5 Reasons To Fall In Love With Trail Running

It’s no secret to most of you that I have fallen in love with trail running. I have been running (roads) for 12+ years now and really have had no interest or desire to attempt trail running. I’ve always enjoyed walking and hiking in the woods, but the idea of running just sounded like a terrible idea ….you know, twisted ankles, banged up knees and elbows or even worse, a broken bone. So how does one get from fear of trails to love of trails? Well, it’s quite simple my dear running friends …you just take a deep breath, step outside of your comfort zone, lace up your running shoes (be sure to double knot them) and hit the trails. Just like anything else in life, running trails are not for everyone …but how would you know unless you give it a try? Reasons to Fall in Love with

5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Trail Running:

 

1. For the Love of Nature

Most runners love the great outdoors and would rather run in the rain than to have to crank out their miles on a treadmill. They love to feel the wind in their face and even better when it’s at their back! They enjoy running in parks, alongside rivers and lakes. Imagine all the things you love about running outside, multiply that times ten and that is what you get with trail running. It is literally an assault on the senses. You don’t just see trees nearby, you are running among them. You can reach out and touch them as the trail twists and turns all around them. The sounds of birds chirping, owls hooting and squirrels chattering are all around you and occasionally you may even hear a tree fall in the distance. The smell of fresh pine trees, dirt and mud only adds to the experience and helps to cover the smell of sweat permeating from your body. It truly it the most peaceful of running experiences.

2. For the Love and Fear of all Creatures …Big and Small

Sure, one can see creatures while road running, but your chances are much greater on the trails. There is just something so satisfying about seeing a couple of deer grazing nearby then disappearing into the brush as quickly as you spotted them or catching a glimpse of a sly red fox lurking in the distance and cute little bunny rabbits hopping through the woods. Of course, there are frightening creatures as well ….snakes, spiders, swarms of yellow jackets, but trust me when I say, this only adds to the excitement of trail running!

3. For the Love of Slower Paces and Walk Breaks

It’s a fact of trail running ….your pace will be slower than normal. Yes, there will always be faster trail runners than you, but I guarantee that even their fast trail running pace is slower than their road running pace. So, if you are like me and have found your pace slowing down to a snail’s pace as you’ve reached the golden years, you will be in good company out on the trails. There are plenty of fellow snail paced runners out there (as well as actual snails) who could care less about speed, pace, finish times, PR’s or even if their Garmin marks their miles accurately. They are usually more interested in when and where the next hill is so they can take a walk break. Yes, it’s true.  I know it’s hard for most road runners to comprehend since most of us, if we’re  honest, see walk breaks as a weakness. Trail runners embrace them and use them as a means to an end ….they are what allows them to complete 50k’s, 50 and even 100 mile races. One fellow ultra runner told me that, in his opinion, once you have reached the point of exhaustion, it actually takes more discipline, determination and mental strength to get your body to start running again after a walk break than it does to run without stopping. And we all know that long distance running is more about mental strength than physical.

4. For the Love of Strong Legs, Feet and Core

Honestly, I have been in complete shock at how much stronger my ankles and feet have become since I started trail running. While there are many benefits to running on all different types of trails, I am mostly referring to technical and single track trails as opposed to the wider, hard packed gravel trails. Your core muscles, glutes, quads,  hamstrings, ankles and even the tiniest of tendons in your feet are all 100% engaged when you are running with side to side steps, dodging tree roots and holes, hopping over creeks and fallen trees and trying to stay upright while running through mud. You will work muscles and tendons you never knew existed and they will get strong and hopefully prevent future running related injuries ….hopefully.

5. For the Love of Beer and all things Sweet and Salty

Well duh! Don’t all runners enjoy a nice cold one after a long hot run? However, I must say that I have been amused at how much of the conversation while out on the trails has been about beer and several runners even bring a cooler filled with their favorites (always enough to share) for post-run refueling. In addition, the snacks brought to the picnic table every Saturday morning where we gather have been surprising to this GU eating road runner. Everything from chips, cookies, angel food cake, caramel flavored pretzels and boiled peanuts to the healthier, grapes and orange sections. I must confess that I am beginning to ‘drink the kool-aid’ so to speak. Last weeks ice-cold coca-cola and boiled peanuts really hit the spot after a hot and humid 11 miles!

