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



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



Where, oh where, is Fall?

It’s been so long since I’ve written a ‘Weekly Wrap’ post that I could, technically, write a monthly wrap. However, I’ll spare you the painful detail of an entire month and wrap it up in summary style.

I would love to report that since October has rolled around that I’m enjoying crisp cool trail runs strewn with beautiful fall colored leaves. But alas, it’s still hot and humid down here in the south and there are no fallen leaves to hear crunching beneath my steps. I’m hopeful that Fall will make its presence known at least by race day …..Thanksgiving for sure! (I’m serious folks!)Ways Bluff Continue reading

🎶Slip Slidin’ Away🎶

It’s Sunday afternoon, I’ve got steak and chicken marinating and awaiting the grill, I have two out of three of my boys here, Major Hubs will be home in less than two weeks and it’s time for another Weekly Wrap. Life is busy, hot and humid ….but it is good!

Ways Bluff

The training plan provided to me by the Fleet Feet running group I’m training with calls for 4 runs per week. I mentioned early on that I wasn’t sure how that would work for me as I tend to get injured when I run more than 3 days per week. The training group has two group runs per week, one being a tempo run and the other a long trail run. The weekday tempo run is the one I’m having trouble with. It’s at 6 pm, after an exhausting day of work, it’s hot as Hades at 6 pm and any and all types of speed work tends to aggravate my ankles. I don’t like aggravating my ankles. So, I’m trying to decide if I skip all group tempo runs and replace them with easy paced runs or suck it up and see how long I can endure them before injury strikes. I know, that sounds so pessimistic …..but I know my body and unfortunately, I know my ankles even better.

Regardless, here’s how Week 4 of Ways Bluff 25k training played out:

Monday: 3 miles were on the plan but rest is what happened. Seriously folks, that damn Body Pump class on Sunday trashed my legs.
Tuesday: Rest was on the plan but I had planned on running my 3 from the day before. However, I was still so stinking sore from Sunday’s Body Pump class that I just couldn’t even think about running. It’s become very clear to me that Body Pump and race training simply cannot coexist in my world. It might not be so bad if every Body Pump workout didn’t include a ridiculous amount of squats and lunges. In addition to my aching quads, the college boy came home for one night in order to get his new pup neutered. He brought him home with the ‘cone of shame’ and I have to admit that even I laughed at him. He kept running into doors and walls because he couldn’t judge the distance with it on. Chester kept barking at him because he didn’t know what the heck it was. It was all quite the spectacle.


That face cracks me up ….”Seriously dude, I though we were friends. How could you do this to me?”

Wednesday: Group tempo run was on the plan but I opted for an easier 3 mile solo run. Call me a wimp, but 90 degrees at 7 pm is just not ideal temps for a tempo run.
Thursday: 3 easy trail miles were on the plan and that’s exactly what I did. I’m realizing that I’m much more inclined to run the trail miles than I am the road miles ….hmmm, are the running gods trying to tell me something?
Friday: Rest day according to the plan. However; since I missed Monday’s run, I opted for 40 minutes of pool running. I ran half of the laps with ‘high knees’ in an effort to practice picking up my feet more ….which is imperative in trail running. I’m hoping this will help prevent me from face planting.
Saturday: 7 mile single track MUDDY trail run with the group. I’m like a kid on Christmas morning looking forward to these runs. They are such a challenge, yet so refreshing ….if that makes any sense at all.


Aren’t they just the most disgusting little creatures? And itch ….oh my gosh, their bites itch!

It stormed the night before, so I was anticipating that it would be a muddy run. I had ordered a pair of gaiters but they had not arrived in time. So, in an effort to ‘make due’, I wore my Legend Compression socks. Because it was so hot and humid, I shoved them down around my ankles to help keep debris out. This worked perfectly aside from the tick who found his way up my shoes and socks and grabbed a hold of my skin just above my sock line. Maybe next week, I’ll pull them up to my knees. I don’t know what the deal is with me and ticks …I literally coat myself in bug spray, yet they still seem to be attracted to me. Two ticks in four weeks is not a very good track record.

