How did you get into trail running?

I had been a sprinter in high school track but had gone with the cross country team once or twice for a 5-6 mile run and I thought, why would anyone do this for fun? I didn’t really get into distance running or racing until 2015 when I did my first half-marathon. It went so well that I thought, wow, could I do a marathon?!?! It seemed inconceivable up until that point. Then my coworker and friend, Casey, started inviting me to run with her in Forest Park. I had always loved hiking, but running on trails sounded so hard. I mean, how do you not trip?!?! I had such a good time, realized it was basically speed hiking, and I was in love. You get to see so much more when you run!

What is your favorite trail to run on and why?

Maple Loop in Forest Park and the area north of Germantown road are some of my favorite parts of Forest Park. It’s so great to have such well-maintained trails locally. But the coastal trails take my breath away. I love trees and ferns. I love a great view of course, but all the green just makes me feel happy.


Dawn relaxing in Forest Park.


What is your favorite trail race, and why?

Backcountry Rise is just majestic, but Orcas Island was one of the prettiest I’ve been to. As I said, I gotta thing for trees and ferns.

What are your weekly average running miles and ascent?

When I’m not training, I try to maintain 30-40 miles/week with a long run, but up to 60-70 in heavy training periods. My next big goal is my first 100K, the Wy’east Howl at the end of July, so I’m putting in big mileage weeks right now.

Ascent, according to my watch, is anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 in a week, depending on if I’ve been in the gorge or done a Nasty recently, the North Nasty being my favorite. I don’t mind a little vert in my life.


Ultimate Direction Race Vest 5.0 $124.95


What is a typical weekday run?

Sometimes just around my neighborhood to get my miles in. I like to get some road running in, especially speed/tempo workouts, or I feel like my running economy suffers. I will often meet friends for runs around the waterfront, Mount Tabor, Powell Butte, or Forest Park though.

What is a typical weekend run?

Long runs at least one weekend day, usually in Forest Park. But I also like to make it out to the coast, the gorge, Mount Hood, or up into Washington. There are so many trails in so many different areas around here I never get bored, and I still have plenty of new ones to explore.


Dawn climbing Angel’s Rest in the Columbia River Gorge.


What shoes do you wear?

I love the zero drop of Altras, but I have narrow feet and long toes and Altras tend to be built for the opposite. I also like how pliable and flexible they are. I never have to worry about blisters, it feels like I’m barely wearing anything. BUT, with downhill running, they don’t provide the lateral stability I need, since they run wide, and are too short in the toe box. So my feet move around a lot, but the ends of my toes end up smashed. So I recently have tried La Sportiva and Salomon, and they fit my feet like a glove. But, they are a little more shoe than I like, and a little stiffer. So the short of it is, Altras on road or trails without a lot of vert, La Sportiva, and Salomon if I want to cruise downhill.

What is your favorite trail running apparel?

Oiselle has a lot of smart, comfortable designs that are clearly made for female runners, road, or trail. Patagonia also has some great functional gear. I always have a Houdini in my pack, cause you never know what NW weather will bring. Icebreaker for really cold, wet runs.

What watch do you wear?

Garmin. I recently upgraded to the 935, with heart rate and I love to geek out on the stats.  It can lose miles more than others I’ve noticed, ESPECIALLY in forest park, but I’d rather underestimate my mileage than overestimate, so I’m not accidentally slacking.

What nutrition do you like to use on runs and races?

Nuun for electrolytes, sometimes Tailwind if it’s going to be a really long one. I like fig bars, Clif Bars, but my favorite is snack-size snickers, especially the peanut butter ones. It’s quick energy and can be very comforting. Other go-to’s are Clif Blocks, and maybe some real food, like bananas or tortillas with avocado, PB & J of course (or Trail Butter with apricot preserves, if we’re getting fancy). I like having a GU shot available if I start feeling really low.


Dog Mountain spring run among the wildflowers.


What do you like most about the trail running community?

Trail runners are just such a goofy mix of people. They are some of the friendliest, humblest, yet the toughest, most determined people you will ever meet. They are more competitive with themselves than others. The amount of support you will find from complete strangers is hard to find in any other environment. I have made so many friends just by being around friends that are trail runners, then you meet new people through them, then they become friends, and so on. It’s kind of a snowball effect. I see someone I know/recognize virtually every time I’m on the trails.

Trail runners are also very real. We get sweaty, dirty, smelly, chafed, and sometimes even bloody and snotty. It just comes with the territory. You end up in conversations you wouldn’t have with anyone else that hasn’t experienced the uniqueness of running for hours in the woods, and we all know what those conversations are. What do I do about…(fill in the embarrassing blank that can’t be discussed outside trail running folk). Also, when you are out there for hours, sometimes you end up with all the feelings. Or your friend’s feelings. Then you eat a snack and move on. It’s a great strategy for most problems in life.