Bonus: For the Love of Calories Burned

I honestly do not know how this can be proved scientifically, but according to everything I’ve read, trail running burns more calories per mile than road running even at a slower pace and taking walk breaks. That’s a win, win in my book …extra calories burned means more wine calories! Priorities people, priorities.

 

So, have I convinced you to trade in your racing flats for a pair of trail shoes? Or at least piqued your curiosity? Any trail runners out there care to share what they love about the trails?

I’m linking up with Rachel, Lacey and Meranda for the Friday Five. Be sure to stop by and see what running related topics the others are talking about!Five Reasons I Love Blogging | Friday Five 2.0 | Running on Happy

xoxo,

 

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one trail run at a time!

 

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April Runfessions

Whew, what a week! A lot has happened since my last runfessional ….Major Hubs has deployed, I’m one month out from my second marathon and I’ve started a new job! It’s been a crazy busy month and I’ve got a few things to get off my chest or soles, if you will. Let’s get to it, shall we?PicsArt_04-27-08.15.29.jpg

I admit that while I’m enjoying being back in the work force, I have had my share of ‘grieving’ this week. I curse the early morning alarm clock, get frustrated with figuring out what to wear and despise the morning traffic. However, I must runfess that I had forgotten how freaking good a run felt after a day at the office! When you can lace up and go for a run any time you want, it’s easy to take them for granted.

If you follow me, you know that I took up pool running in order to rehab a cranky hip flexor that I apparently aggravated during a very hilly 10k (still no race recap on that one…. maybe one day). The good news is that the hip flexor is all better and I’ve fallen in love with this new method of cross training. The bad news is that it requires me to spend some time in the gym locker room before and after my time in the pool. Now no one has more interesting locker room runfessions than Marcia and to be honest, I thought I had heard it all when she encountered the woman who was blow drying her nether region! However, the other day, after my swim session, I went to the locker to get my clothes and an older woman was sprawled out on the bench, blocking my locker. In the process of leaning over her to get my stuff, she looked up at me, while picking at her foot, and said ..”Have you ever had a corn? I have one and I’m not sure what to do about it?” Ummm… no and just no! Who asks a perfect stranger while half-naked in a locker room about corns?? I runfess that for a split second, I felt as if I had teleported to Marcia’s gym locker room!

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Last week I was looking for a specific running skirt and in my hurried state, I started pulling items out of the drawer until I found the one I was looking for …. I runfess that I may have a problem, or maybe I just need a bigger drawer!20180427_200236.jpg

Major Hubs is the milk drinker in our house and since he’s been gone, I haven’t bought milk in over a month. I runfess that I’ve somewhat felt that I was ‘healthier’ than him since I always opt for Almond milk. That is until the other day when I opened the refrigerator and was slapped in the face with reality ….my reality. And that is in addition to the bottles of Cabernet sitting on the counter. Don’t judge ….a girl has to survive 6 months of deployment somehow!20180427_200122.jpg

Holly and I are about one month out from our Denver marathon. I can hardly believe we’re that close and I feel totally unprepared …yet oddly not worried in the least. I’m sure, in total ‘ladybird’ style,  I’ll squeeze about 12 weeks worth of stressing the week before race day. However, I runfess, no matter what this marathon experience brings (i.e. quad fatigue, altitude sickness, getting picked up by the course marshal for failure to meet the time limit, etc. etc.) I’m planning on having a heck of a time in Denver with my partner in crime, HoHoRuns!

It’s all good. Life is a journey, you know. There’s twists and turns everywhere you go …you just have to hold on tight, enjoy the ride and laugh like there’s no tomorrow!

I’m linking up with Marcia for the Runfessions link and Rachel, Lacey and Meranda for the Friday Five 2.0.

 

xoxo,

Finding ‘Fabulous’ at Fifty, one Runfession at a time!

July Runfessions: Hotter than …..?

Runfessions-300x294Another life sucking hot and humid month is coming to end which means it’s time to air all of our sweaty summer grievances by linking up with Marica’s Runfession link-up. Be sure to pop over to her blog and read all about her “Runfessions” and others.

So, let’s get this party started!

 

No point in dancing around the obvious, so I’ll just go ahead and get this one out of the way ……I runfess that I am totally over the heat and humidity.  Growing up in the south, I’ve heard quite a few ‘old sayings’ regarding the summer heat ….thought I’d share a few for your entertainment:

  • hotter than blue blazes
  • hotter than a six-shooter
  • hotter than Hell’s pepper patch
  • hotter than Hell on fire
  • hotter than a goats butt in the pepper patch

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If you’ve been following me lately, you know that I’ve been on somewhat of a ‘running hiatus’ this summer and been cycling a lot instead. I runfess that I really miss running …but there’s that whole heat and humidity thing.

However, I am enjoying my bike and the myriad of adventures she’s bringing ….the good, bad and the ugly. After my tire blow-out the other day, I realized that I need to take ‘bicycle mechanics’ much more seriously. As much as I hate to admit it, I runfess that I’ve been riding around for years with a spare tube and nothing else. That’s right. No tools, no CO2 canisters and zero knowledge of how to change a tire. I’m not sure if I thought the tire would change itself or if it came down to it, I’d play the ‘damsel in distress’ role and rely on the goodness of strangers to help a poor girl out. While that’s exactly what happened yesterday (thanks to the southern gentleman in the Elmo cycling jersey:, I hated feeling so helpless and have vowed to not let that happen again. Let the record show, I runfess that I will be signing up for the next available bicycle mechanics class at the local bike shop.bcc4248607760c18664b7ad9d7706198--spare-tires-flat-tire

 

As a runner, I will admit that I used to get so irritated by cyclist whizzing past me on the trails as they yelled out “passing on the left”. I really don’t know why, but I would think to myself, quite smugly, as they passed me on a hill that it my running that hill was so much harder than them pushing up it on a bike. Well …..now that the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, I runfess that I get so freaking irritated by walkers and runners who take up more than their half of the pathway! I can understand it if you don’t see the cyclist coming from behind, but many times I’ve encountered runners running side by side and they can see me coming and still don’t fall into single file. It’s so frustrating. Come on people…. let’s all play nice and download (1)

……and by the way, speaking from experience ….pedaling a bike uphill is just as hard as running uphill. It’s not a competition …we’re all just out there enjoying what we do, pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones and trying to be the best version of us we can be.

And with that, I’ll close this month’s edition of ‘runfessions’. It always feels good to cleanse those sweaty soles! Join us the last Friday of every month when Marcia opens her ‘Runfessional’, I know you have a few things to ‘runfess’  yourself.

I’m also linking up with RachelMeranda and Lacey for the Friday Five 2.0. Do stop by their blogs and check out their July Runfessions …Friday Five style!!FriFive2

What are your favorite “hotter than” sayings? Do you know how to change a bike tire? Ever had a flat while riding? 

xoxo,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one runfession at a time!

 

My Top 5 Race “Must-Haves”

I always procrastinate packing for a trip because, frankly, I always want to take too much “stuff”. There’s always the essentials, the non-essentials, the accessories and then the “just in case” stuff. However, when I’m packing for a race weekend, it’s always fairly easy since I know what I absolutely have to have, what works and what I can’t imagine running without. Here are my top five race “must-haves” for the Utah Valley Half Marathon ……
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5 Reasons to Run Boston’s Freedom Trail Guided Tour

A couple of years ago, Major Hubs and I had the opportunity to spend the July 4th holiday in Boston. If you are a patriot of this great nation, I highly recommend this city, especially for the Fourth of July, as a bucket list destination. It was a fabulous trip, filled with history, art, theater, fireworks, the Pops and baseball, of course!

One of the things the hubs and I always make a point to do whenever we travel is to go for at least one run through the city, town or countryside while we are visiting. We both feel there is no better way to see a town through the eyes of its locals and to get a feel for its energy than while out on a leisurely run. In the process of planning our trip, I stumbled upon this little company that provided a guided running tour of Boston’s Freedom Trail, was intrigued and therefore, signed us up.  It turned out to truly be one of the highlights of our vacation! Continue reading