake. Wisely, no one poked at it. Still, Coach Cowdrey had them turning a little early and then went to join up with us. To avoid the snake, we came back along the alleys. I had the group that wore down and we walked back in – the kids discovered that trailrunning is a little tougher on the legs and got tuckered out a bit faster.

All in all, we arrived at the school two minutes late, a bit dusty, a bit sweaty, and happy.