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Why My Trail Running “Career” is Over

So I post this as a little bit of a joke.  Because I have no trail running career.

And, in fact, the most trail running I do is only flat, packed ground and I NEVER really venture anywhere with rocks or roots or sticks.


Because I am a bona fide klutz. I am a certified ankle-turner, ankle-breaker, and fall-on-my-face sort of gal. If there is capacity to fall or get hurt, I’m there waving my hands and saying, “Me next! Me next!”


[In fact, the last time I did a trail running “race” was in 2011, and it was]

So when the Expert signed up for the XTerra Battle of Big Creek – a 5.5 (or 10 mile) trail run – here in Roswell, Georgia a few weeks ago, I thought: Okay, I will try trail running again. 

What in the hell I was thinking, I do not know.  I want to put things on the calendar for the fall and winter, to keep the mojo going and to keep my face out of the refrigerator.

But a trail run… what in the holy hell.

So we arrived early and I was feeling fine. We ran into a few friends, and enjoyed the wait for the run.



Actually, waiting for the race was really lovely—so much less anxiety than before a tri. So that was one point in favor of dirt running.

Before we knew it, time to head out. The Expert and I were both doing the 5.5 mile option–I thought I could have done 10 miles, but I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it. So 5.5 miles it was.


We started out together, but then there went the Expert–and he was gone. Oh right… we’re “racing!”  Um, no I’m not.  I’m not racing anything. 

But man, I was having a blast!  Running through the narrow trails, on the feet of someone right in front of me, and someone right on my feet.  Up, up, up and down… I really was enjoying myself.

Until I twisted my right ankle. Dang!  Nope, it’s okay, carry on.

Then another twist to the same ankle. Ratzzzzz!

But I was okay. The trail was VERY rocky and rooty… so I tried to slow it down and really pay attention to my footing, trying to be agile like a mountain goat. I was more like a Mountain Elephant, but I was trying.


The real kicker came at Mile 2.5… when I looked down and saw dozens of yellow jackets on my clothing and swarming me.

Then I felt them… ZAP!  ZAP! ZAP!

Oh, man… I was getting stung by the damn things.  I counted at least six burning spots almost immediately.

I got out of the fray, and immediately texted the Expert. I have never been stung by yellow jackets before and I didn’t know if I was allergic or sensitive.

I didn’t know what to do except push forward and hope for the best.  The Expert received my text and had turned around and met me halfway.

He said the second he heard my text “ding,” that he got stung as well.  LOTS of people were getting zapped, apparently.  And luckily, neither he nor I are allergic.

Another lesson learned, though: never trail run without my Epi-Pen.

The Expert and I managed another mile, and then went right by the car.  I could SEE the car. But since I clearly wasn’t going into anaphalaxis, I had no real reason to walk off the trail.  I wasn’t going to quit now.

But I was going to slow down… I was tripping and sliding all over the place. Another three or four twisted ankles, followed up by one epic trip, trip, trip, and final fall on my right knee…



…and I was done with the trail run.  This picture says it all (thanks, Tony!)…


And officially last in my age group.  And…officially retired from trail running–at least the deeply twisty, rocky and rooty kind. 🙂

Bring me my pavement.  I’m better on flat, solid ground. Word.

Trust me, I totally understand the pull towards the woods and the trails. I really do love it. But I just am so darn klutzy. I just don’t know the benefit to be gained from it (for me) at this time with the season I will have coming up next year. I don’t want to face injury–if I can help it.

And really, the trail run was full of carnage! I saw SO many people trip and fall and slide and crash… it was crazy. I have never see so many falls in one place in all of my life. Except maybe roller skating!12200789_911543535591351_1183386814_n2

We managed to head home where the two of us could count our yellow jacket stings… I ended up with seven zaps, in fact, and the Expert two.

[Does that mean that I win? ]

Despite the trail run, the Swim Bike Family had a lovely Halloween …and we are all set to take on November.



Happy Fall, y’all!



  • Axel (from Iron Rogue)

    November 2, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I’ve got to admit, I wanted to boo you for quitting trail running, but the yellowjacket (wasps) give me pause. I was stung 7 times when I was a little kid, and I’ve had a phobia of them ever since. Still, I’d point out that the varying terrain makes you more injury proof than flat roads, and handling the roots and rocks is a matter of practice and training, like anything else.

  • Heather

    November 2, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    I LOVE trail running and hiking. Went on a gorgeous hike today in fact. Wanked my left ankle majorly on a rock (s) buried under leaves and have been icing and elevating since I got home. No yellow jackets thankfully!

  • David

    November 3, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Wow sorry to hear about the evil yellow jackets getting you!! Hope you and the Expert are ok!! Hope your knee and ankles are ok too!! I agree trail running is not my thing either!! I will give you lots of credit for trying though!! Give me flat ground, no trails for me either. Looking forward to your next adventure!! Thanks for another great post!!

  • Kate

    November 3, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Oh man the bugs on trails. I am all about getting out and enjoying nature… we love to mountain bike on the single track that many of my running friends run on. The BUGS. The only way to avoid the bugs is to stay fast on your bike and try not to fall off – and get attacked by the bugs. (Also bathing in DEET.) The swarms of biting stinging bugs will keep me on bike and no interest in running those trails! (I’m the person at the campout who always gets ALL the mosquito bites, when no one else gets bit, and mine always swell up huge and get super itchy for a week. I must smell delicious to bugs!)

  • Melanie J.

    November 3, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Man, can I relate! I’m an outdoors freak, love to hike, but my last race was at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte, and early on, there was a DROP that was muddy and evil and I wiped out and had the joy of being covered in red clay the rest of the race, with people asking me what had happened. Didn’t help that I wasn’t in shape for said race. But yea, klutz gene is not to be challenged, cuz that MFer will pay you back in spades.


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