Pain We Love: Running My First Ultra at the River of No Return Endurance 50K

My Garmin buzzes and I glance down.  27 miles it says! With a “wohoo” and a high-five, my running partner and I celebrate our official entry into the ultra-running arena.  This is just the boost I need as we are heading down the hot, hard, seemingly endless pavement of Garden Creek Road.  Our quest for the finish line of the River Of No Return 50k seems once again attainable.  Only 4 miles to go, and they are absolutely, the toughest 4 miles of the day.

Funny how a day can change you.  As we assembled at the start line earlier that morning, I was more nervous than I expected I would be.  The nerves, along with a stressful week was undoubtedly the cause of the migraine I would carry with me for the next 12 miles.  And despite 6 months of training, I felt terribly out of place as I stood there shivering with all those ultra runners, waiting for the start. I think of my mother, the marathon runner.  She’s been gone 15 years now.  But if she were still on this earth, she’d be right over there, waving a sign and cheering me on.  In a way, I suppose this is her fault.  Watching her train and run those races as I grew up must have rubbed off on me after all.

idaho trail running, River of No Return Endurance Runs

Some of the locals waiting for the start

As we start, I can feel the excitement in the air and I let out a few hoots and hollers as we head out of the park (that trait is also from my mother).  This is a special race for me on so many levels-my first 50k, (actually my first race longer than a half-marathon), racing in my hometown, and the company of so many friends, including my dear friend, Gwen who just happens to be my running partner.  We have spent months training together.  Through injuries and all the conflicting demands of life with family, kids and work, we have persevered, stuck to our training schedules (mostly), and arrived at the start line ready to conquer this course and collect our jackets!

The first 2 1/2 miles along the highway are fabulous!  An endless string of runners along a trail I’ve probably run hundreds of times.  What an awesome and humbling sight! As we reach the Interpretive Center and begin our climb, I am reminded that this where the work begins.  The beauty of the morning and the company of all the other runners are a nice distraction.  We reach the top of the switchbacks and notice a group of runners stopped taking pictures.  I glance over my shoulder and see our beautiful valley, basking in the early morning sunlight.  I never get tired of that view!  One of the the runners is wearing a t-shirt that says, “Pain We Love“.  Hmm…I wonder if perhaps they have done this before.

Idaho trail running, River of No Return Endurance Runs, challis idaho, Lombard Trail

The climb up the switchbacks

idaho trail running, Lombard Trail, Challis Idaho, River of No Return Endurance Runs

On our way to the Birch Creek Aid Station, high above Challis

After a brief downhill and stop at a water trough to dip our hats, we begin the second climb which we not-so-lovingly refer to as “the Demoralizer”.  This is a tough one for us, but at least we still have fresh legs.  We hike and eat, trying not to focus on the headache.  Soon enough, we reach the top.  Now a welcome gentle downhill to the Birch Creek Aid Station.  We are greeted by cheers, food, and smiling faces.  After a short stop and a hug from the Race Director’s daughter, we hit the trail and begin the climb to Keystone.

I believe we hiked most of that mountain, stopping only to snap a picture here and there.  I feel as though my head will explode from the pain of my migraine, or I may throw up.  Neither sounds like a very attractive option.  My running partner is full of words of encouragement.  I believe if I had been alone, I may have just curled up in a ball and not moved.  But, she keeps me going.  After many prayers and ridiculously silly conversation to divert my mind, we finally hear the clanking of the bells that can only mean we are upon the Keystone Aid Station.

More food, friends, hugs and off we go to Bayhorse.  The downhill is a welcome relief from the climbing.  Within a few minutes the leaders begin passing us, heading back up to Keystone.  This turned out to be my favorite part of the race.  Seeing those strong front-runners powering up that mountain, passing friends, getting and giving high-fives, hugs and words of encouragement. I realize that at some point, my migraine has left me!  Then we spot Bayhorse, our half-way mark.  We are greeted by our kids and my husband who are so excited to see us.  As I run into the aid station, I feel fantastic – like I could run forever!

idaho trail running, River of No Return Endurance Runs, Bayhorse

What a sweet sight coming down into Bayhorse, our half-way mark

After what I’m sure is way too much time spent at Bayhorse, we begin the climb back up. Nothing we have done up until now has been as tough as what lies ahead.  The climb is relentless and soon enough my legs are feeling like 50 lb weights. A snake crosses my path and I can barely move fast enough to get out of it’s way.  I am sure that they must have lengthened the course somehow….where is the top of the mountain?

