Shut the f*#k up about your DNF

Shut the f*#k up about your DNF.

Guest Blogger Team TROT Ambassador Reuben Parks


No one cares. (I thought about ending the blog post there, but I’ll expound.)


Runners love to talk about running. Since we aren’t always running, it’s often how we form initial bonds with other runners. Go to your local running store (if it still exists), join a social run, sit down with a group of people that includes a couple of other runners, or, hell, watch two people, both wearing Garmin watches, sitting next to one another at the airport and you will overhear a conversation about running. Usually, those conversations are pretty jovial. They’ll cover topics from favorite routes and gear to a mutual disdain for cyclists. Soon, friendships are formed, email addresses are exchanged, and outings are scheduled.  

Eventually, as these friendships grow, you’ll meet up at races and compete; testing your mettle against each other and the clock.

One of you will be better trained than the other.

One of you will turn your ankle.

One of you will screw up your nutrition and hydration.

One of you will start a small fire in a place sadly untouched by Body Glide.

One of you won’t finish.

It’s a sad poem that’s written at every race. Let’s just agree that we should keep it to ourselves.

Not finishing a race is something that may never happen to you, but when it does, you’ll feel it. It doesn’t mean that you’ll just physically hurt (though that may be the case). Rather, your confidence will be shaken and your mind will spin with thoughts of, “What if?,” or “If only I had done X.” You may have to stop running for while due to a physical constraint and, God forbid, cross train. You’ll reconsider if running is even worth the trouble. Still, because we love talking about running, you’ll tell every runner you know what happened and how you’re feeling about it. Then, after you explain what a DNF is to your grandmother, you’ll tell her.


Everyone you talk to will be sympathetic, including the non-runners, and they will offer words of encouragement. You will get advice on how to overcome the setbacks and injuries. Then, you’ll lick your wounds, perhaps sign up for another race, and start training again. What you shouldn’t do is keep bringing up the DNF. Because, again, no one really cares.

Michael Kinsley, the founding editor of Slate, mentioned recently that one reason why he did not immediately tell colleagues about his Parkinson’s diagnosis was he felt that, in a sense, sympathy was finite. He felt that he would need their sympathy and help more as the disease progressed and didn’t want to impose while he was still quite capable. On the scale of serious setbacks, a Parkinson’s diagnosis is near the top of that list; a DNF doesn’t even crack the Top 100. Agreeing with Kinsley, people only have so much patience, so don’t test it with running commentary of what you did wrong. Or how things went south. Or how the aid stations didn’t have your brand of gels.

Here’s some advice, for what it’s worth, on how to handle not finishing a race:


  • Set a time limit on self-pity: Give yourself a predetermined time limit on being upset with your performance, the RD, or the conditions. Sitting around pouting and/or bitching serves no purpose and makes you look like an ass. If you want to do that, just take off or hide in your tent. Download “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. and cry yourself to sleep.


  • Stick around a while: Instead, hang out and cheer on others (provided you’re not in the medical tent or in an ambulance) coming across the finish line. It’s not only good sportsmanship, but it can be helpful to see how others cope with a tough race.


  • Take responsibility: Understand that your experience is specific to you. Sure, others might have battled the same course and conditions, but you chose, or had, to stop. Seeking out others who share your experience is normal and misery loves company, but the first step to learning how to be better prepared starts with looking at your own performance.


  • Make a list of what went wrong: Then, jot down some notes about what you could fix before your next race. Coach Jason Koop mentions in his book, Training Essentials for Ultrarunning, that most DNFs can be linked to a training deficiency. Even when you trip and fall, it can be argued that a better understanding of the course or endurance preparation could help avoid a stumble. Take this opportunity to tweak your training to be better prepared for your next race.


  • Shut up and get back out there: Finally, keep looking forward. You may feel like a failure. Hey, that’s because you failed. You set your sights on finishing a race, perhaps with a PR or hitting a higher mileage, and it didn’t happen this time. So what. There’s likely another race in 7 days. There may be another race the next day. Work to learn from the experience, heal up (mentally or physically or both), and get back to what you love.

[Author’s note: I wrote this small article to help me cope with my own issues after a subpar race, so don’t feel that this is, any way, directed to any individual runner.]

Why You Should Run the San Felipe Shootout… (or any other trail race)

Guest Blogger: Team TROT Ambassador Jennifer Lee


There are 1000 excuses NOT to run this race……It’s only a week away. I’m not trained enough. Trail running is too hard. I’ll trip on a rock. Houston is far away. No one will come with me.

Last year at this time, I had all those thoughts. I had only done a 15K trail race a few months earlier, but I had an ultra in April and figured this race would be good race day practice for gear preferences, drop bags, hydration, nutrition, etc. So I bit the bullet and signed up for the Shoot Out – so this race has a 5k, 10K and half-marathon option, but for those of us endurance junkies, you can sign up for all the above and combine them for a 22.4 miler aka the Shoot Out.

I was super excited to get on a new trail and get race day ready. Then it rained – all damn week leading up to the race. My friend who I was crashing with in Houston told me conditions didn’t seem bad and that the TROT folk (aka Rob) were just being cautious in the email that said it was muddy and to bring a change of clothes. When I pulled into Stephen Austin park morning of I saw giant puddles EVERYWHERE.

As we crossed the start line into muddy terrain and sliding into one another, we had instant comradery. Something that happens often between runners, but way more on the trails. Maybe it’s being caked in mud struggling to stay on your feet, but falling into the persons butt in front of you. Then having them land on top of you when they try to help you up.

I fell in line with TROT ambassador Stephen Moore for the start and he regaled me with fun racing stories and urged me to try to qualify for Leadville (haha at my second ever trail race). He told me all about TROT and why he loves it and runs with them. Inspired me to pick up my pace – I was cruising, till I approached what looked like a river crossing. There was a leprechaun on a Finding Nemo float (aka John Stasulli) in the middle to direct us back to shore.

I trudged/ran/swam my way over and climbed up a tree to get out. Then I kept running. With each loop of the race water rose higher and higher. I thought about quitting, wondering why I was running through hell and high water (almost literally) when no one was making me. But honestly, I was having so much fun sliding around with everyone, talking laughing, chugging Oreos, gummy bears and pickles and other “fuel” at the aid stations. Also, there is my competitive side that wanted to prove I could do it and enjoys the challenge. I saw Stephen and the rest of my new friends at loops and we cheered each other on – how could I quit? And why would I?

