Tag Archives: keepacoolhead

More trail running tips

The trails I run here at home are mostly in and around town.  We live in a very forested area, and in addition to some very well worn paths, walking trails and city made paths, there are loads of deer and jeep trails to follow.

Shaka babies.

Even though things are relatively urban, I can get off path and get in a good 5 mile loop with very little pavement or cars.  It is one of the reasons I love where we live.

Typical limb strewn path through the coastal oaks.

Some of the trails run beachside, but not many.  I will take what I can get though for views like this.

No words.

So much of the wild property at the coast where we live is privately owned.  I have one hard and fast rule and that is, NEVER, EVER CROSS A FENCE.  Period.  Ever.  As in never.  Am I clear?

Fence along the city park. I want to run back there in a bad way.

No matter how epic it looks on the other side.


In addition to the obvious point of it being trespassing, there are so so many dangers involved in hopping a fence.  People hunt on their properties here, so if you are not expected to be there, they may mistake you for an animal in the brush.  There are cattle to be concerned about.  Seriously, do you know if there are bulls on the land you are about to trespass on?  If they have taken the time to put a barbed wire fence all around the property (and litter the city property with said barbed wire) they do not want you there and they are probably trying to keep something within it.  Like cows. Or bulls.

Barbed wire thrown into the city park.

Have you ever been running and come face to face with a bull?  I have and it is freaking scary.  I stopped, looked for a tree, then ran and stood next to it in case the bull charged.  It snorted, and pawed the ground and stared me down.  Luckily I had my phone with me, so my FIL and husband drove over and rescued me.  Okay, they didn’t rescue me.  They actually sat in the truck at the top of the ridge and watched me squirm.

Bill:  “What do you think it is going go to do to you?”

Me: “um, for starts, trample and maim me.”

Bill: “Dad says just walk slowly back the way you came. It probably isn’t going to hurt you (laughing in background)”.

Me: “Probably????? Billy, I am going to kill you when I get back up there and you will wish you were facing off with a bull”.

This is the ridge from where they watched the bull event.  Punks.


The bulls harem.

We are not bulls….do you have any corn or hay by chance?

Enjoying my run prior to The Bull Standoff.

Before the bull standoff.

I retraced my steps slowly while facing the bull, and hopped across a cattle guard.

Oh, while we are on cattle guards…..they are considered a fence too.  The property I was on is a huge ranch owned by a handful of people including my inlaws, so I had permission to be on it. If you are out and about on your trail runs, cattle guards are usually trying to contain….wait for it…..cattle.  So use caution.

Back to crossing fences. This is pretty important if you are out on a large piece of property. Some State Parks are quite huge, and getting lost would be very easy.  A couple of important rules to follow if you are going to head out into the wilderness or on very rural trails:

  • Always tell someone exactly where you are going, and DO NOT change the plan….no matter how cool that other path looks.  If you get hurt, and are unable to call for help, knowing the general area where you are running will help rescue crew to find you more quickly.  If you venture off from your plan, you just reduced your chances of being found in a timely manner.
  • Bring a friend.  I am a solitary runner and this is a hard one for me, but if I am going to go do some serious trail running in the future, I will be calling a friend to join.  The buddy system is a good thing out in the wilderness.
  • If you get lost, never EVER cross a fence.  Stay in the boundaries of the park or land that you are running on. You will increase the area and confusion by crossing fences, which will make it more difficult to find your way back or for someone to find you.
  • Use common sense. Seriously, it goes a long way. If you are not sure of the path, don’t take it. Simple as that.

As for running on the more urban or city trials, there are dangers there as well.

When I was at my moms, I found a trail across from the hospital where she was being treated. I got some vague directions from the nurses and off I went.


The paved path wound along side a creek and it was just stunning.


I tried to get a bit off the main trail by running along and down on the creek bed.


Until I came upon this.

Homeless camp.

A homeless camp.  Yes, I climbed back up the rocks and got back on the main path pronto.   A woman out alone, on a creek with hobos, is simply no bueno. Even smack dab in the middle of the city.  I did not feel one bit safe after that.  Sometimes that desire to be on a trail over rides common sense.  For me, it was a big HELL NO after I saw this. End of story. Even with views like this and opportunities to rock hop, I was out of there.


Alone in an unfamiliar area, I should have kept with the well populated paved trail.  Lesson learned.

Another issue for me is wildlife.

Dude, I like your shoes.

Aside from goats….

There are lots of deer and buck and when they are in season they are not timid. A buck can be a bit intimidating when they don’t run from you.


I have run smack dab into a pack of coyotes before (one, fine…but a pack of around 8 stopped my heart. They were certainly awe inducing in their raw beauty, but holy heck I felt vulnerable amidst them, even knowing they are pretty shy creatures), and what I believed to be cougar tracks.  It was confirmed to me last week by the parks director here that indeed a cougar has been spotted numerous times where I run.  Awesome.

One way I have added a bit more safety to my runs is by bringing my husky with me.


I am sure she would fight a cougar for me. I think.