Aside from that, the run was amazing. It took us 1 hour and 40 minutes to run slip and slide 7 miles, yet it flew by. If I ran that pace on the road, I’d be bored crazy and terribly disappointed. Yet somehow, on the trails, the slower pace feels like a decent pace and there’s never a single moment of boredom. The verdict is still out …but I could quite possibly be a trail runner for life!


You know you’re a trail runner when your run maps start looking like this.

Sunday: Between church, a funeral and a fun evening with the boys, I still managed to get my 30 minutes of ‘brisk walking’ in. Our training coach keeps emphasizing how important these Sunday walks are ….he says this is not meant to be a leisurely stroll, but a fast paced walk for 30 minutes because most will have to walk at some point in a 25 to 50k trail race.
Trail Running Stats: 29 miles, 2 ticks, 2 snakes, 4 stumbles, 1 spider web, 1 briar bush, 0 falls.

….and that’s a wrap! I’m linking up with my ‘Hostess Twinkies’ Holly and Wendy, for the Weekly Wrap linkup. Be sure to visit their blogs and all of the others linking up each week. We’re all about supporting and encouraging each other to not only be our best, but to push ourselves out of our comfort zones to achieve those goals others only dream of!


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

It’s a Jungle Out There

Even though I missed one of my scheduled runs, I’m pretty darn happy with week 3 of Ways Bluff 25k training. The heat and humidity continue its relentless pursuit to make any outdoor activity as miserable as possible and work continues to encroach on my weekday workout time. However, on a positive note, I was able to spend some quality time with my boys before summer break comes to a close …every Mother’s dream right?

Ways Bluff Continue reading

Log Jumping and Sneaky Snakes …Oh My!

Once again, I’m late to the Weekly Wrap party. I’m telling you, this dang ‘part time’ job gig seems to be taking up much more than 30 hours of my week! Between work, dog sitting the grand pups and trying my level best to stick to my training plan, blogging has definitely been pushed to the back burner.

Oh well, better late than never, right?

Ways Bluff Continue reading

Roots, Ticks, Pine Cones ….Oh My!

Once the Revel Rockies marathon was complete, I was really looking forward to spending those ‘dog days’ of summer doing lots of cross training …in an air-conditioned gym and putting some miles on Lexi (the road bike). Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment because I have not only registered for a 25k trail race, but also signed up for a group training program through our local Fleet Feet running store. So much for waking up and doing whatever workout strikes my fancy. I now found myself right back into scheduled runs and I’m not going to lie …I like it.

I’m learning something about myself that I didn’t know: much to my chagrin, I like structure and apparently thrive in it. Who knew? Ways Bluff Continue reading

Kick Up the Dust Trail Race Recap

The adventurous side of me has been wanting to take my road running legs to some trails for quite some time. However; my logical, side reminding me of how injury prone and clumsy I can be, always won the debate. The thought of getting sidelined from running due to a twisted ankle, busted knee or worse from a pine cone or tree root just never seemed worth it …that is, until Saturday.

I’ve had my eye on this little local trail race for a few months. Knowing that it would be the day after Major Hubs departure and the fact that it was promoted as a great race for beginners made it even more appealing. So, 6 hours after the hubs left and 10 minutes before online registration closed, I threw caution to the wind and signed up for my first trail race. preview.jpg

Three distances were offered …14k, 8k and 4k. While I was really tempted to just say ‘what the hell’ and choose the 14k, I decided maybe I should ease in with the 8k, since I haven’t run on any surface remotely resembling trails in almost two years.

After a short 30 minute drive, I arrived at the site, parked in a grassy area alongside a gravel road and walked up the hill to the registration and packet pick up area.


Swag included a super soft t-shirt, bag, frisbee and free local smoothie coupons

Immediately, I had one of those ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore‘ moments. Trail races have a much different atmosphere and set up than road races. There was hot coffee, milk, chocolate milk and donuts in addition to the traditional fruit available pre-race.

The race is held on the cross-country course of Mississippi College which runs alongside a Buddy Butts park, a historical landmark which served as a German POW camp during WWII. The 14k course would include one loop on the cross country course then enter the single track trails of Butts park. The 4k and 8k would be run entirely on the cross country course. I will admit that I was a little disappointed to hear this. To be honest though, I never ran cross country and didn’t know exactly what a XC course would look like. In my mind, I pictured all grass and gravel ….and I really wanted to run a little single track.