When I climbed out of the water and across the finish line, the feeling was AMAZING. Got hugs from my new best friends including Rob, the director. Glanced down at my watch, which I hadn’t looked at all day because I didn’t give a damn about pace and just about staying afloat. I realized with all the jumping around mud I clocked in a good 26.5 miles. I was shocked to learn I finished in the top 25 because I hadn’t even considered this a “race.”

Getting on the trails with this group is more like a social event. One that inspired me to become a TROT ambassador thereafter. It gave me confidence for my ultra and for life. You learn to take changing tides in stride and keep going to the finish. You get comfortable with uncomfortable – heat rash, water, blisters, whatever.  And best of all, you have a cheering section around every bend and very muddy sweaty hugs at the finish that only a fellow trail runner can appreciate.

So for all those excuses….

It’s only a week away. SO WHAT STILL TIME.

I’m not trained enough. RUN THE 5K OR JUST TRY IT. WALK IF YOU NEED. JUST GO.

Trail running is too hard. YES. BUT ALSO VERY FUN AND ADDICTIVE.


Houston is far away. MAYBE. BUT WORTH IT.


Mess with the bulls (and rattle snakes)- you fall in holes?

Guest Blogger Team TROT Ambassador: John Stasulli

My head was throbbing and my world was blurry as I came across the finish line at the Crazy Desert Trail Race 50k with my son Anthony, who had been out shooting photos of the race.  I don't remember receiving my medal, which I found later in my Victory bag, nor do I recall conversations that I had along the course with good friends or even the congratulatory greeting by Rob Goyen.  In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have even crossed the finish line that day. 

For the last year, I had been working with my coach, Karen Kantor, to increase my running performance and to become a more competitive (local) runner.  Training had been very focused to make sure my body (and mind) were conditioned and ready for what these races would throw at me.   My first attempt at testing the results of the training ended with Achilles Tendonitis back in November 2016 which took me out of any hard training for a few months.   The Crazy Desert Trail Race 50k, being put on my Trail Racing Over Texas, was to be my comeback race.   


Up to this point I would dab in various races just to go out, have fun, and use my lack of race experience to just cross the finish.  These events for me were all about fun, which is another reason I am typically at these events in a costume!   I made the decision to change things up and to see what I was capable of and the morning of March 11th, I was going to find out!

The sun had just come up as I walked to the starting line of the 50k race with 63 other runners.  Unlike previous ultra-marathons where I started somewhere in the back of the pack, this race was different.  I started at the line with some amazing athletes that I look up to!  We began the countdown and with Rob yelling across the crowd, MY race was underway.  All of us took off down the trail and onto the amazing single-track course (very similar to what I train on daily).   This single track was absolutely glorious!  Running in and out of the cacti fields, the occasional tight turns, the abundance of wildlife, and the occasional desert rollers.  I was in love with these trails from the start!  At the start of the race I did come across randomly dug holes in the middle of the trail though that would mess with my mind later in the race!


The entire first 18mi loop was perfectly on target.  I carried my Orange Mud VP2 with two bottles of Tailwind and my plan was to be self-sufficient throughout this entire race.   If I stopped at an aid station for anything, that would add time to my race which I didn’t want.  Plus, for those who know me, stopping at the aid station would have resulted in my talking; I am quite the social butterfly at races!  I stuck to my plan perfectly and felt GREAT! I blazed through each aid station yelling thank you to the volunteers without stopping once.  This was it!  The first loop I was surrounded by two great athletes the entire time.  Daniel Bucci was directly in front of me and right behind me was Vivian Carrasco (who went on to finish 2d overall!).   Daniel was always within eye-sight of me and every time I glanced back Vivian was only about 15-20’ behind me!  She ran such an amazing race and she is only 19 years old!  Oddly enough the most memorable part of this race is when Vivian and I ran through the post-apocalyptic park pavilions (one of my favorite sections of this race) when I had to clear the trail over about 20-30 Long Horns!   Without us slowing down I began clapping and yelling as they cleared our path.  We never actually spoke during that first loop, but it was such a fun amazing time!

Photo: Katie Graff

I completed my first loop (which ended up being a little over 18mi) in 2:40:46 in 5th place overall.  Everything up to this point had gone according to plan.  Hydration and nutrition were on point and legs felt amazingly good.   This is the only planned stop I had but it was only long enough to swap out my two bottles (which were already pre-mixed and ready to go) and grab half a protein cookie.  I was in and out of my make-shift aid station just as planned without skipping a beat.  While my transition was quick, Vivian’s was even better.  In the short time, I had grabbed my two bottles of Tailwind and protein cookie she had already ran back out the chute and onto the course!   Once my cookie was down I was back on pace heading onto the single track for the final 18mi of the race. 

Mile 20.  No matter how hard you train or the preparations you make, it is ultimately the trail that determines your fate and in this case, it was a hole.  I have been told that the holes on the course were the result of prairie dogs, rabbits, ground hogs, or armadillos.  Whichever it was, one of those holes gave me the opportunity to spend a lot more time on the glorious single-track than I had planned.   When going around a turn my foot dropped into a hole and I couldn’t catch myself.  I ended up bouncing my forehead off the trail.  From that point, my race had changed.  The more I ran, the more my head pounded and focusing on the trail at times seemed challenging.  The shadows that were cast on the trail were making me dizzy and everything out of my right eye was blurry.  I would run (what I thought was fast) until my head began throbbing and then dialed it back to a walk until it went away.  Much of the 2d loop was a blur to me (in more ways than one).  I continued along as much as my head would allow.  Eventually I began approaching the end of the final loop as I crept into Flintstone.  This section became considerably slower as I was not only battling my head and blurred vision, but this is when I finally encountered rattle snakes.  On a short stretch (about .5mi long) I ran into 4 (yes FOUR) rattlesnakes.   All but 3 of them were kind enough to go about their way and get off the trail.  The final snake, which was about ~7-8 years old based on the rattles, decided that he was going to go DOWN the trail with me.   I patiently waited in the trail for him to go on his way.  While doing so Victoriano, who was working the Flintstone Aid Station and a fellow TROT ambassador, came along to see if I was ok.   Once the rattlesnake cleared the trail, I was off again making my final few mile push to the finish line.

