Monday, September 23, 2013

Trail Running Is Like Meatloaf

The fine folks at are looking for ideas on why trail and ultra running are so awesome. Here are my thoughts:

My mother-in-law makes some positively amazing meatloaf. I don’t know what’s in it and I don’t want to know. I like the mystery. (I can only assume that ingredients include a mixture of sunshine, rainbows, and unicorn sparkles.
Trail running is the same way. There are lots of little mysterious elements that make it so seriously wonderful. Allow me to transform myself into Martha Stewart (never mind, I’ll skip the prison time) and expound on three ingredients that make meatloaf, I mean trail and ultra running so awesome.

Ingredient #1 – The Scenery
Sure, you can see some beautiful stuff running on the road. I mean those parked cars and miles of endless white line on asphalt are nice to look at. But there is nothing that can match the beauty of a trail weaving through the aspens or climbing to the top of a mesa and seeing the expanse of nature surrounding you.

Ingredient #2 – The Uncertainty
Unlike the safe, predictability of road running, you never quite know what you’re going to get out on the trail. My mom’s meatloaf is not very good. And by “not very good” I mean – if you gave me the choice between eating a rusty radiator and mom’s meat loaf…..I’d choose the radiator. (I’m sorry mom. But you always taught us to be honest. Plus I’m trying to win a Scott Jurek vest from Ultimate Direction here.)

The point is that sometimes your experience on the trail can be as bad as an episode of Golden Girls. And sometimes it is a magically delicious experience (sorry, Lucky Charms for breakfast). I love that feeling of knowing that every run can be an adventure.

Ingredient #3 – The People
Runners are awesome people. Runners are family. But I experienced a new level of amazing when I got into trail and ultra running. For example, my friend Christie was running her first 100 miler and was crippled with horrible blisters. A guy helped her clean her feet, bandage the blisters, and get her back on her way. He wasn’t a family member. Not an aid station worker. He was another runner. In the middle of his own race. That, my friend, gives me goose bumps.
I love this sport. And good meatloaf.


  1. Your photos always make me so excited to hit the trails :)

  2. I know I seriously NEED to get back into some more trail running to re-ignite the running fire in me. Sigh......

    I don't make meatloaf. My husband wishes I would.

  3. I was reading the other day about how being out in nature is like having a dose of anti-depressants. Add in the endorphins from running and you've got a pretty potent drug to make you happy. No wonder you've got such a big smile in your photos.

  4. Oh no! *Now* I have some competition! But, if *I* don't win the vest, I certain hope YOU do! Great write up! Love the story of the runner helping with blisters! Trail/Ultra runners are the BEST!

    p.s. I love meatloaf too.

  5. What kind of camera do you use? Love the photos.

    1. Thanks Noah. I use a Panasonic Lumix. It's small enough to be portable but still takes great pictures.

  6. I need to try trail running sometime. I imagine running through postcard scenery is good for the heart.

  7. Yes to everything you said. I love trail running so much more than road running. For me, it helps that on a trail I have to pay attention to what I'm doing and can't obsess (as much) about how much longer til I'm done.

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