Runtrails' Web Journal
Previous          Journal Topics by Date            Next



"I see my path, but I donít know where it leads.
Not knowing where Iím going is what inspires me to travel it.Ē 
- Rosalia de Castro
When I was searching through my growing library of running and travel pictures for an appropriate header photo for this year's journal I wanted something totally different than the mountain or desert scenery I've used in our previous four journals. I 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 flight.

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 journey anyway.

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.


This is our fifth annual journal to chronicle some of our running and travel adventures.

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 games!!!"

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 interest.


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 that!

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 sell.

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.


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 younger longer!

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!

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the Ultra Lab

Previous       Next

© 2009 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil