Back in the Woods

I’ve been hitting the trails more and more this winter season. When you think “running on Cape Cod”, you probably don’t think of the best ever trails, right? Maybe I agree, but after running 9 miles on trails today, I know for sure that we have some fabulous options!

cape cod trail running

Trail running with Denise in West Barnstable’s Trail of Tears

A little more than a year ago, I started organizing group trail runs. There are plenty of things to worry about when running in the woods alone. So what better than to run with a group, right?

  • Getting lost
  • Getting hurt
  • Meeting a strange animal
  • Meeting a strange person

A few of these runs were extremely well attended and such a blast! I’m so happy for those “early adopters” who jumped out of bed early on Saturday mornings! In the final group run of 2013, however, I tore my ACL on a slippery log and was carried out by 7 runner pals. So yes, I can confirm it’s better to run with others!

While laid up on the couch, I created a Facebook group for Cape Trail Runners to continue these social runs without me… but that didn’t really happen. So exactly a year later, I’ve continued the groups and slowly seen a few new women join each time! (not that it isn’t open to men!)

group trail runs on cape cod

We had greater success in the past with full Facebook Events created, but lately we’ve just been meeting based on conversation in the Facebook group. Maybe I’ll bring Events back. I also try to post to Twitter and Instagram with an image such as the above-right, since not everyone is on Facebook. So be on the look out and join us sometime soon!

Let me be clear, these are for EVERYONE! Just a few miles and at ANY pace you want. The most common response I get from others is that they haven’t run trails before. But almost no one has run trails before! That’s the whole point of gathering some fun new people to socialize and adventure with! If you heard cool things about a place in Harwich and it only ends up being a half mile, we’ll laugh it off and repeat the trail a half dozen times! If you join at a place like this morning’s Trail of Tears in West Barnstable, well, the opposite might happen and we’ll get lost – but you’ll be able to say you accomplished some great new distances!

long pond cape cod trail runningI also feel somewhat responsible for packing extra hydration, trail maps and a first aid kit – so you can always count on that! Maybe even some coffee and muffins in the parking lot too!

When hitting the trails, I recommend you consider a few things:

  • Trail-specific sneakers: they’re made with extra grip and could be a big help to you someday. I know it stinks to spend another $100+ on sneakers when it seems like you could just run in an old pair – and you can! – but as someone who spent half of the past year on the couch, I’m simply suggesting injury isn’t the funnest.
  • Bring water: We planned to run about 4 miles on familiar trails this morning and still got turned around. 9 miles later, we were back to the car and exhausted. I’m so glad I had my pack!
  • Know where you are: I always snap a photo of the trail map posted at the entrance, but this time of year your phone could easily die in the cold. Print it out ahead of time if you’re heading into the woods for more than a couple of miles.
  • Have fun! Trails are slower than roads, so enjoy it! Don’t worry about pace, and stop to smell the roses.


I do hope more folks will start joining us soon this winter! We move around a bit, and I’m thinking we’ll hit our old favorite Long Pond (Falmouth) and Mashpee River Woodlands in the next few weeks! Come one, come all!

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