This fall’s featured trail runner is Katie Fox. Katie writes software and automated tests and leads her team in its agile development process, all while being mentored for a management role next year. Katie has recently moved from the Seattle area to Decatur, Georgia. As a new homeowner, she’s been removing invasive plants and restoring 70-year-old doors and wood trim for fun over the past year when she’s not running. Katie also likes to crochet and reading when she’s out of the house. And taking her dog to the park!
How did you get into trail running?
A friend took me running in Forest Park in 2016 after I’d moved to the PNW. I thought I was a decent runner, but I didn’t know vert was real. While training for a marathon in 2017, I did some runs on forest roads and loved the tranquility. I started running more trails in Issaquah, and was fully committed once I learned about the Volcanic 50 race that I was determined to run in 2018.
What is your favorite trail to run on? (Both Georgia and the NW)
NW: Excelsior Trail off the Mt. Baker Highway. It has really good memories and a little bit of everything I want… forest, steady climbs, meadow, mountain views, and a cruise-y downhill. Good as a standalone up and down or can be extended via other trails up at the pass.
GA: Kennesaw Mountain for its proximity to Atlanta, a nice variety of trails, LOTS of dogs, and easy stop at Treehorn Cider on the way home!
How do the trails differ from the PNW and SE?
The PNW has so much more variety to be found across different trails, or sometimes even on the same trail. Forest to alpine, river to peaks. SE trails are usually tree-covered, and it’s hard to get sustained climb, however, they have been deceptively technical without the vert. Rhododendron roots and leaves that hide them from view, boulders that cover the trail at a slope. It’s different and still challenging… and that’s without the heat and humidity. I think I’ll be a much tougher runner after a few more summers here.
What is your favorite trail race?
Tied for Volcanic 50 and Teeny-Way 50k. Both races have camping at the start/finish and are out of cell service, which provides a full exit from city life. Both are challenging and have incredible views.
What are your weekly average running miles and ascent?
30-40 miles and 4k-5k feet. Vert is much harder to find in Georgia.
What is a typical weekday run?
2.5 miles (4km) is my most common run because that’s roundtrip to coffee, donuts, the dog park, or doggy daycare. Some days get 2-3 of those runs, schedule allowing. I’ve learned to take what fits easily into my schedule without overthinking or overplanning it, or else I get anxiety that keeps me from getting out the door.
What is a typical weekend run?
2-4 hours is a sweet spot right now. Enough to feel tired but not take up the whole day. Recently, I’ve been enjoying Kennesaw Mountain for a change of scenery and a variety of trail options. Rolling singletrack, rocky + steeper, or smooth old road climb+descent.
What shoes do you wear?
I use Topo for trails, Altra for road, and Xero for daily wear. I need a wider toebox, which all these brands do well. I prefer zero drops for running on the road, and a low but nonzero drop on the trail. Except for the east part of Teanaway… I wish I had zero drops for those downhills. The Topo MTN Racer and Ultraventure 2 (both 5mm) have both been great, and I want to get the Terraventures for the rock plate and 3mm drop. Altra Escalantes and Rivera have been comparably satisfying, neither bouncy nor too minimal. I’ve worn Xero as my casual shoes since 2019, and my foot strength has increased noticeably in that time.
What is your favorite trail running apparel?
Rabbit 7″ short tights because they have pockets and are size-forgiving since I’ve put on weight and my thighs try to chafe more. Patagonia Capilene trail shirt because fits well, wicks sweat, and breathes nicely without sticking to my skin in GA humidity. Injinji liners for blister prevention. Smartwool crew socks because they fit snugly and don’t bunch or slide around.
What watch do you wear?
Garmin Instinct Solar. It came in golden yellow color, it has much-improved battery life over the original Instinct, and it’s an excellent price for the GPS features without being bloated by “luxury” features like music, pay, and color screen. Also, I seriously love that it has push buttons and not a touch screen or spin controls.
What nutrition do you like to use on runs and races?
For races, I use Spring Speednut for calorie-dense, real food, in convenient packaging and Tailwind for hands-free calories + hydration, and then grab potato chips, PB+J, and coke from aid stations. During 2+ hour training runs, I eat anything and everything that sounds good… beef sticks, York patties, jelly beans, cheese+pepperoni wraps.
What do you like most about the trail running community?
I most appreciate that my introverted self has never failed to make a new friend during a group run or race, especially if I didn’t know anyone at the start. Everyone I’ve interacted with has been friendly and encouraging of anyone else out moving on the trails, regardless of pace or experience.
This post may contain affiliate links, for which Northwest Dirt Churners receives a small commission from any sale when clicked from this site. These commissions will provide entry fees for youth runners in Northwest Dirt Churners trail races.