On the run: Rookie mistakes | AspenTimes.com

On the run: Rookie mistakes

ASPEN – Since Sunday was Father’s Day and I happen to be a father, my wife and kids gave me a yard pass.

Sure, I could have enjoyed a relaxing and equally frustrating day of fishing or army golf (left, right, left). I opted for a trail run instead.

There’s a huge difference between trail running – and by that I mean lots of vertical and high alpine terrain – and road running. Sorry, but the Rio Grande Trail, while technically a trail, falls in the road-running department. The difference is as distinguishable as baseball and softball.

So I set off from my home to Sunnyside Trail, and by the time the radio tower was reached, I was feeling pretty decent. I was judicious in my consumption of my 12 ounces of Powerade and didn’t dip into it until 90 minutes in.

Running smart has never been my forte, however. And it wasn’t this day, either.

Rookie mistake No. 1: Relying on one bottle of fluids to get you through a long trail run in the June heat. Just plain dumb. Use a CamelBak, as cumbersome as it may be, or something similar, and refuel every 15 minutes like those running magazines with the J. Crew cover models tell you to do.

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Had I adhered to that simple rule, it’s likely I would not have become disoriented with prolonged spells of dizziness about one hour, 45 minutes into the run.

Rookie mistake No. 2: I kept running. But somewhere along the way my poor judgment yielded to my good senses, which historically emerge during those stints of intolerable discomfort. “Quit being so hard headed. Sit down and take five or whatever you need to feel normal.”

I did just that. It provided a second wind, and I was able to eventually find my way, along with the company of a half-dozen psychotic horseflies, to the Hunter Valley – no thanks to the unmarked meandering bandit trails, which make for confusing times if you only do this Sunnyside death march once or twice a summer like I do.

Some 3 1/2 hours later, I made it to the Hunter Creek trailhead, my wife patiently waiting in her air-conditioned vehicle with a cold bottle of Powerade – on sale for 69 cents at City Market! – at my disposal.

One would think that after more than a decade of running the local trails, I’d have the sense to actually be prepared. One would think. But perhaps this account will prevent other runners from committing the same mistakes I did.

Now where’s that fishing pole?

rcarroll@aspentimes.com