Finally, we are back at the Keystone Aid Station.  We graze and visit too long, then agree to head out.  It’s all downhill from here!  “We’ve got this” we say.  The pounding of the downhill brings with it a new kind of pain – pain we love? My feet hurt, my legs, my hips, my toes and I believe my toenails hurt.  Can toenails hurt? I’m not sure what got us down that hill, but I do know I have not acted so silly since Junior High.  Everything seemed terribly funny and everything hurt so much.  Did I say that already?

When we hit Garden Creek Road we rejoiced!  We are getting so close.  In a few miles we stop at a well-placed hose to cool ourselves off before hitting that hot pavement that lies ahead.  I check my watch, amazed at our time.  Our goal is 9 hours.  Even with too many stops and much walking, we will be well ahead of that.  More hugs from our kids, and our friend Dave has caught up to us, lifting our spirits.

We have not “run” in quite some time.  We agree to shuffle down the road.  “Do we have to?” Gwen asks.  Yes, we can do this!  We shuffle along not talking much because we are both so exhausted.  It seems to take forever to reach the greenhouses, but we finally do.  Our kids are there to accompany us the rest of the way.  My son who is 9 rides his bike along with me.  I tell him to please talk to me.  “Ok mom, so how are you feeling? Is this fun? Will you run the 108K next year?”  He says.  I tell him to talk to me about anything, except running.  I believe he recounted the storyline of Diary of A Whimpy Kid to me, but it was enough to keep my mind off the pain.

I am now at the Golf Course.  My dear friend Cherie is cheering, waving a sign and giving me a giant hug.  Now I know I can’t quit. I am energized and actually went from a shuffle to a slow trot.  Every step hurts….pain we love.  We hit the “Y” and there is my 6-year old to run me in.  He takes off WAY too fast.  There is no way I can keep up with him, but I sure appreciate his enthusiasm!  Crossing that finish line felt amazing.  8 hours 14 minutes! It felt wonderful to be done!  How sweet to have my boys right there with me, my husband snapping pictures, friends cheering, and more friends crossing the finish line right behind me. I felt mom there with me too.  She would have said, “I always knew you could do it”.

idaho trail running, River of No Return Endurance Runs

Crossing the finish line with my boys right behind me

idaho trail running, River of No Return Endurance Runs

Gwen and her daughter crossing the finish line

As I lie around on the lawn, stuffing my face and laughing with my friends and family, reflecting on the journey we just took, I feel like I belong here with all these ultra runners.  That is, until the 108k runners start coming in….


Fueling For Long Runs

I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on fueling while running.  However, I have run many miles and made my share of mistakes along the way.  I’ve also learned a few things that have made a huge difference. Mostly I’ve learned from other runners who are quick to share their knowledge.  I hope some of these tips help you.

Beets are renowned for their positive effects on endurance runners.  They are converted to nitric oxide in the body, which provides numerous benefits including increased oxygen production, and improved oxygen uptake and efficiency.  My husband has long been a fan of the pre-run strawberry-beet smoothie.  Try as I might, the best I can do is choke it down, then burp it up for hours.  I do this because I can definitely feel a positive difference when I have my beet smoothie before a run.  Recently, a friend turned me onto beet root crystals, a great alternative to the smoothie.  I use 2 scoops in some ice-water about an hour pre-run.  No nasty beet taste, but I still get all the benefits. A good brand I’ve found is BEET ELITE from Neogenis Sport.


