A different sport, entirely.

I ran a local trail race this morning. It was a half marathon through a forest preserve. It sounded fun - and it was fun - but wow, that was hard. I've always been told trail running was much tougher than road running. How could it be? It's still running?

Oh. Silly, me.

We're talking hiking trails, mud, tree roots sprouting from the dirt, sand, grass, steep hills in the woods, uneven paths. My body was con-fused. It's so used to pavement and flat roads, rolling hills.

It was so tough. I was spent. By mile nine.

Trail running forces your body to use different muscles. Muscles to keep yourself steady on uneven ground, muscles for hiking up steep inclines and plowing through sand. It's also more difficult to trudge through grass.

The experience was a lot like my high school cross country days, only harder. And many more miles. I really enjoyed it, but it was by far the most difficult race I've run (minus, of course, San Francisco). I even took a couple walk breaks out of utter exhaustion, which I've never had to do during a half marathon.

It all took a toll on my finishing time, but I gave up on breaking any records about 11 minutes into the race. I finished in 2:04. Not bad, considering, I suppose.

I've got another half marathon next weekend, which I'm running solely for the finishers medal and a lap around Lambeau Field, and the following weekend is my first marathon of the year.

Between the running and the LOST marathons (halfway through season two, by the way), there's really not much time for anything else. Like working. Looks like I have to retire.

Darn.