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Trail running a possibility for local athletes (video)

By Julie Garcia
Sept. 24, 2013 at 4:24 a.m.

Surrounded by trees and plains grass Leana Elliot and Missy Janzow run along the nature trail in Riverside Park, a course they use for triathlon training.

When looking for an off-pavement excursion, a Crossroads runner may run into a few roadblocks.

The major one being that there aren't many options to choose from when running trails in Victoria.

"There's potential for a trail around the PumpHouse (at Riverside Park), down by the river," local runner Missy Janzow said. "It would be great for a mountain biking trail, too."

Janzow ran cross-country in high school and college and fell in love with the thrill of natural running trails.

"What I love about trail running is that you know you're a part of nature; you don't know what's around the next corner," she said.

The concrete sidewalk that winds around Riverside Park is a good resource for runners. A 6-mile loop can be plotted around the park with sights including the golf course, the nature trail and duck pond/gazebo area.

But for any distance runners, hitting the pavement daily can put pressure on the knees, hips and ankles. After a while, pressure becomes pain, which can lead to long-term injury.

"Mixing in trail running is good for the body," Janzow said. "It's more difficult - you pick up your knees more. It's almost like sprinting."

Unlike a road or a track where it's easy to know where the next step will land, running on a trail requires the runner to be more aware of surroundings.

"You have to look for roots, snakes and be cautious of the next step," she said. "Don't wear headphones or earbuds on isolated trails."

According to Janzow, the closest trail running opportunity is within Riverside Park at the corner of Red River and Bluff Streets.

"Trail running is easier on the joints - it's not so foreign for the body so it's easier for beginners."

Edna's Brackenridge Recreation Complex is one of the closest places to run trails, with opportunities to run a 10-mile loop.

"It's about experiencing it; it's not about going from A to B," Janzow said. "You're out in nature, on the trail, destressing; you're off the beaten path."

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