Fueiling for long runs, idaho trail running, Beet crystals for runners, BEETELITE

BEET ELITE crystals


By far the most important thing I can do to have a successful run is to make sure I have Tailwind in my pack.  I love that Tailwind is all-natural because I make a huge effort to eat healthy and don’t want to compromise that on my runs.  I use it on all runs over 10 miles, or on shorter runs when it’s extremely hot outside, since I don’t do well in the heat.  Yes, we sell it here at The Bent Rod Outdoors, so I know this sounds like an info-mercial, but the stuff makes me feel amazing – it really does what it promises!  If you are new to Tailwind, you’ll need to experiment a bit with it to see what ratio is right for you.  I find on very long runs and hot days, I need 1 scoop per 12 oz. of water.  If it’s cool and I’m running under 20 miles, I do fine with with 1 scoop per 24 oz.  My favorite flavor in Naked, since it’s not as sweet.  Although Berry is a close second.

Tailwind Energy Drinks, Bent Rod Outdoors

Many people find that Tailwind is all they need on a run.  However, I get pretty hungry out there.  My go-to snacks are Chocolate Energy Balls.  This is a recipe adapted from Scott Jurek’s book, “Eat & Run”.  As a side note, he has many other recipes in his book that I love for the trail.  I make the Energy Balls as follows:

1/2 cup raw cacao nibs, 1/2 cup raw cashews, 8 medium dates (or 1/2 cup date pieces), 1 tsp mesquite powder, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon,, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, 1/8 tsp salt, 2 tsp applesauce

Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender (I use my Vitamix) and process on high until thoroughly blended and smooth.  I find it best to make a double-batch since it blends better in my Vitamix.  You really need to push the tamper down and continue to punch it so it all gets mixed-it’s quite the workout, but worth it. Once blended and very smooth, roll into balls or small discs and put on a plate or cookie sheet.  Refrigerate overnight then put into sealed baggies.  These store well in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.  Another trick: when it’s hot out, I freeze these the night before my run, then put them into my pack.  They are just right by the time I’m ready to eat them. This recipe makes 1 dz balls, 2 dz if you double it.

chocolate energy balls, feuling for long runs, trail running

Chocolate Energy Balls

Another staple are cooked potatoes rolled in salt.  These were offered to me by a friend on a training run a few months ago and have since become a favorite on my long runs.  I like to bake Red or Yukon Gold potatoes, then slice them into chunks.  I coat them liberally in salt, then warm them up a bit before my run.  I can’t begin to tell you how delicious these things are 3 hours into a run!  Maybe it’s like camping….food always seems to taste better when eaten outside.

feuling for long runs, trail running, cooked potatoes for running

Cooked potatoes rolled in salt

Other necessary snacks are pretzel sticks, dried mangos (these are such a yummy treat), a  peanut butter & jelly sandwich, some caffeinated extreme Sports Beans for when I need a little caffeine boost, and a Clif Bar.  Bananas always taste great and I recently figured out an alternative to a soggy, smashed banana in my pack.  Power Bar makes a Banana-Blueberry squeeze pack that is super-convenient to eat on the trail.

fueling for long runs, trail running

Mangos & Pretzels

Last but not least, I always carry a few Sodium Chloride tabs, just in case I need a quick sodium boost.  That’s how I fuel for my long runs. What do you carry for fuel? Please share your recipes and tips!


Training For My First Ultra

It seemed like such a great idea in the middle of December.  It’s freezing cold, snowing, and the Endurance Run is 6 months off.  Heck, I could do just about anything with 6 months to train.  I was so enthused about it, that I must have been one of the first people to sign up for the River of No Return Endurance Run 50K .  I have to admit, it has been fantastic motivation to get me out the door all winter.  I have never come into spring so well-trained and fit in my life, despite some pretty nasty running conditions at times.

Well, here it is mid-April now and I am at the height of my training.  UGH-what was I thinking!  As I’m trudging up the ENDLESS climb on a training run last weekend, I am feeling the worst I can recall ever feeling on a run.  In hindsight, a combination of stress, insufficient fluid intake, and a migraine coming on  was a recipe for a miserable “run”.  Halfway up to Keystone, I could take it no more…..”This is so hard” I blurt out.  My running partner (she deserves a medal for listening to me whine all day) says to me, “well Cheri, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it”.  Somehow, this gives me a bit of comfort.

Trail Running

View from the RONR course last weekend

Isn’t that the truth though.  Training for an ultra isn’t easy-AT ALL.  Up until now, my furthest race has been a couple half-marathons.  My furthest distance run is 20.5 miles on a training run last month (that was an eye-opening experience).  Running gives me time to contemplate.  Perhaps too much time as I find myself worrying more and more about my ability to run 31 miles with a 7,800 foot elevation gain. Oftentimes lately I wonder if I have bitten off more than I’m capable of handling.  Should I maybe try to knock-out a marathon first, before jumping headfirst into the Ultra arena?  Believe me, the self-doubt is abundant lately, especially as I sit here typing this on my 48th birthday and my 6-year old tells me, “wow Mom, you’re really old”.

But that’s the beauty of running.  I’m 48 years old and I”m running my first Ultra!  How awesome it that?!  If I weren’t running, I’d still be 48 years old.  So, I might as well do something I love, even if it is REALLY hard.  My boys are 6 and 9 and I want to be running up mountains with them 10 years from now.  Heck, I want to be a 90-year ultra runner!  Well, one thing at a time I suppose.  The point seems to be that we should do what we love no matter our age, and what a blessing it is that the thing I love doing is so good for me.

Sprilg Trail Running

Spring Training for the River Of No Return Endurance Run

Despite all my doubts, it’s not in me to just give up because something is hard.  So, I will keep going.  My run yesterday gave me renewed hope along with new PR’s, which always boosts my confidence.  And the anticipation of my long run coming up this weekend is almost more than I can stand.  I just love running in the mountains!  So, wish me luck, just 60 days to race day now!  And those of you out there who are training for something REALLY HARD…well, don’t give up!  If it were easy, everyone would be doing it!




Running With My Kids

It’s the weekend and I’m getting ready to head out for my 10-mile run.  My 9-year old son asks to come along.  At first, I was excited that he wanted to run with me, but he quickly corrected me.  He wanted to ride along on his bike. I hate to admit it, but I was disappointed that he didn’t want to run, and apprehensive about taking him along since it usually turned a quick 3-mile tempo run into a half-day excursion.  He is so excited, I can’t say no.  Of course, this means the highway is out, my “run” will be much shorter, and some of the more technical trails will have to wait for another day, but off we go TOGETHER.

idaho trail running, fall running, running with kids, challis idaho running

It’s an early fall morning.  The leaves are just starting to change and the temperature is perfect for running (and riding).  We decide on our usual 5-mile loop, which is dirt road with a small section of single-track trail.  Before long, we reach our half-way mark where we stop at a stump so he can devour his Clif Bar.  Sometimes I think that’s why he comes with me… he can eat Clif Bars and drink Tailwind.  Last week, he asked for Tailwind in his water bottle as I was packing his lunch.

There is no need for an ipod when I am with him, since he talks non-stop.  The yellow butterflies are everywhere this morning.  I am informed that they must be migrating for winter.  He asks, “how long is this straight road?”  “2 miles” I say.  “Holy cow, that’s longer than a city block mom.  Mom, how long is a city block?  And why do cities have blocks in them anyway?”  And so it continues for the rest of our run/ride. This morning though I am grateful for his company, grateful that he wants to spend time with me, grateful for all the millions of questions and explanations I didn’t ask for, grateful that he loves to ride and he is learning to make fitness a part of his life.  Suddenly, my pace or mileage no longer seem important at all.

idaho trail running, running with kids, challis idaho running

The second half of our journey is much the same.  However, I am struck today by how much he has grown and what a strong rider he has become.  He navigated the single-track trail with no assistance today, and he rode almost all the way up the big hill before walking his bike.  Maybe next year we’ll be able to go on some more mountainous trails together, or even tackle his goal, which is riding to Boulder Lake in Copper Basin.

As we arrive home, he hops off his bike and gives me a giant hug.  “Thanks mom for taking me.  That was so much fun.  This is the best day ever.”  And he runs into the house.  I realize he is absolutely correct.  This is the best day ever.  These are the days we will both remember.  20 years from now, it won’t matter that I only ran 15 miles instead of 25 miles one week, but we will always remember our “runs” together.

idaho trail running, challis idaho running




Running My Favorite Trail

It’s a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning.  My kids are just waking up, excited about “family day” as we call it at our house.  As they do every Saturday morning, they ask for French Toast.  I am guilt-ridden as I stand in the kitchen in my running clothes, fuel-belt in-hand.  My oldest says with a hint of disappointment, “oh, you haven’t run yet”.  And to make it worse, he adds, “I wish we could snuggle together on the couch”.  Oh, the guilt!

As I’m about to throw in the towel on the whole run, in walks my husband.  “Go ahead honey, I’ll cook this morning”, he says.  After a few hugs and promises of snuggles later on, I’m out the door.  Feeling very blessed and still very guilty, I set out down the driveway and onto the trail.  I realize in my haste to leave the house, I’ve forgotten my garmin and my ipod.  I contemplate going back for them, but decide against it.  I’ve run this trail probably hundreds of times (usually it’s my quick run in the morning before heading off to work), but this morning it feels so different.  The smell of early fall is so intense, and the birds – wow!  Are they always this loud?  Running is easy today and I don’t push-just enjoy and concentrate on my form, my breathing, and the beauty that surrounds me.

Idaho trail running, Challis Idaho running

It strikes me how blessed I am to live here.  To step out my front door and right onto the trail.  The peace, the deer, the geese honking overhead, the unbelievable beauty of the mountains and the cliffs that are so easy to take for granted each day.  Before I know it, I’m at the gate-my turn-around point on this run.  Today, I stop to snap a few pictures and take in the view.  By now, my worries have left me, the guilt is mostly gone, and I don’t recall anything on my endless weekend to-do list.  Ah, this is why I need to run!  This is the gift my husband gives me every time he lovingly nudges me out the door.

Idaho trail running, Challis Idaho running

I head back home along the dirt road, optimistic about the day and grateful for what’s waiting for me at home.  As the road turns to single track, I spot my house atop the hill ahead and I stop to take a picture.  I think I’ll title it, “my trail home”.  And yes, it’s my favorite trail.

Idaho trail running, my favorite trail

Lightning Run To Challis Creek Lakes

This run wasn’t initially my idea, but at some point, I invited myself along.    In fact, when we first started discussing it, I couldn’t imagine being able to run 14  miles in the mountains.  But after a few years of steady running, I can now go out for a 14 mile run in the mountains anytime and actually enjoy myself.  Isn’t that really the goal anyway?  To be fit enough to do this kind of fun stuff with your friends!

According to Margaret Fuller’s guide book,  Trails Of Eastern Idaho  it would be a 16 mile run into Challis Creek Lakes.  We opted to drive a bit further up the road, making it 12 miles instead.  Even though it was mid-August, the temperature felt more like October.   The Jeep trail we ran to the lake was rocky and fairly steep at times, so we did a fair amount of hiking as well as running.  At one point I noticed how dark it had gotten, then it was hailing and  snowing on us.  Not the pretty, dry little snowflakes, but the soak-you-to-the-bone wet, stick-to-everything kind of snow.  After a quick stop to put on our rain gear we continued, a little slower this time since the rocks were slippery now.

Challis Creek Lakes Trail, Idaho Trail Running

Running in the August Snow

After 5 miles and a climb of almost 2.000 feet, we topped the ridge in a blizzard and there it was – Challis Creek Lake.  Well, it was the first of 3 lakes.   We snapped a few pictures, gathered everyone together and set off to find the next 2 lakes.

idaho trail running, Challis Creek Lakes

My running buddies at the lake

That’s when the thunder began.  It was eerie being up there next to the lakes…snow, dark skies and thunder.  We made our way around to lake #2.  Smaller than the first, but absolutely beautiful as well.  There was a mist coming up off the lake that made it look surreal.  “Let’s get going girls” someone yells as it starts to snow even harder.  More thunder, then lightning.  This was a first for me…..snow and lightning, and I can admit it now, I was starting to feel  a bit nervous for our safety.  Prompted by a loud clap of thunder, followed by too-close lightning, we unanimously decided to forget the 3rd lake and run for our lives.  There seem to be certain moments in our lives that stick with us forever.  I knew then this would be one of those moments if we lived through it.  We ran along the shoreline of the lakes.  The wind was blowing so hard we could hardly breathe and the snow hurt our bare calves as it pelted us…..more lightning, more thunder, and it was still way too close.  It seemed to take forever to get around those lakes and off that ridge.

Challis Creek Lakes, Idaho Trail Running

Snowstorm on The Lake

I felt much safer once we were back in the trees on our way down the mountain.  We stopped a few times, but decided we’d better keep moving so we could warm up.  We were wet, cold and starting to feel a little tired from the constant downhill pounding.  Our footing was not great.  Mostly slippery rocks, goey mud good for sliding in, and lots of stream crossings.  At some point during our slippery descent we began laughing so hard we couldn’t run or hardly even stand up.  I don’t recall what it was we were laughing at, but it sure seemed funny at the time.  Perhaps we were a little delirious!  Another memory that will stick with me forever.

Challis Creek Lakes, Idaho Trail Running

Our messy, slippery descent

The truck was a welcome sight.  We piled in, striped off the wet top layer and cranked up the heater as we shivered and waited for the rest of our group to arrive.  They weren’t far behind us.  They were just as cold, wet and happy to reach the truck.  Even the dog was shivering as he was lovingly covered with a warm fleece jacket for the ride out.  On the ride down, we recalled all the fun and scarey moments, slips and falls, nausea, fleeing for our lives.  Soon enough we were all home.  After a good lunch and a much-appreciated warm shower I felt great.  What a fantastic adventure!  Good friends, great memories, amazingly beautiful country, a great workout, lots of laughter,  and a little bit of danger.  Wouldn’t trade it for anything!!

What’s your best adventure with friends this summer?

Challis Creek Lakes, Idaho Trail Running, Mosquito Flat

View of the mountains we had just run


The Allure of Running “On Vacation”

Trail RunningGreg and I ran the RONR 25K (River of No Return Endurance Run) this morning, we are extremely tired. Yet the allure of running on vacation pushes us as we madly pack for our month-long vacation. Ah priorities…between running our Outdoor Sporting Goods Store and preparing for the RONR, packing was a low priority. So here I am at 9pm, we leave in the morning, and I am still packing.

I am completely overwhelmed with packing 5 people and our seemingly endless but necessary gear into the truck.  I determine that I’ll be up all night, and I will certainly forget important stuff due to lack of planning (something I am not accustomed to).  Greg asks if I’m packing my running stuff in our “hotel bags” (we will be spending 3 nights in hotels on our journey to Kentucky).  I snort and roll my eyes, “well of course”.  I’ve had my running gear stacked neatly in a pile by the bedroom door since last weekend.  Perhaps this says something about my priorities…no food packed, but I’ve got my running gear!  Fortunately, I’m too tired to dwell on it.

1st Run on Vacation

The next four days are a blur of interstate, public restrooms (which really make me miss home), gas stations, and hotels.  I’m up at 5:30 and out the door somewhere in Nebraska for my first “run on vacation”.  My Garmin says the elevation here is 1,118 ft.  That could explain the ease of the run as I’m clicking off the miles.  I weave my way along a bicycle path and then through some subdivisions.  It all feels so different here….there is traffic, other runners, humidity, and pavement.  I love looking at houses and wondering about what people’s lives are like here.

Running in Kentucky

My next run doesn’t come until we reach our destination-Kentucky.  I head out the door early to avoid as much of the heat and humidity as possible.   I make the loop around the path at the park, then Greg joins me.  The train passes by as we weave our way out of the huge trees that line the path.  The air feels thick and heavy.  That damp smell of the south – I love it!!  We wind through the neighborhoods and Greg tells me stories about who used to live here or there.  For us, running together is a perk of being here-something we don’t get to do much of at home.  The everyday cares of home are soon moved to the back of our minds.  Perhaps that’s one thing that makes running more fun on vacation.

Kentucky Vacation, Trail Running

Love on the run!

Running Trails at Land Between the Lakes

One weekend, we venture over to Land Between The Lakes to run the trails.  This is my favorite run here.  It is a bike trail that runs along the edge of Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, then the canal that connects the two lakes.  It is beautiful, in a very different way from home.  The trees are thick, and the trail is filled with lots of roots.  This is the same trail where Greg broke a toe and I broke a rib last year.  We agree that there will be no tripping and falling this year.  Running the trail between the lakes is heavenly…..beautiful, peaceful, and something that will stick with me until we return next year.

Trail Running Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake as seen from the Canal Loop Trail

All too soon it is over and we head home, squeezing in a nice run in Laramie around the campus-making me thankful to be back in the cool and dry mountain air.  As I reflect on our vacation, I recall lots of swimming, time with family, antique stores, water parks, and runs in beautifully different country.  We are grateful to be home, but also grateful for those special memories, running on vacation included.

Running on vacation, where is your favorite place to run?

Dirty Girl Gaiters Review

We think we have found the holy grail of trail gaiters. They are Dirty Girl Gaiters – made in the USA. Don’t be fooled by the name, these are made for women and men. These gaiters were developed by an ultrarunner who truly understands the need for a good, comfortable gaiter. They are by far the most comfortable gaiters we have worn. Made from a soft, four-way stretch spandex-type material. They weigh less than 2 ounces. The Dirty Girl gaiters reach about 2-2/12 inches above your ankles and fit snugly at the top. They attach with a hook to your shoelaces in the front, and with self-adhesive Velcro strip on the back of the shoe. Dirty Girl supplies you with the velcro, so all you need to do is clean the spot on your shoe where you want to attach the gaiters and apply the Velcro-very simple.

An added bonus is how stylish and colorful they are. We think these are just the ultimate trail accessory for both men and women, and come in so many colors and patterns, there is one or two or three for everyone. If you are color-shy, they even come in more conservative patterns and colors.

Dirty Girl Gaiters, Colorful Patterns

Dirty Girl Gaiters “Fishy Pattern”

Here in Central Idaho, we are fortunate to be surrounded by wilderness in every direction. Needless to say, our area offers some awe-inspiring scenery. And yet some of the most beautiful views can only be seen when we get off the road and onto the trail. We are runners. We learned to run on the road, but it was just a matter time before the scenery and other local trailrunners began to entice us to take our running to the trail. We have grown to love trailrunning: fresh air, beautiful views, wildlife, solitude, exercise. We are not elite or competitive runners……for us, it’s all about “the journey”.

No matter what your reason for being out there, trailrunning is not without its challenges. We have found that when our feet are not happy, neither are we. I am thinking of rocks, sticks, or whatever may find its way into your shoes that eventually begins to feel like a small rodent is gnawing off the bottom of your foot.

Mountain Trail Running, Scenic Views

We have tried to remedy this problem with gaiters, but until recently had not found a comfortable gaiter that feels great all day and does its job. We wore Dirty Girl Gaiters out on the River of No Return Endurance Runs course last weekend and were thrilled with them. They are light, comfortable, and they stayed put all day – no uncomfortable rubbing. We ran through the usual array of rocks, dirt, mud, snow, mud and more snow. We were impressed that nothing ever got into our shoes. Plus, we looked awesome out there on the trail – even at the end of the day! Whether you’re running or hiking, everyone out on the trail needs these. Get your Dirty Girl Gaiters at The Bent Rod Outdoors today.

Off to hit the trails….Greg and Cheri