The idea of trail running has been stewing in my mind for some time now, but I keep finding excuses to keep putting it off. I don’t have trail running shoes, and why buy them if I am not sure if I will use them? I might hurt myself by falling or twist an ankle, and put my road races in jeopardy. The inclines…..
Then graduate school ended, and I made a proclamation to do the things that I put off because I didn’t have enough time. This coincided with the delivery of a Runner’s World Special: The Trail, which had an article entitled “No More Excuses”, which I am pretty sure they published just for me.
- Excuse #4: It’ll disrupt my training or race schedule
To which they say, “On the contrary, mixing in wilderness workouts with your regular road or race training can make you stronger, more well-rounded, and even healthier. Plus, you’ll never get bored. At the end of the day, you can run longer and have fewer aches and pains on the softer terrain of trails. What’s more, even though trail running is easier on your body, it will actually strengthen neglected parts and work a wider range of muscles.”
- Excuse #5: I don’t have the right gear
“For your first few outings on the trail, you don’t need much beyond what you’d wear on the road: seat-wicking clothes and running shoes. Road shoes are fine for a short run to see if you like it, if you end up wanting to spend more time on the trail, it’s worth investing in trail shoes.”
The article voided my excuses and pushed me out the door. Last weekend I ran some trails up on Tantalus mountain, but I am still trying to find a good route up there, so I will talk about it later. Today I headed out to Manana Trail, which is above Pearl City on the Leeward side of Oahu. To get there you take the H1 and get off on the Pearl City/Waimalu exit, turn right on Moanalua Rd. at the end of the ramp, right on Waimano Home Rd., then left onto Komo Mai Rd. and follow it until the end and park on the residential street.
The trail starts out nice, wide, and wooded.
You do a little climbing, a little descending. It is nice and shaded, but look out for the tree roots. Eventually you emerge onto the top of the ridge.
And as you proceed along the ridge, the trees give way to grass which allows for amazing views of the summit, Waianae Mountains, the ocean, and Pearl Harbor.
This open grassy section was so cool to run through because it is very atypical of most mountain ridges, which are either covered in trees and/or ferns. There was also no huge elevation gains or drops and it made for very nice running.
After about 2.25 miles there is a really nice covered picnic table, then at 2.5 miles the part of the maintained trail ends and the trail has much more ups and downs as it snakes along the ridge towards the summit. I went beyond the sign for about .5 mile and couldn’t run on much of the section. I also fell pretty hard on a descent because I was wearing my road running shoes (the only injury I sustained was to my arm, so it’s all good). If I go any further next time I will be sure to have proper trail running shoes, but the 2.5 mile out and back, making it about 5 miles total was totally sufficient and enjoyable.
I love, love, loved this trail and look forward to running on it again soon!