“The Fast”: Trail Running

The sport and community of trail (ultra-)running is deeply meaningful to me. Here’s why:

Discipline and resilience:

Heather finishing the marathon

I’m not a physiologically-inclined runner. By all metrics, I started embarrassingly below average. But what I lack in natural talent, I learn I can compensate with grit, discipline, and persistence. It gives me a vector towards intentional controlled progress, a distilled form of accomplishment. Both my body and mind have become more resilient in tandem.


Heather hanging from a tree in nature

There is something deeply alive about getting your heart pumping in the untamed wilderness. There is a sense of playful carefree joy galavanting amongst the trees, bounding over sticks and rocks and puddles and mud and critters. There is a meditative flow in focusing your attention on simply inhaling, exhaling, left foot, right foot… away from civilization and the digital realm.


Heather with her running community

I LOVE the people of the trail ultra-marathoning community, especially those of the women-specific communities. There’s something amazing about how, when you get a niche within a niche within a niche, that you meet the people most aligned to what matters to you. My trail running friends inspire me deeply with their spirit, humility, and resilience. The way we hype up each other and celebrate moving through nature together is a uniquely selfless joy.

Flying on the track, adventuring on the trails, and racing through the streets with friends. The ability to form nurturing communities with shared goals is probably one of the most precious parts of being human. When we celebrate what we can do, together, we are all better, individually!

A woman running on a track with a man and another woman.
A woman running through a jungle with trees and moss.
A woman running in a desert with a backpack.
A woman in a green tank top and black shorts posing on a track.
A woman wearing a white shirt with the word Benegedony on it.
A man and woman are running on a trail with numbers on their shirts.
Two women walking on a dirt road.
A woman running on a track with a tattoo on her leg.
A woman running on a beach with a mountain in the background.
A group of people running on a track.
A group of women posing for a picture on a mountain.
A woman running on a trail with a sign that says "Diesea".
A woman is hanging from a tree branch.
Two women wearing turtle shells are walking on a beach.
Two people walking on a trail in the woods.
A woman running with a number on her chest.
A woman running in front of two flags.
A woman running on a road with a beautiful view of the ocean.

Timeline of past/future races + running community things

I started exercising for the first time in my life.

New Haven, CT

I followed YouTube HIIT videos. I ran a few miles slowly here and there. Still a big step from being totally sedentary for 24 years.

I started running regularly.

Denver, CO

I joined a women’s trail couch to 5K group. I came for the nature + fitness gains, but stayed for the community. Since then, I’ve never stopped running.

Ran my first race ever.

Buena Vista, CO

Trail Sisters Half Marathon

Ran my first race on road.

San Francisco, CA

Golden Gate Half Marathon

Ran my first marathon.

Lake Sonoma, CA

Lake Sonoma had ~5500 ft of hills…not a gentle introduction to the marathon but loved the ladies I trained/ran with!

Became a leader for Trail Sisters (East Bay).

Oakland, CA

This group has become absolute life juice for me. Growing such a nurturing and vibrant community is a privilege. I love these women.

Podiumed at a race for the first time.

Lake Tahoe, CA

Keegan and I both got 2nd in our divisions at the Lake Tahoe Marathon!

Ran my first ultramarathon.

Oakland, CA

Lake Chabot 50K. 2nd O/A Female

Won my first race.

Oakland, CA

Redwood 50K - 1st O/A Female. It was a small race, but meaningful because it was home turf and the peak run before my first 50 miler. 

Ran my first 50 miler.

Lake Hughes, CA

Leona Divide was hilly, hot, and in the high desert. Infinitely grateful to wonderful pacers, crew, and Keegan who ran next to me the whole time. 3rd O/A Female! The peak of my running career thus far.

Lactate threshold testing, for science.

San Francisco, CA

Changed the way I think about training. Started to prioritize running “slow” to build my aerobic base. Now I do very few moderate/tempo runs. My miles are ~80% easy and ~20% hard. Polarized training, baby!

Podium Sweep with Keegan.

Oakland, CA

Redwood Trail Marathon - special since Keegan and I got 1st O/A Male and Female, respectively.

Qualified for Boston Marathon, first “speed” race.

Sacramento, CA.

3:19 (7:35/mi avg) at California International Marathon. It was intense! The first time I did specific training for speed. Very different from trails.

UTMB Canyons 100K

Auburn, CA

What a brutal adventure! Learned the importance of hydration/nutrition the hard way. Managed to place in Top 25 (female)