My son, who was at the race taking pictures, met me and ran me in the last 1/4mi. I crossed the finish line and new I made a mistake.  As I looked back on the loop, I couldn’t recall passing through some of the aid stations.  I was having trouble thinking, and my head was throbbing.   I made my way to the truck to sit down and call my wife Elizabeth.  One of my amazing friends Tammy and my son Anthony were worried about me and found a medic to come check me out.  After a short evaluation, it was determined that I had a mild-concussion and I spent the remainder of the day sitting under the TROT merchandise tent resting in the shade and answering random questions from the patrons.   As the day went on my vision began improving and the throbbing subsided.  Another friend, who is a Physician’s Assistant, also checked on me and gave me some advice and pointers as well.  I truly am blessed to have such an amazing family and friends in my life.


Photo by Trail Racing Over Texas (Anthony Stasulli)

Photo by Trail Racing Over Texas (Anthony Stasulli)

I don’t recall much from the second loop, nor do I recall being given medal and that is the biggest mistake I made that day.  After hitting my head like that, I really should not have continued.

I went into this race with huge goals for myself, all of which I believed were very attainable and realistic.  I knew this field had some amazing athletes so I wasn’t chasing a person or a place (although in the back of my head I was aiming for a top 5 finish), I was racing against the clock, and that magic number was to finish a 50k in 4:29. 

While the prairie dogs had a different outcome in store for me, I am proud of what transpired during this race.  While I didn’t finish in the time that I wanted, this was still by best finish at an Ultra Marathon!  I placed 9th overall (my first top-10 finish at an ultra) and 2d in my age-group.  Strava even informed me later that I set PRs on the 20k, Half Marathon, 30k, Marathon, and 50k distances!   I think what I am most excited about is my legs.  They never once felt tired and even today, there is no DOMS present! 

I learned what I was capable of at this race and this year, I WILL stand on those boxes this year! 

Race Gear:

Orange Mud VP2

Tailwind Nutrition

Goodr Glasses

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2

John “The Grinch” Stasulli

Twitter: @JohnStasulli

Instagram: @JohnStasulli

Julie Dading My First 50k

Julie Dading

"My First 50k"

At the spur of the moment, on a sunny day in December, I decided to take a leap and sign up for my first 50k – the beast known to many as the Horseshoe Trail Run at Jack Brooks park which is held by TROT in January.    This park and I have had our issues with each other during the Night Moves Races in 2016, but I felt it was time to return and face “Mr. Brooks” once again, cause this chick doesn’t like to back down from a challenge.   And she doesn’t like it when someone (or something) tries to break her inner spirit.  So it was on!

Days prior to the race, the Houston area received a significant amount of rain which caused flooding in many areas, which included Jack Brooks Park.   I began to question myself as to whether I should skip the race or drop to a lower distance.  With this being my first 50k, it made the anxiety kick up a notch (ok more like five notches).

A couple of days prior to the race, I received the anticipated email from TROT to update everyone on the trail conditions.    The moment I saw the coveted “100% FUN” mentioned in the email, I began the traditional #FUROB chant cause when “100% FUN” is mentioned, that means you got a fking challenge ahead of you.    But it also means that you can take this situation, grab a hold of it by its balls, and just go have some damn FUN.     So then and there, I decided to stick with the 50k and just have fun.

The morning of the race, I show up, toes to the starting line, ready to kick Mr. Brooks ass.   I was excited, yet nervous like a school kid about to give a speech in front of the class.   I started to question my ability.   Can I do this?  Am I ready?  Was I crazy to sign up for this last minute?   The answer to all those questions was YES.  So let’s get this party started.  It’s finally geaux time.

As I start the race, I feel good and smiling.   Holy shit I am doing this!   Then we turn the corner to hit the inner trails and the 100% FUN begins.    During the first of five loops, I realized I was in for a challenge that was more overwhelming than what I anticipated.   Started to question myself again, as I sloshed through the dense, gripping mud and slid down those devious, slippery hills that wanted to throw me back to the bottom of the pit.  Took a few deep breaths and told myself to keep going.  One step at a time.  And whatever you do, don’t cry.

During my 2nd and 3rd loops (yes I made it this far), I was struggling on many levels.  The demon of Jack Brooks was really trying to break my spirit, my strength, my will to achieve a new goal.   But during the 3rd loop, I came upon a group of runners who were doing the 5k and 10k distances.   Some were sitting at the bottom of a very tough hill, in tears.   This was their first race and they felt defeated that they couldn’t overcome the grimy, muddy obstacle ahead of them.  They wanted to succeed at this race with our all their heart.   So I stopped and talked to them and created a plan to help them overcome this hurdle.   After much team work, all the runners scaled that muddy demon and made it to the top!  Every one of them hugged me and thanked me for taking time out of my own race to help them achieve their own goals.   They showed the same blood, sweat, and tears that many of us experience – whether it’s a 5K or a 50K.  It all means the same.  You are putting forth so much of your inner strength to do something you thought you could never, ever do.    But if you have the right foundation in place, anything can be achieved.  

With about 2 miles left in the 3rd loop, the doubt started to hit like Miley Cyrus on wrecking ball.  I started to stumble and fall, over and over.  I cut my hand at some point, not sure where, but looked down and noticed the blood covering my hand.  Remember earlier when I told myself not to cry?    Well the tears started to flow down my dirty cheeks, trying to persuade me this can’t be done.  Just quit Julie, it’s over.   A few minutes later I told myself I would regret giving up.  I’ve fought many demons in the past, so why can’t I put this demon to rest?   Took some deep inner breaths, wiped the dirty tears from my face, and moved forward.  That’s all you can do.  

I come across the start line to finish my third loop.   I see my boyfriend on the side, cheering me on.  That always warms my heart, knowing he is there for me.  Gives me strength I never had before.  I turn the corner to the aid station and my good friend Victor is there to greet me.   He can see the tears in my eyes, but doesn’t acknowledge it.  Instead he reminded me there was so much support there to help me finish this, so don’t quit.   He also took the time to clean up my bloody hand and wrapped it up with much care.    Everyone is telling me I can do this, I have the strength, both mental and physical.   So off I go for loop 4.  

During loops 4 and 5, the struggle was becoming harder.   The depths of hell were trying to drag my tired body to the ground.    I realized I was one of the last runners still attempting to finish this bitch.   Although it was sad to know I was close to last place, I also know I hadn’t given up.   I kept remembering what Victor told me.     I can hear the TROT award celebrations going on, hearing Rob on the speaker reminded me I was close to “home”.   One step at a time, Julie.  You got this.   Then, I finally exit the trails and find the road that will lead me back “home”.    Crap I hope they didn’t forget I was out there….and there better still be some damn beer left!

As I start my way down the road, I start to see human life once again.   It’s my good friend Jeremy, who’s waving me come in.   My legs are feeling weak, my arms just want to curl up.   If I crash during this last section, I’ll never forgive myself.   Then I hear RD Rob saying something on the speakers.   I hear him calling my name.  “Cmon Julie, we are here waiting for you!!”.     Cheers from spectators were lifting up my tired body, encouraging me to give it all I got.   It was amazing!   My legs suddenly felt like they belonged to a wild stallion!   I gave it all I got to cross the finish line.   I felt so empowered.  And to see all my wonderful friends who helped me get where I am today.     My heart just swelled.   I splash over the finish line, and  RD Rob gave me his infamous hug, although I really wanted to just collapse right there.   Remember earlier when I told myself not to cry?   I did, again.   But these were tears created by a foundation which I call my family.   Tears that showed I have strength beyond what many people in my past said I didn’t have.   So as I take my well-earned medal, I fall into the arms of my best friend…..and smiled.   

Texas Trail Blazer Movie Premieres

Texas Trail Blazer

We are stoked to partner with Sierra Studio Films to produce our story of how Trail Racing Over Texas. 

The Trail Racing Over Texas story.

At age 31, Rob Goyen weighed 347 lbs. was an alcoholic and pack-a-day smoker, who had never run before in his life. Influenced by his wife Rachel to live a healthy life, he discovered trail running and took his health back. This 24-minute documentary follows Rob, and his new passion as a race director, organizing his next 100-mile trail race to give back to the Texas running community that supported him during his major life changes.

Trail Racing Over Texas Announces Red Bull as Race Series Supporter


Contact: Chris Douglas - Presidio Sports Management


Trail Racing Over Texas Announces Red Bull as Race Series Supporter


Houston, Texas (August 3, 2016)Trail Racing Over Texas, the largest community-based trail racing organization in the state of Texas, today announced Red Bull as a new series supporter. Beginning with the Night Moves Trail race, Red Bull and Trail Racing Over Texas will collaborate on a variety of ways to positively impact trail racing experiences for all event participants.  Chief amongst those, Red Bull energy drink will be available on-course to runners at all Trail Racing Over Texas races through 2017, starting with the competitions taking place this weekend at Jack Brooks Park south east of Houston.


“Red Bull is synonymous with endurance sports and with athletes of all kinds exploring their potential.  Being one of the most globally recognized brands in the fitness and performance space, Red Bull is the most relevant of partners for us.  We are looking to continue to push the boundaries of what trail running is here in Texas and are looking forward to doing that with the support of Red Bull.” Rob Goyen RD of Trail Racing Over Texas.


Trail Racing Over Texas produces a variety of races that fit well with Red Bull, which is deeply involved with other iconic events such the Speedgoat 50K, Red Bull 400, Red Bull Lionheart, and Way to Cool 50K.   From ultra trail races in the mountains of Texas to night marathons, this partnership is sure to help runners reach their goals.


For more information about Trail Racing over Texas or please contact Robert Goyen at



Trail Racing Over Texas (TROT) produces the largest trail running series in Texas with over 16 races offering a variety of distances from 5k’s to ultra-marathons, kids only races and night races. TROT is a community-based company that aims to involve and benefit local communities by giving back in various ways. TROT is also devoted to bringing greater awareness to the Texas State Parks and Wildlife Department by placing races in beautiful Texas State Parks.

Trail Racing Over Texas takes over the Crazy Desert Trail Race

Trail Racing Over Texas is excited to announce that we have taken over the Crazy Desert Trail Race in San Angelo State Park. This race has been an amazing race for over 5 years put on by the Road Lizards and RD Jeff Lisson. The race has been a 50k, 26.2, 13.1 and 10k for these years and has been benefiting local non profits as well.

So we will hold the race March 11th 2017 and will head to the park in July to see if we can add in a 100k in the mix to have another long, buckle opportunity in Texas in the early spring. We will open registration for the race no later than August 1st.

But we are very excited to be heading west to the San Angelo State park home of the Official Longhorn Heard and Bison Heard.

We might need to start a new ‪#‎RunwithBison‬ hashtag afterall.

Follow the link to check out the park:

PC: Joshua Trudell

TROT Veterans Program

logo final - color.png

One thing we Love about race directing is the opportunity to give back to both the community and also to our veterans.

We realize that there is great value in having veterans in our races, at our races and active in the trail community.

We have for over a year been looking at various ways that we thought we could give back through TROT to our veterans. So as of July 1st 2016 we will announce our TROT Veteran Program. The program will allow all veterans past and present an opportunity to give us their info, the race they want to do and the distance. We will then select some veterans for each race and comp the entries into that race of choice.

We feel in our hearts that this is our way of saying thank you, and your way to earn something for yourself in the process on the trails.

So here is the LINK and we will begin July 1st. 

How to find motivation to train daily?

The Hot Hairy Breath of Motivation

Guest Blogger: Rachel Adamson

As an endurance running enthusiast, I’m frequently asked a laundry list of questions. However, the questions always tend to circle back to one topic. Motivation.

“How do you find the motivation to put in your training?”

Well, folks, I’m no expert, and I’m certainly not an elite, but I can attest to one thing. Brushing my teeth. Yes, ma’am (or sir), it’s really that simple. And we all do it. Frequently. We brush our teeth daily, because we want to have healthy gums and teeth. We certainly don’t want to knock down people we meet throughout the day because we’ve been slaying dragons with our bare teeth. No?

Same principle applies when pursuing endurance goals. You wake up, you do the work. You set goals. You set big, huge, fantastic, and sometimes even—scary goals. And then you do the work. Every day. Granted, we all have days when we roll out of bed, drink that first cup (or pot, don’t judge me) of coffee, and just don’t want to, and that’s completely normal. Everyone has those days. I even hear rumor that the elites sometimes feel this way (probably only a fraction of the times I do, but still).