I am certain she would attack someone who was attacking me.  100% sure. She is a very loyal, protective girl.


Skye is a pretty intimidating looking dog when faced with someone she does not know. If looks could kill, hers would.  I’ve shown you this before. Go ahead.  Put your hand out there and pet her.  Not.


So I have started bringing her on my trail runs.  A protective dog can go a long way to keeping you safe.

Trail running is truly an awesome way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise. For me, I am so very, very over endlessly pounding out miles on the sidewalk


and prefer dirt trails and soaking in my surroundings.

Just play it safe if you do head off the path less traveled and remember to never ever cross a fence.


And never forget your hat!

Use JODY25 for 25% off!


Posted in Headsweats, Racing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Headsweats Ambassador!

I am super stoked to announce that I was chosen to be a Headsweats Ambassador for 2015!  So honored because there are some incredible athletes in the 2015 team, and I am just a mom to 4 kids that likes to race endurance and surf.  Humbling.

I have done a few sponsored posts on this blog in the past, but mostly I keep things pretty much ad free unless I really believe in a product.  When I saw that Headsweats was taking applications for their Ambassador program, I just had to apply.  I absolutely love their products and of all the clothing gear I have, I would consider their hats the most essential.  I was beyond excited when they chose me to be on their team.

Image by Scott Ellwood, gscottimaging.com
Image by Scott Ellwood, gscottimaging.com

I have worn Headsweats Race Hats since I started back into triathlon and running in 2009.

Corpus Christi Duathlon, 2nd in my division.
Corpus Christi Duathlon, 2nd in my division.

I love their cycling skull caps too.  Awesome fit and they keep the helmet from chafing my forehead, while doing double duty keeping the sweat out of my face.

Cycling Shorty skull cap
Cycling Shorty skull cap

I remember looking for a unique, well fitting hat that I could put on and not think about again while on my runs.  I tried UnderArmour, Nike and a whole bunch of hats but the fit was always off for me and the sweat ran in my eyes constantly. Running at the coast is a suffferfest when temps hit 100F and humidity is in the 90’s.  So!  much! sweat!

Serious south Texas sweat. My green race hat kept it out of my eyes.
Serious south Texas sweat. My green race hat kept it out of my eyes.

The first time I slid a Headsweats on my head at a store in Corpus I remember thinking
“it doesn’t get more perfect than this” and I promptly bought it.


I used to run some serious miles before I got sick in April of 2011.  14 miles on a clear cool day at the coast was my idea of fun.  A short run for me was anywhere from 4-7 miles, even in the prime heat of a Gulf Coast summer.  The sun will fry you here, and that is no joke.  Sunscreen is a must and a good hat too.


Okay, so why do I think they are so awesome?  I have several reasons.

Number one is the Race Hat fit is beyond perfect.  They are soft, literally mould to your head and you can adjust the strap for a snug fit.  Super important for me because it is windy at the coast.  I wear mine to all our surf contests and have never had them blow off.  That is huge.

Image by Scott Ellwood of gscottimaging.com
Image by Scott Ellwood of gscottimaging.com

Number 2, there is a Coolmax terry sweat band built into the hat.  Sweat doesn’t run into my eyes anymore, no matter how hot it is.  I love this feature and love that it makes the rim of the hat so comfortable…even when you are running straight up Enchanted Rock after a 5 mile trail run and a 16 mile bike through the hills.

This is what we ran up for the second run. Brutal.
This is what we ran up for the second run. Brutal. Those little specks up there are people. 

They also stay on when you are doubled over in agony at the end of a death march race.

About to assume the hands on knees position after the run from hell up the Rock.
About to assume the hands on knees position after the run from hell up the Rock. Dying here. 
At the top of Enchanted Rock after taking 5th in the Extreme Duathlon.
At the top of The Rock after taking 5th in my division in the Enchanted Rock Extreme Duathlon. The results say 6th, but 5th place cut the coarse on the bike, so I am claiming my rightful place. LOL

Number 3, the hat is lightweight and made of breathable Coolmax. This means it keeps your head cool and it dries super fast. In the summer here, I saturate mine and they dry in minutes.


Number 4, I can throw it in the washing machine, and hang it to dry and it doesn’t change shape or shrink.  I probably wash mine once every week or two for the last 5 years and they are still going strong.  I think the more I wash them, the more comfortable they become.  I have never had a hat last this long and hold up this well, nor have I had one that I can wash in a washing machine without it falling apart.

This one I have had for going on 6 years and it has been washed  probably over a 100 times.
This one I have had for going on 6 years and it has been washed probably over a 100 times.

Number 5, a hat is part of my daily uniform.  I get up, put my hair in a pony tail and put on a hat. I am in them most of every day and therefore I want them to look nice.  Headsweats has some seriously fun designs and colors.  The more funky they are the more I like them. Their new Loudmouth hats are excellent.  This one is my favorite.

My uniform. Cutoffs, a T-shirt, Oakleys and a Headsweats hat.
My uniform. Cutoffs, a T-shirt, Oakleys and a Headsweats hat.

