I did my first ever trail run in 1999. I lived by this beautiful park in the Bronx, New York, and I’d been running the entire summer. I signed up for a 10km race with no idea it was a trail race. I thought we would start out in the park and eventually end up on the road, but we just kept going deeper and deeper into the park on all these hiking trails. I loved it immediately. Even though it was harder, and I was much, much slower than I had been that entire summer, I really enjoyed essentially hiking at a faster pace and covering more distance.
I tripped on a root and face-planted, but somehow I just popped right back up. I guess I was so stunned I had fallen that I just got back up and kept going like I was on autopilot. On the second loop of the race I face planted in exactly the same spot and again just popped back up, wiped the dirt off me and kept going.
I thought, ‘Okay, I fell but I didn’t die’, and it actually felt kind of badass. That might actually have been what sold me on trail running. When I finished I was sore in all these new places and really tired and hungry, but I was so happy I had done something new and came out the other side. I’ve since done 11 ultra marathons and 14 regular marathons.