DC May Mappy Hour

See more Mappy Hour photos here.

Mud and miles were the themes at Tuesday’s DC Mappy Hour, the first of our Summer Series with The North Face.

To kick off the night, TNF Local Chris Chern led a group on a 4-mile run down the C&O Canal Towpath. We dodged puddles (or ran right through them, in some cases) and angry geese before returning to The North Face with muddy legs and new running buddies. (It turns out three weeks of rain makes for some muddy trails — good thing mud is fun to splash in!)



At The North Face store, we enjoyed post-run tonics, coconut water, and sandwiches as we mingled with Mappy Hour regulars and newcomers. Then, it was time for some inspiration.

A panel of local trail and ultrarunners: Chris of TNF, Wookie Kim (ask him about his national park adventures), and Erin Brown, talked about how they came to love trail running and the literal and figurative ups and downs of the sport.


Why trail running? Our panelists all told similar stories of coming to trail running because they were looking for a new challenge, or wanted to try ultras, which tend to be on trails. But once they found trail running, they were swept up by the supportive, welcoming community, the adventure, and, of course, the views.

Where do you find trails in the city? Sure, we don’t have mountains to run up here in DC, but we do have Rock Creek Park, plus smaller trails throughout the city (Glover Archbold, etc.). Or, there are some awesome trails at Great Falls, if you have a car.


What about when I can’t get to the trails? No problem, our panelists said. Any running helps, when you’re training for a long race. Chris told us that he often run commutes home from work–a casual 14 miles. (Wookie had actually run commuted to Mappy Hour.) The panelists also talked about the benefits of back-to-back long runs on weekends, too — doing 20 miles Saturday and again on Sunday, for example.

What if I can’t run that many miles? You can still run an ultra! All the panelists advocated cross-training, and Erin noted that she has trained for 100-mile races on less than 50 miles per week because she supplements running with crossfit and high intensity interval training.


And if you get injured… Listen to your body, and stop running. “Never underestimate your body’s ability to heal itself with rest,” Wookie said. It might mean missing a race, but a couple months of swimming or biking to let yourself heal will pay off in the end.
What if it’s too hard?: It will be, at times. Our panelists recounted the glory of finishing their first ultras, and laughed as they shared stories of DNFs. Chris told us how during his first ultra it rained and hailed and was basically as miserable as it could get. Panelists talked about injuries they’ve sustained and times it has been really hard. Yet, they stay with the sport because, as Erin said, “it’s like a party in the woods.”


After the panel, TNF raffled off two awesome raincoats, and we all headed to Old Glory to talk trail running and other adventures. Thanks to all who joined — and thanks especially to our panelists, who made us all want to run further and train harder. Hope to see you all June 8, when we’ll be back at TNF to talk about climbing!

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