But, guess what? You still get up and brush your teeth, right? So why not go ahead and slay that workout. Because the secret is-- doing it anyway IS motivation. It might not feel like it at the time, but that’s exactly what it is. Being consistent is motivation. You do it because you don’t want to show up on race day and find you’ve knocked yourself over from a lack of training. You do it because all of those workouts you’ve got on your schedule will ultimately culminate into a strategically planned race in which you do just as well as you’ve trained.

Now, with everything said about doing it anyway, let me be very clear: I’m not saying ignore injury and power through your workouts only to ultimately make things worse and then set your training back a few weeks. That’s stupid. That’d be like brushing your teeth for an hour straight and then whining that your gums are bleeding and your mouth is raw. Don’t be stupid. Don’t brush your teeth for a solid hour either.

How does one stay motivated? Simply by doing the work. Motivation isn’t some unseeable unicorn that exists in the outer limits of this universe. It is the daily grind. It is getting up when you’re knocked down. It is finishing that race despite being hours behind your goal time and then finishing DFL. It is every little workout that you finish in order to make those goals happen. Motivation is the daily grind. It is showing up and being accountable to yourself every single day.

As for brushing my teeth, that’s a labor I do simply because I love my trail running family; that or they would all grow exceedingly tired of being chased down by my hot, hairy breath.

Now, go be motivated, and don’t forget to brush your teeth.

Why trail run and what should I know before a trail race?


Guest Blogger: Marc Henn


Most runners don’t normally  start off as trail runners.  In fact, there are a lot of road runners that are actually kind of scared to try trail running because they insist that they are more likely to hurt themselves on the trail.  Sure there are roots, rocks, and other obstacles but the reality is people don’t fall or twist their ankles all that often and you are more likely to sustain injury road running vs trail running.  How can that be?  The answer is the repetitive motion of road running is far more likely to causes an overuse injury.  Even worse, statistically, you are more likely to get injured on a treadmill or track because of overuse injury.


Our bodies were made to walk and run on the uneven surface.  There are lots of different stabilizer muscles that often don’t get used or atrophy when you run in a straight line on even surfaces which then make you prone to imbalances and then injury.  So don’t be afraid to unlock your inner primal beast and go for a trail run. 


OK…so now you are running trails and maybe you want to try your hand at a trail run or even an ultra?  Awesome!  You will find the trail racing experience different than the road racing experience.  Sure trail runners can be just as competitive as road runners but on the trail, you’ll find that it’s also about the overall experience of being in nature and seeing the beautiful surroundings. 


So what should you know really?  Well first off, don’t be intimidated at all.  Trail runners are like one big family and really look out for each other.  So ask lots of questions…I’ve never found a trail runner….or runner in general for that matter that doesn’t like talking about running and if you ask them a question they will be more than happy to talk to you.  Here are some other tips:


·         Do your research before a race. Yes…you know all those emails and race documents that the race director takes the time to put together, list on their websites, and email you…yeah go ahead and read all of it.  Look at the course map…figure out where the aid stations will be and what will be on them.  Also, keep in mind trails are not like roads so weather can have an impact causing an RD to change the route or other details of the race so stay informed and watch for updates.  You spend hours and hours training spend an hour researching the race you want to run.

·         Bring your own hydration system.  Depending on the race you may want to use a handheld, hydration pack, or a belt of some sort.  What you use is a personal choice.  Unlike road races where you might have an aid station or water stop every mile, mile and a half or so in trail races it’s pretty common to go 4 or 5 miles between aid stations….sometimes shorter and sometimes much longer depending on many factors.  Some races are held in remote areas where it’s very difficult to set up aid stations.  In addition, some like all Trail Racing Over Texas races are cupless so you have to have your own water container.

·         Don’t litter!  In a road race, runners will run by aid stations, grab a cup, take a drink, and throw it on the side of the road.  No…not so in trail races, in fact, littering can be grounds for getting a DQ in many trail races and in my opinion rightly so.  If you see something on the ground it’s also not a bad idea to pick it up even if you didn’t drop it. 

·         Don’t complain!  Every race will have it’s adversities and that challenge is actually what you seek.   As they say….Embrace the suck!  Races where really bad weather or conditions make for better stories.

·         Take care of yourself and your fellow trail runners.  Not everything always goes right for a runner in a race.  Remember on the trail you could be in a spot that is remote so if you are not feeling well, in bad shape, injured, etc….let someone know.  No race is worth long term injury much less getting into a life threating situation.  Scared…don’t be it’s unlikely to happen but so is getting into a car wreck but we still wear seat belts.  If you’re running along and find someone else who is in bad shape offer aid…again your race isn’t more important than the overall wellbeing of another person.   Most of the time people don’t need much and just need to take a breather but, if appropriate, you may need to go ahead to the next aid station and alert a volunteer.  Get the runners name and bib number so the volunteer can alert the RD in able for them to help the runner.

·         Volunteer!  To me when I run a race it’s my day…it’s about reaching my own goal and facing my own challenge.  Clearly that is very rewarding but it’s taking.  There is nothing wrong with taking but every now and then try to give back by volunteering.  The reward of volunteering and helping others reach their goals is also very gratifying and fulfilling but obviously in a different way.   Some RDs offer nice rewards to volunteers like t-shirts and discount to future races which is a very nice perk.

Clearly these tips are not exhausted, I could go on and on, but hopefully it’s a starting point.  If you’d like to dip your toe in and run a trail race then just do it.  You’ll soon find yourself hooked on trails!

Trail Racing Over Texas Cup Update post Wildflower Half

Trail Racing Over Texas Cup Update Post Wildflower Half

Well as with any new point system I knew that it would take a year at least for everyone to get the hang of the points and also for there to be true competitiveness in it as well. Wildflower was an equalizer since it was closer to some groups that others and that really shook the rankings up. 

Our Top 3 Men with Jeff Ball, Andre Fuqua and Steve Moore stayed the same as none of them ran the Wildflower Half. Team TROT runner Dan Bucci after his win moved into 5th overall, Cody Wollard's solid performance moved him into 7th and Marc Henn's consistent approach has him in 10th. 

TEAM TROT runner Tracie Akerhielm retained her lead but Team TROT runner Lauren Ross moved into a solid 2nd place after winning the Wildflower Half. Jenna Jurica who won the 10k at Wildflower moved into a solid 3rd place within striking distance of the lead. 

Where there is smoke there is FIRE... And the Brazos Running Club is ON FIRE right now. They send the troops out in full force to the Wildflower Half and hit the Jackpot. 

The Golden Triangle Strutters tacked on 6 points to push them to 173.4 and sole leader of the CLub Standings. The Brazos Running Club put up over 59 points to move them past the HATRs into 2nd place with 110 points. The Houston Area Trail Runners picked up 25 points to pull them up to 94 points. Team RWB add 10 to their 47 point total and the Lone Star Spartans added 5 points to get them to 33. 

In our volunteer contest James "im here every race" Limbaga leads the volunteers followed by Eddie Williams and Robyn Thompkins.

So the places are moving and everything that goes with it. The Texas Treasure Quest is a points based game so it does not count but we will resume with the August 6th Night Moves Trail Run. 


Wildflower Half Post Race Review

Wildflower Half Race Review

It was an amazing day of clear skies, sunshine at the Beautiful Bastrop State Park. The trails at the park are a great mix of sandy, rocky, up, down and some great creek crossings as well. The park camping was filled up months leading up and we sold the race out after only 8 weeks of open registration. As the runners poured into the park it was evident that there was so many new TROT faces to mix into the regular TROT family. 

As the countdown hit 7am the 13.1 half marathon took off up the single track. Team TROT runner Dan Bucci set out of the gate to lead the race and won it wire to wire. The young mens pack held tight to Daniel through the 2 loops leading into the final lap. Benjamin Meyer was 2nd, Jacob Torkelson was 3rd and barely 4th was Alex Wright. Alexis Didler was just seconds behind and Amy Kelly charged hard for 3rd place to round it out. 

Team TROT runner Lauren Ross led the womens field out and set the pace quickly. She hammered down each lap and ended up with the female win and 8th overall. 2nd was Kaylnn Champagne and 3rd was Anna Casto just 20 seconds behind. 

In the 10k newly converted trail runner Jenna Jurica took 1st overall for the men and women. Taylor Mcdonald from El Paso was the 2nd female and Jennifer Foulds took 3rd. Cody Wollard took home the top spot for the men with a 1st place finish. Ed williams coming back from a long injury was welcomed back with a 2nd place finish with Werner Hartman in 3rd. 

It the 5k 10 year old Christian Lewis dropped the hammer on the field with a 1st place finish. Glenn Mullen was 2nd place for the men and Ryan Mays was 3rd. For the ladies Irma Arellano was 1st female and 2nd overall. 

Trail Racing Over Texas Cup Post Brazos Bend 50 Update


Trail Racing Over Texas Cup Updated Standings

With the Brazos Bend 50 having 4 distances and over 880 runners there was quite a bit of change within the individual runners and a BIG change with our new groups making some headway.

Mens Division

Team TROT runner Jeff Ball continued with his 1st place standings this year by capturing the 25k title and staying a top in 1st place. Andre Fuqua tried his hand at the 50 miler distance for the 1st time and fought hard all day long. That great effort combined with his strong performances at Horseshoe Trail Run and San Felipe have him sitting nicely in 2nd place. John Yoder 4th and Daniel Lawton great finishes in the 50 miler put them in the top 5 for the points. Team TROT runner Calum Neff's win in the 50k has him within striking distance of the top 3 and with Franklin Mountains and BB100 on deck will give the top 5 a run for its money this year.

Womens Division

Team TROT runner Tracie Akerhielm took the CR at the 10k padding her lead as the top female so far this year. Team TROT runner Lauren Ross who won the 25k at the BB50 moved into 2nd place so far with strong performances in the Horseshoe Trail Run and also San Felipe Shootout as well. Shawna Meyers great effort at the BB50k moved her into 3rd for the standings. Robin Phelps 2nd place finish in the 50 miler moves her also up into the top 5 to round out the field. 

Full Standings including age groups, volunteers, teams below.

Club Championships

There is some BIG CRUMBLINGS in the Club Championships with the emergence of the Brazos Runners Club this race. Our reigning 2 time champion Golden Triangle Strutters came out in full force at the BB50 and stayed a top with 167 points. The Houston Area Trail Runners put up some great finishes as well and pulled into striking distance with 69 points. The newly minted Brazos Runners Club came in swinging with a whopping  51 total points after getting all of their members in the program. Team RWB rounded 4th with 37 points and the Lone Star Spartans stayed consistent with 28 points. 

Volunteer Points

James Limbaga RAN the Brazos Bend 50 miler successfully at the BB50 but also volunteered wednesday and thursday of race week. He comes in at 70 hours clocked volunteering this year. Eddie Williams was back again clearing 40 hours total for the year and Robyn Thompkins was just over 38 hour as well for the year. Lots of amazing hours spend by ALL of the volunteers in each and every race. We keep track of these awesome people and will reward the top 3 with something at the TROT CUP Awards in January 2017. 

The Mens and Womens age groups are heating up as well for all of the groups. Make sure that if you have members that need to add they can signup HERE

Brazos Bend 50 Race Review

BB50 Race Review 

The Brazos Bend 2016 will always be remembered as the year we didnt get crazy weather and we had more than 880 registered runners. 

The 50 miler was a pack of 4 for the first 2 loops with Daniel Lawton, Melanie Rabb, John Yoder and Mark Lawton roaming the course together. In the end Daniel Lawton was 1st, Melanie Rabb was 2nd overall/1st female and John Yoder was 3rd for the males. 

Team TROT runner and World Record Holder Cal Neff came out to BB50k with a fast, hard run in his sights. He tore up the course with a new CR of 3:10. Edenn Perez followed in 2nd with a 3:45 and Team TROT runner Dan Bucci goes 3:53 while completing his 50th marathon. In the ladies Victoria Webster was 1st female/4th overall, Team TROT runner Katie Graff was 2nd in 4:18 and Heidi Anderson was 3rd in 4:30.

Team TROT runner Jeff Ball cruised to the 25k lead with a 1:31, Randy Becker was close behind with a 1:43 for 2nd and Dustin Sanquist was 3nd in 1:54. Team TROT runner Lauren Ross defending her 2015 title with a 1:59 for the womens women. 2nd was Ashley Gallagher with a 2:07 and in 2:09 was Lisa Korsten.

In the 10k Tracie Akerhielm broke the CR with a 39:29 on her way to winning the Overall title in the race. Crystal Oden was 2nd with a 50:48 and 3rd was Juliana Ronderos in 53:12. For the men Kenny York was 1st male/2nd overall 43:29 with a close 2nd from John Cuellar in 44:32 and 3rd Ethan Cooper in 44:39.

It was a great day for the park, all of the runners and the amazing volunteers. This is one of the biggest races in the history of Texas Trail Running so it was very special. 

For the rest of our race schedule click here

Full Results via Ultrasignup

Hard Earned Heat Training Tips

Hard-earned heat training tips

Guest Blogger: Julie Koepke

Almost four years ago, I loaded up my car in Minnesota and drove about as far south down I-35 as I possibly could, down to San Antonio.  One big reason I moved from MN is that I can't stand cold weather; I'd much rather run in heat, and since moving, I've enjoyed running the Capt'n Karls 60k night series every summer, and even managed to get through the Habanero Hundred 100 mile race last summer (race report here).

Ever since my first run here, on a 100-degree day, I've picked up a lot of ideas about running in heat -- mostly from doing things very, very wrong and learning from my mistakes.  As we head into the summer, a few folks have been asking me for tips on surviving Habanero Hundred or other hot races, so I figured I'd share what I've learned.

Caution: I'm not a doctor, or even that smart.  Everything I write here is simply picked up from my experiences racing in Texas summer heat. Hopefully some of this will be helpful to others, but don't blame me if it doesn't work for you!

 Here's what I've learned works for me to successfully run in heat:

  • Ice, ice, and more ice!
    • During summer races, I take a few moments at aid stations to request a scoop of ice down my shirt.  Then, as I continue running, I steal some cubes from my bra to put in my hat and mouth, or rub on my face.  On a 96-degree night during a 60k, this feels amazing!
    • I'm also excited to try my new insulated water bottle from Nathan.  It's supposed to keep ice and liquids cooler 20% longer than other insulated bottles.  Ice-cold water tastes so good during a hot race!
  • Apparel designed for heat:
    • Ice bandana -- I use one from zombierunner, which is designed specifically to hold ice close to your neck.  It's the best!
    • Cooling towel -- you know, the ones where you get it wet and it's supposed to stay cold and wet for a long time?  I don't use one of these anymore.  I made a huge mistake at a Capt'n Karls race one year; I had this great idea of cutting a head-sized hole in one of these and wearing it for the race.  I thought it would keep me cool while I ran.  It ended up being the worst -- I felt like I was running with a hot, heavy poncho, and I was stuck with it until the end of the loop.  I think I threw it away after that disaster.
    • My friend Rich also has a hat with a zipper pocket on top to store ice in your hat, which he purchased from  I haven't tried this, mostly because I think I look weird enough with my awkward running form, and wearing a zippered hat would only strengthen the impression.  But this is trail running, not a photo shoot, right?
    • Cooling arm sleeves -- I use Columbia brand sleeves.  They seem to work well.  In the film This is Your Day, Rob Krar is shown stuffing ice cubes in his cooling arm sleeves while slaying the Western States course.  I haven't tried this technique yet, but I look forward to trying it out this summer.
    • Of course, wearing a hat and sunscreen is helpful too.  Reapply the sunscreen often!  At Habanero, I was so dazed that I forgot to put my hat and sunscreen on for the first daylight loop of Day 2, and I fried a little bit.  Thank goodness for Rob, the race director, who gave me his own hat!  So it's probably a good idea to make a "cheat sheet" for yourself for a long race like that, with a reminder of what to take with you for certain loops.
  • Training
    • Since I am training for hot races, I try to make it a point to train in the heat.  Instead of only running in the morning when it's cooler, I'll go for runs at lunch time, in the afternoon, or in the evening, when the temperature drops a bit, but the humidity kicks up. 
    • I also enjoy hot yoga, and I hope this helps with acclimating to the heat.  I sure sweat a lot, anyway.
  • Salt and electrolytes
    • I know a lot of runners swear by s-caps and e-caps, but I never take these.  If I'm feeling like I want salt, then I eat something salty at an aid station.  It's advice I got from Liza Howard, and she's never steered me wrong yet.  
    • Ever since Habanero, when Rob and Rachel tried to bring me back to life with Pedialyte, I've kept a bottle in my Victory Sportdesign bag at all times.  During hot races, I take a gulp whenever I reach my drop bag.  There's nothing scientific about how I use it, it just makes me feel better.  However, I've recently started using Tailwind again, which has electrolytes, so I feel less dependent on Pedialyte now.
  • Chafing prevention
    • When it's humid, chafing can be really bad.  (Again, read my Habanero report!)  I used to use Vasoline as a preventative method, but for my last half a dozen ultras, I've used Trail Toes tape instead.  I apply it anywhere I usually have chafing, and it sticks really well for the entire race -- even up to 100 miles.
    • I also keep a small jar of Trail Toes cream in the pocket of my hydration vest, just in case of emergency.
    • My year-round anti-blister tip is to wear two pairs of thin socks.  My friend Edward gave me that tip a few years ago, and I haven't had a blister since.
  • Hydration
    • One thing I think I did really well at Habanero was my fluid intake.  I used the Liza Howard/Tim Noakes rule of simply "drinking to thirst."  I kept looking at my fingers to see if they were swelling up, which might be a sign of hyponatremia.  Every loop, when I weighed in with medical as required, my weight was right on the dot, the same.  To me, and the medical staff, this indicated I wasn't getting dehydrated or retaining too much water.  I always think of Liza's tip: if plain water sounds good to you, then you are thirsty, and you should drink more.  If plain water doesn't sound good, you don't need it; don't force your body to drink it.

Well, I think those are the only hot tips I've learned in these four years.  I'm sure I will continually be adding to this list, as we all learn something from every race and every long training run.  Thanks for reading!  May your post-run beverages be icy, and your body chafe-less!  Hope to see you this August at the Habanero Hundred!


Read more of Julie's blog posts at 

Where I Run: Michelle Gochis

Where I Run: Michelle Gochis

I will run anywhere I can, but I am fortunate to have the Isle Du Bois trails and Lake Ray Roberts practically in my back yard.  To get there, I only have to run down a few country roads, alongside beautiful horse and cattle ranches in Pilot Point, Tx.   There are so many great routes to choose on each run.  Sand sprints at the beach, hill repeats overlooking the lake, to technical or soft sandy trails.  Every run out here is spirit refreshing, and I am so grateful to live and run in such a beautiful area.

Where I Run: Michelle Gochis

Posted by Trail Racing Over Texas on Monday, March 28, 2016

Trail Racing Over Texas Cup presented by Altra Running Update

TROT Cup Updated Standings


Team TROT runner Jeff Ball after winning the Horseshoe Trail Run came out and won all 3 race at the San Felipe Shootout as well. Jeff is the defending TROT Cup Champion and has already extended his lead after 2 races. Andre Fuqua who was 2nd at Horseshoe showed up big time at San Felipe as well with a few 3rd place finishes so he sits at 2nd place in the Cup Series. Steven Moore ran 2nd all day at San Felipe and it earned him the 3rd spot on the list with 2 races down. 


Team Trot runner Tracie Akerhilem who was 2nd in the TROT CUP after Horseshoe came out blazing winning all of the 3 womens races at the San Felipe Shootout securing the#1 spot. Jenna Jurica who was 2nd overall at the shootout jumped into the 2nd spot for the TROT CUP. Team TROT Runner Lauren Ross put together solid races at both Horseshoe and San Felipe to take the 3rd overall spot. 

Club Championships

The 2016 Champion Golden Triangle Strutters have wasted NO TIME getting back to what mad them famous the last 2 years. They extended their points up to 90 points for the first 2 races of the season. The Houston Area Trail Runners headed by recent new president Marc Gehringer are recruiting runners and ended up with 24 points after 2 races. The Lone Star Spartans have enjoyed the wet, crazy weather and hold 3rd with 17 points. Just out of the 3rd spot is Team RWB with 12.84 points for 4th place.

Volunteer Points

James Limbaga one of the 3 volunteers of the year has already taken this year by storm with 2 races. Eddie Williams worked both the first 2 races of the year and pulled up with 24 hours in 2 races. Julia Gonzalez who also worked both races coasts into 3rd for 20+ hours as well. 

All of the full results, age groups, clubs and volunteer points are below. 

You can view all RESULTS HERE

San Felipe Shootout Post Race Review

San Felipe Shootout Post Race Review

The San Felipe Shootout 2016 was most remembered for the chest deep water crossings, the active wildlife and adults acting like children.

The week of the race the Stephen F Austin State Park which borders by the Brazos River took in over 12 inches of rain and the upstream countries water poured into the park. The course was marked on Thursday with only shin deep water but by Friday that had moved to waist deep. The park received additional rain Friday night and so the course was again changed Saturday morning right before the start. 

The San Felipe Shootout consists of a 5k, 10k and 13.1 mile races all run individually. There is a shootout option which allows you to run all 3 and then we combine the times for them. 

Team TROT runner Jeff Ball who last year's runner-up stayed out in front of all the 3 races capturing wins in the 5k, 10k and 13.1 marathon. Steven Moore never let Jeff out of sights and finished just behind him in all of the races as well. Andre Fuqua who was 2nd at Horseshoe Trail Run recently ran a strong 3rd to finish 3rd in the shootout as well. 

Team TROT runner Tracie Akerhielm was 2nd last year in the shootout and was determined to take the win. She won the 5k, 10k and 13.1 thus capturing the Shootout Crown. Jenna Jurica stayed strong all day through the 3 events and captured the 2nd place Shootout title. Only 10 minuted separated the 3rd-4th females between all the 3 races but Jennifer Heghinian hung strong to get the 3rd place spot. 

The Shootout 5k,10k and 13.1 Combined Results HERE

Results on Ultrasignup

Photos from Event: Facebook

Last but Not Least.. Meet Team TROT Ambassador Santiago Morales

Santiago Morales

What is your goal for 2016?  I plan on running the Seoul Marathon, Korea 50K and exploring the South Korean urban lifestyle as well as thetrails and running community. I recently deployed to South Korea to help support the ROK Army.

How long have you been running? I have been running for sport since 2008. What started off as 5ks on the weekend would eventually evolve to thinking about my first marathon (Austin Marathon 2013 with my wife Nichole who ran the half-marathon).  My first race was a memorial run for a good buddy of mine who lost one of his best friend's in an automobile accident.  Proceeds went to an organization called "teens in the driver's seat."  This was a 5k event and became my pursuit to become a better runner afterwards and always a goal to run for a cause.

 What is favorite running achievement?  I recently ran the Snowdrop 55 Race and Relay. 100 Miles ran for pediatric cancer research and scholarships for survivors.  I PR’ed the run by 8 hours. I ran the 100 miles last year in 37 hours, this year I would go on to run it in 29 hours.  I was very proud of family and friends who helped me raise over $1,200 for the Snowdrop Foundation.  Also, my wife and I just had our first child. She is only 2 weeks old right now.  Look for baby Eliana running the trails here soon!

What else do you do to train other than run?I frequently go on Assault Pack Runs and ruck marches in order to train up for selection for Civil Affairs housed under Army Special Operations Forces.

 What do you do for a living? I'm currently an Executive Officer in an Infantry Company in the United States Army. I am in charge of the maintenance of all our vehicles, logistical operations for all training and deployments, and resourcing ranges, food and ammo to ensure my Soldiers get the best training possible. I video chat with my Wife and baby girl as much as I can in order to keep up with those cherished life moments. I also enjoy tuning into TROT's periscope from across the globe so I can support my TROT family.

Meet TROT Ambassador: James Villanueva

James Villanueva


1) What is your goals in 2016? My goal is to do my first 100k and 100 miler.. I would also want to do the TROT two step!!!

2) How long have you been running? I have been running off and on since 2010.

Two knee surgeries and maybe ankle surgery soon...:( I was 225 and entered a biggest loser contest at work. I won the grand prize which was about 1200$. I also lost 76 lbs in the process...! Running allows me to unwind for the day to day operations of life..

3) What is your most proud accomplishment? Franklin Mts. I walked 99.9 of the 50k with  a torn ankle tendon just to have that awesome metal!!!

4) What other outdoor pursuits do you have? Since I can't run I took up Disc golf!!! I love the outdoors!!!!! I love to lift weights as well!!!

5) What do you do when your not running? I'm an administrative driver... For PSI in Temple... I like to think I'm a jack of all trades there.