Number 6, for those who have followed this blog for the last 10 years, you know I do not like to follow the crowd.  I tend to be the sheep that runs from the herd,  so I usually don’t follow trends.  When I found this hat, it fit the bill for that and I am constantly asked where I get my hats.  They are just perfect in fit and style, and that in itself sets them apart.  I have been an unofficial ambassador for years. LOL

Image by Scott Ellwood of gscottimaging.com
Image by Scott Ellwood of gscottimaging.com

And last but not least…they look great on!

Image by Scott Ellwood of gscottimaging.com
Image by Scott Ellwood of gscottimaging.com

So, to answer the question of where to get them: you can go to the Headsweats website and if you use the code JODY25 you will receive 25% off your purchase (with the exception of the Loudmouth and Collegiate lines).

Now go grab one.  Leeann got hers in the giveaway I did before becoming an Ambassador, and will be bringing it on her big summer trip she is taking with her kids, hiking, climbing, horseback riding and rappelling.  Seriously fun summer and I want to hear all about it!

Even goats think Race Hats are cool.
Even goats think Race Hats are cool.
Posted in Headsweats, Racing | Tagged , , | 4 Comments


Oh my gosh, it has been so cold here at the coast. Sustained temps in the 40-50 range and just plain Jane gray everywhere.

Last week, thanks be to God, the sun came out.

Before all you northerners roll your eyes and give a collective “gimmeabreak”, thou must put into perspective our location and agenda. We live at the beach.  We surf…..in water. Water that gets freaking cold when the air is 40 degrees.  We moved here to be warm. It wasn’t warm. And we whined. A lot.

Coldness is not tolerated much at all by surfers. We enjoy a change in the weather for all of 31.6 seconds and then we are DONE. Barbies!!

So, when the sun finally came out and temps warmed into the 70’s…and even the 80’s (hooyah!), all the wimps at the coast were putting on bikinis and basking in the glorious warmth and Vitamin D enriched rays from the Golden Orb of Greatness.

I took Skye out for some trail running into an area that I have wanted to venture deeper into but was a bit afraid to do alone.  Even though she is very skittish around other people, she is a hulking mass of intimidation to others so I felt pretty safe with her. When she looks at you like this and you don’t know her, you will not be putting your hand out to pet her.


The funny thing about her is, she can sense “bad” in people.  In other words, she knows when someone is a threat to me and all her skittishness disappears.


Fluffy husky butt alert!




I was very glad I brought her, because about a mile or so in I came around a bend and saw a couple of guys on dirt bikes doing what appeared to be a drug exchange.  Yes, you read that correctly.

When I saw them, I immediately was aware of my “female alone on a remote trail” predicament.

When Skye saw them she stood tall in front of me, pulled those ears up and when they turned to see me she was the first thing their eyes migrated to.  I wanted to say “She will eat you for lunch if you come near me” but instead casually turned and started running back at a normal pace, only picking it up when out of their sight. In my head I was doing a mental calculation of how screwed I was because I was so far from the main path and people.

To make a long story short, when I heard them start their bikes and head my way I called my husband and was on the phone with him when they rode past me. They slowed way down, glared at me and then gassed their bikes and took off.

Thank God for cell phones and my precious sunshine girl.



So, lesson learned.  My husband has asked me not to go back there anymore and I am more than happy to oblige him.  My Skye will now be on all my trail runs, no matter how safe I think they are.

Parting shot…this is what happens when you listen to your 11yo daughters playlist while running trials.  It’s hard not to bust out fierce Bey moves in your Newtons when listening to “Ugly Heart” by G.R.L. 😉  Watch out for those tree roots, Grrrrrrl.



Posted in Racing | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Trail running

This is what much of my trail running looks like here at the coast. Those vines are covered in thorns….just like on a rose bush.


When I find a new trail, I take some time to pull down the dead vines and form a clear (sort of) path.


No matter how cloudy I always wear some sunglasses and an excellent hat to protect my face and eyes. Never go into brush like this without them, and be sure and put on bug spray.


The paths are simple, single track deer trails.


And they wind all through the forest.  I took the one to the right…the path less traveled.


Amazing, eerie post oaks.


With the cooler weather I am comfortable running them, but come spring when the mosquitos and snakes come out, I may have to keep to the more well trodden trails in town.  Not to mention I would need to wear long sleeves and pants in 100F weather to keep from getting covered in poison oak.


I was telling Bill about the new section I found (above) and he said “When it warms up you better rethink that area….corals and moccasins will be swarming it”.  Our county has a tremendous presence for coral snakes…..even on the paved paths.  Remember this guy that slithered under my shoe and over the back of my heel?  Don’t try this at home folks….



Jody's Lumia_20140506_09_21_20_Pro


In the meantime, while the cold fronts are still marching through, I will continue running after the deer.

Parting shot:  Text picture sent to Bill after my run while I was baking bread.  I got back silence.  LOL!


Posted in Headsweats, Racing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments