overlooked the pictures in the series above from Mustang Island, TX
because of the tire tracks. I wanted unspoiled, perfect beach, preferably with
Jim and Cody walking or running along the shore. Or maybe a Gulf scene with
shore birds in
Something pretty, certainly not with tire tracks!
And then I realized the photo above was perfect
because of the tire tracks going off into the horizon in a mysterious
sort of way. I chose it for its symbolism: travel, adventure,
following dreams, not always knowing where you're going but enjoying the
The composition also symbolizes our love of the outdoors and our passion
for running and walking. Cody, our black Lab, is torn between following Jim or
waiting for me to take yet another photo. Photography and writing
are other passions of mine. Cody is a patient little fella who gets a double
dose of attention and miles since Tater, our yellow Lab, died last summer. "Runtrails
& Company" remains at three of us unless we adopt another Fur Kid to share our
lifestyle. Right now we're doing fine the way we are.
A BIT ABOUT OUR LIFESTYLE
This is our fifth annual journal to chronicle some of our running and travel
In last year's intro I joked about sometimes having misadventures.
That's life. We never plan for those. Hopefully, there won't be too many of
them in 2009 unless they're the kind of serendipitous events that are memorable
in a positive way and don't jeopardize our bank account or lives!
If you're just joining us for the first time I encourage you to flip through
some of the entries and photos from previous years so you can get a feel for
who we are and how we live and play. We pride ourselves on our usually-positive outlook
on life despite the obstacles thrown our way, our senses of adventure and humor, our
level of fitness for our advancing years (Jim is 60 and I'll be 60 in March),
and our freedom to roam the country with our truck and fifth-wheel camper.
Cody: "Oh, boy! One of my favorite
We are not full-time RVers but we wish we were. Unfortunately,
this isn't a good time in our country's economic history to sell our house so
we will continue to do what we've been doing the last five years since
retirement: travel to our favorite races and places for several months
at a time, go to our house in Virginia for a little while, and go back out again as soon as we can!
We're semi-nomads and it suits us well. This is the type of life we both
dreamed about all those years we were working.
We hope we serve as an inspiration for both younger and older folks to
remain active and healthy and to follow their dreams. That was one of the
main reasons we began this journal in 2005 when we were preparing for our
Appalachian Trail Adventure Run/Walk, and it continues to be a good reason to
maintain and update the website each year. Not only do we love the feedback we
receive about recent entries, we're also still getting questions and comments
on the AT journal.
We've tried to maintain continuity in the layout of the website from year to
year so it's easier to navigate.
In the frame on the left you can find links to our home
page, each year's journal, our sponsors' websites, additional photos on our Picasa site, and
our e-mail contact. We'd love to hear from you when you
have questions or a topic resonates with you.
Cody's in Labrador retriever paradise,
chasing a stick Jim threw into the water.
Our home page shows each year's photo header with the current year at the
top; click on a photo or text and you'll go to that year's topics page,
which lists each entry by subject and date. At the bottom of the home page are
various running-related links (races, etc.) that you may find useful.
Once you link to one of our journal pages you can find view the previous
entry, the next entry, or go back to the topics page to find another topic of
YOU AREN'T SELLING ANYTHING, ARE YOU?
No, we aren't.
We have links to Hammer Nutrition and Montrail because they have been good
to us and to other ultra runners for well over a decade. Both companies sponsor
numerous ultra-distance foot races and other endurance events. We appreciate
Since Jim and I had used their products successfully for several years
before our AT Adventure Run in 2005, I gathered the courage to
ask both Hammer and Montrail for a discount on products I'd use during that
trek. They not only agreed to that, they've also continued those discounts over
the years because of the exposure they get on this website. We try our best to
be good ambassadors for the sport of ultra running/walking. We also
occasionally mention the products we're using, such as the energy drinks we use
in a particular race, to show how they're working for us. There is no hard
Good little retriever!
The only profit in it for us comes periodically from Hammer Nutrition. If
you are a new customer to Hammer and click on the link at left, you'll get a
15% discount on your first order. We get a percentage of your order as a
discount on our next order.
That's the only financial interest we have
in either company, other than hoping they both remain profitable in this
uncertain economy! They are both very generous in their race sponsorship. We
love it, for example, when a race provides Heed and Hammergel at the aid
stations or samples in our race packet, or when we win a free pair of Montrail
shoes in a drawing.
HOPE YOU'LL JOIN US IN 2009!
Right now Jim and I are in a brief lull between races, resting up from
satisfying efforts at the Across the Years 48-hour (Jim) and 24-hour (me) runs
in the Phoenix, AZ area. We'll both be hitting the trails soon at our favorite
regional park east of town, where we're camping for a couple of weeks while we
enjoy the warmth of the desert Southwest. We won't be going home to Virginia
until mid-February at the earliest.
If you've followed along in the past, you know
how, um, flexible we are.
Translation: we never hesitate to change our plans when warranted. We
usually make campground reservations or know where we're going to boondock
around the same time we register for races. There have been various reasons
we've changed those plans, however. We control the circumstances that we can
control, and we adapt as best as possible to those we can't. Helps us stay
It's also fun to just follow our whims sometimes. We'll find out about a
race to run or place to visit that sounds interesting and if it fits our
schedule, we might include it with little advanced planning. That's how we
ended up camping on Galveston Island for a week last February. Boy, are we glad
it did! The island was nearly wiped clean in August by Hurricane Ike and may
never be the same.
In the next entry I'll give a cursory look back at 2008 and talk about our
plans for the coming year. We hope you can come along for the ride, run, or
walk. We'd enjoy your company!
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the Ultra Lab
© 2009 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil