I ran the 2nd Annual Tokachi Millennium Forest Trail Run (my translation) on Sunday.
It was 18 kilometers of up and down, mud, rocks, biting flies, mini ravines, water crossings, and bear bamboo grass, called "sasa" here. (kuma zasa)). Luckily(?) I was able to keep out of most of the mud. But the sasa is another problem. They cut out some new trail for the run which left the cut sasa at about 5 cm to 10 cm tall. It was like running on .... what? The sasa stalks are strong enough that they may or may not be crushed when you run on them. And they are hollow like straws. My new shoes have little round circles and cuts all over the soles where there is no rubber and just foam. Depending on your shoes, I can imagine that some people got cut by the grass stalks.
The terrain was all hills with only a few "flat" spots that only lasted 10 to 20 meters or so. Steep uphill climbs and long down hills with a section of mini ravines where event staff were posted to make sure you didn't fall head over heels into them. You had to either jump over them or gingerly climb in and out of them. One had a rope on both ends for climbing into and out of it.
Some areas were covered with grass and golf ball sized lava rock that was for the most part, hidden under the grass.
This was only the 3rd time I've ever run on a trail but it was great fun and a great challenge.
My time was much better than I expected. I don't know if that was because of the downhills or if perhaps, it wasn't actually 18 km. But since the course was different from the previous run of this event, it is hard to compare.
No pictures as I ran without a camera or phone. Sorry, but the view from the top of the mountain there was spectacular.
My legs felt like jello at the half way mark, which was the only distance marker, and my quads were sore by the finish. Today my quads, my shins, my calves and even the bottom of my feet are sore! The bottom of my feet haven't been sore in a long time.
During the downhills I could tell how having a strong core is important. That is my weak spot. Need to work on that.
If they didn't charge for access to the trails I'd drive out there for more regular runnings on the trails. What great exercise. You don't get a work out like that on the road! If only there were some trials nearby.
I hope everyone else had a great weekend. I did.