Getting last-minute instructions regarding the course for each distance

After a few instructions and explanations regarding the different courses, we lined up in an open field along a wide invisible starting line marked only by a flag on each side …..all 75 of us. There were no fireworks, horns or gunshot to signal the start …just a simple ‘on your mark, get set, GO!’ FB_IMG_1521930055077.jpg

Within the first quarter-mile, the course gradually narrowed into more of a normal trail width. Before too long, we encountered a little stream which was hard to see due to the fact that we were still running in grass. As I approached it, there was no time to think about how to navigate it other than to just jump it. Let me tell you, these 51-year-old legs haven’t jumped a creek in many, many years. I realized as I landed that I had a huge grin on my face and felt like a kid again. This was fun! Shortly thereafter, we entered the woods and hit a gravel path covered with leaves, small limbs and pine cones.


Still not what I would consider technical, I had to constantly look down, watching every step. Around 1.5 miles, the course opened back up into a grassy area where we found our first water stop.


Just behind the table is where the 14k runners moved to single track.

We continued on grass path for about a half mile and then entered the most technical section of the XC course, in my opinion. There were several large muddy sections that extended the width of the trail. Do I just barrel straight through the middle of it or try to ease around the edge? I’m sure a seasoned trail runner would’ve just gone right through it …however, since I really wasn’t interested in losing a shoe in a mud hole, I chose to ease around the edge. In doing so, I had to push a few limbs aside and duck around them while trying not to slip in the mud. Sure, it slowed me down a little …but not as much as it would have if I had to dig a shoe out of the mud.


Photo courtesy of The Good Samaritan Center

More tree roots and another creek brought us back to the starting area and back on a grass trail. This is where the 4k runners finished and we went on for a second loop. While I normally do not enjoy double loop races, this was an exception. I found myself anticipating certain sections that I had enjoyed the first time around and before I knew it, I was approaching the finish area. Now this was tough …we came out of the woods only to run uphill on grass to the finish line. Seriously? Uphills should never be a part of a finish line of any race! However, they did have volunteers standing at the bottom of hill as you exited the woods, ringing cowbells and cheering you on to the finish line. 20180324_181814.jpg

Post race included more coffee and chocolate milk, donuts, cookies, fruit and biscuits with your choice of sausage gravy or crawfish spinach bisque. Yummy! Trail runners are obviously not worried about calories.


Like many trail races, there were no age group awards ..only overall male/female for each distance. And the winners were presented their awards as they crossed the finish line. This year their awards were unique to say the least …but definitely went along with the theme of the race!


Yes, it is a dust broom and dust pan! Lol

I hung around and mingled with the other runners for a while, even running into a couple of people from high school. As I was leaving, some of the runners had changed into clean clothes and were getting ready for some friendly competition of corn hole.

I love the laid back atmosphere of a trail race. The runners were friendly, helpful and encouraging to all of us rookies. I also love how laid back they are about finish times. They really just don’t seem to matter to them. They are more interested in the how challenging the course is and how muddy they can get …the more the better! Lol

In the end, I’m glad that I didn’t go for the 14k (one person got lost on the single track) right out of the gate. This was the perfect course and distance to get my feet wet muddy on and I’m pretty sure I’ll be back for more!

The good …no twisted ankles, no banged up knees or elbows and I did find a little mud to get into. The bad …apparently I picked up a nasty little hitchhiker somewhere along the way, maybe when I pushed the limbs back to ease around the big mud hole? Sunday, while sitting in church, I happened to run my hand beneath my hair and felt something stuck on my neck …I pulled it off having no thought as to what it would be. I’m not sure why I was so surprised to see that it was a tick! Yuck! Nasty little critters. I promptly squeezed the life out of him between my nails and made a quick trip to the bathroom to send him swirling down the toilet. One less tick in the woods! I wonder if Brad Paisley had been trail running when he wrote his song with the line “…..I want to check you for ticks’?  Lol

Finish Time 59:40 / Avg Pace: 11:54 / Place 9 out of 20 (8k) / Gender Place 4 out of 12 (8k)

Not bad for a first timer!



Have you run any trail races? What was your experience? Ever sustained an injury trail running? 


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