The Occasional Hazards of Running Trails

I've enjoyed running local trails for over 15 years and am on them almost every day, barring rain and mud. A majority of my mileage is on trails and I enjoy the variety, the peace and quiet, the scenery and the chance of spotting wildlife, like a coyote off in the distance.

For the last few years I've been carrying my camera with me when I run so that when something photo-worthy appears, I'll be ready. Kind of a hassle for sure, in that the camera is not light, and I hold it in one of my hands (switching off to the other hand from time to time).  But occasionally it comes in handy.

This year, 2014, so far I've managed to trip and fall on the trails not once, not twice, but THREE times. I'm not talking a simple trip and catch myself, but a full on, snag my shoe on something, then topple almost flat on my face fall.

No, this is not a pile of poop on the trail. It is a root sticking out of the ground, I believe a remnant from damage done by the Springs Fire of 2013.

This has never happened to me before. Ever. Never have I fallen flat on my face before while running on any surface, and I've run all types of surfaces and have run and raced trails like Bulldog at Malibu Creek, the Catalina Marathon and all around town.

Mostly just scrapes and cuts from my latest encounter with the ground on a trail run.The other day was the worst of my three trip-and-falls. I was running along, la la laaaa, thinking of all the exciting workday activities, when, BAAAMMM, I was down. My right foot snagged either a rock or a root, and I had no time to react. But I did manage to get my right arm on the ground before my head, which saved my face, but got my right arm pretty good. Just scrapes and a little blood. Nothing broken. There were some minor scrapes and scratches on my shin and lower back. THANKFULLY my knees and face were spared.

After my body finished sliding, I got up, assessed the damage, picked up my camera (held in a case, so it was safe, unlike my body), and ran home.

So WHY does this keep happening? I'm almost afraid to continue running on trails because next time I may do some more serious damage.

I think it is one of, or a combination of, three things. I've noticed that the Saucony shoes I currently wear feel slightly too big. I have to re-tie them more often than most shoes I wear to make them more snug. I suspect that this is the main shoes are too big and they are snagging things on the trails and damn near killing me.

But perhaps the other issue is that I'm carrying this camera around, looking around for nice shots. Maybe I should be looking at the trail more and the surroundings least when the trails are rocky and technically challenging. That would make sense now, wouldn't it?

Lastly though, I'm turning 50 in a few months. Maybe I'm, well, just getting OLD. Yes, maybe I'm not lifting my legs up as much when I run (which actually is a good thing on the roads, as it is more efficient). Maybe I'm going blind (well to some degree I am, after dealing with a detached retina a few years ago and its impact on my eyesight). Maybe I'm just going senile.

Or perhaps it could be all of the above. I dunno, but I'm gonna continue running those trails until it kills me. Probably. Literally.

In the meantime, time for some new shoes.