New to Trail? Start here

Ahh, fall is here. Our runs start later, we dress in layers and sometimes question getting out of bed on those rainy, chillier Saturday mornings. I know, I understand. But right now is the perfect time to try something, switch out of the old, come out on trail.

For new women trail runners, here are some tips on what, where and how.

WOOT runs trail. Good thing that is part of our name, eh? The terrain we cover ranges from:

What Where
Paved road Kadena and Futenma Habu trail
Farm road Yomitan farmer roads, Top o The World
Random paths Zakimi Castle ruins, Maeda point trail
True trail Yamada castle ruins, Spider loop, Nago Mt., Kunigami trail

On all of these, except for paved roads, there is uneven terrain. There are loose rocks, branches (both fallen and hanging), and roots. There is clay, what Okinawa is built on, coral rock covered in red clay. During the rainy times, the clay is slick. We often run through puddles and mud too (white sneaks don’t stay white for long!).

Spider can get muddy.

Spider can get muddy. Hey Kirsten!

If this is the first time you have run on uneven terrain, be prepared to go a bit slower. You will have to watch your footing and concentrate a little more on where your next foot fall will land. During and after your trail run, your feet, ankles, calves, and buns will need some time to adjust to this new challenge. Trail running takes you to a new level of challenge, mentally and physically.

Happy WOOT

Happy WOOT with Jannine leading the pack

There are plenty of resources backing this up. Just do a search for training and trail running to find the 1001 links. From my own experience, I have had my best races since running with WOOT. And more than that, I have had met my best training partners and friends. There is something that we share, a common bond: waking up early to run, maybe getting lost, finding a new path. It is something unique and quite odd ūüôā

So how about the when? Every Saturday morning, as the sun rises, you will find WOOT’ers out climbing, running, laughing and challenging ourselves to a whole new plateau.

The OK plateau

Anna Boom

How to be better than you are.

So you’ve been training for awhile now. You’ve run some races, conquered some tough training schedules and feel like a decent runner. It seems like no matter what you do, you aren’t improving. That you have reached your running potential. But have you ever wondered, can I get better?

While listening to Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer, he introduces the idea of the OK plateau. The¬†theory¬†goes that maybe you are just as good as you allow yourself to¬†be. Quick synopsis on the book, he is a journalist who is tasked to cover the World Memory Championships and becomes so interested that he starts training for it. At one time on his journey, he gets stuck at a certain time for memorizing a deck of cards. No matter how much he trains, he never beats that time. He does a little digging and talks to other memory champs and they bring up the OK plateau theory. It’s a pretty interesting concept for us to consider in our running too so let me describe it.

The OK plateau is the point you reach, where it seems you cannot get any better. Think of something like typing on the keyboard. How often do you do this? Think of how much time you spend typing everyday. Shouldn’t we all be amazing typists by now, emails and blog posts finished in moments flat? And yet we are not amazing typists, most of us are just average. Why is this? The theory is after we first learn to type better than finger pecking, we get to a place where we are just good enough and we stop getting any better. We have become OK and there is no reason to spend more brain power on getting any better. We reached the OK plateau.

Mr Foer. brings up an example that made me think of myself as a runner‚ÄĒexpert ice skaters. The amateurs go out on the ice and practice the jumps they can land successfully. The experts go out and practice the jumps they cannot land, and the do it over and over, until they can. It is the failing part that teaches our human brains how to improve. The fail makes us see where we are going wrong so our brains can then learn how to get over that barrier.

How can we improve then and get off the OK plateau? A few ways that experts do it:

  1. Avoid autonomous runs. How often do you go out and run the same run, same pace because it feels comfortable? One way to change this is to try running trail. There isn’t anyway you can zone out and fall into your easy run while you are out on trail. You will be too busy watching your footing, changing your pace as you run up or down hill, and must stay present in the moment.

  2. Stay engaged in your activity. Again WOOT! Out on trail, you are challenging every part of your run from mind to toes.
  3. Do the thing you dislike to do. For me, sprints. I have written speed work into every run I do now. There are no simple running days. Every workout has a goal, not just for miles or time.

by Alicia Bolan

by Alicia Bolan

If you are finding yourself on the OK plateau like I was, try the above tips. You may find yourself running at the next level, beyond what you ever believed you could do before.

Get em!!

p.s. Mr Foer went on to win the US Memory Championships that year.

Did You Say “Freak-Ay?”

Jannine Myers

Did you say “Freak-ay?”

Yes I did! Only I was referring to the new hot super grain called “freekeh.” Just when you thought you had been introduced to all the new super grains, and even learned how to correctly pronounce the word “quinoa” (keen-wa), along comes another new grain with another weird name.

Much has already been written about this new super grain, which by the way, is young green wheat that has been roasted. I’ll let you read what Registered Dietitian, Frances Largeman-Roth, has to say about it, and then show you a couple of different recipes so you can see how versatile this grain is for meal ideas.

Recipe One РFreekeh Hot Breakfast 



1 cup water

1 cup 1% milk

1 cup freekeh

1/3 cup goji berries

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp honey

dash of cinnamon and nutmeg


Bring water and milk to a gentle boil, then add freekeh, goji berries, and coconut oil. Bring to a boil again, then turn heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 mins. Remove from heat and stir in honey and spices. Serve with a little extra milk (or yogurt), and top with a few nuts and fresh fruit. (modified version of this recipe)

Recipe Two – Freekeh Vegetarian Meatballs



1 cup uncooked freekeh

2 1/2 cups water

1 small potato

1 medium onion

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 cup oats

1/2 cup shredded mozarella and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

3 eggs

salt and black pepper, to taste


Add water and freekeh to a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Then cover, turn heat down and simmer for approximately 20 mins. Take off the heat and let cool.

Add all ingredients, including cooled freekeh, to a large bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease two baking pans. Take the freekeh mixture out of the refrigerator and roll handfuls into generous sized balls. Place on the baking trays.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until nice and golden. Enjoy with a little marinara sauce.

(modified version of this recipe)

Come and run away with us…

Anna Boom

School has just started again and already many of us are feeling overwhelmed by our kids’ schedules.

Everyday, we (as moms of elementary school kids, most school work is ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ based) have to read a section together and do homework. There are the projects, practicing piano for recital, getting to swim and soccer practices, fitting in a sit down family dinner, keeping our house clean, doing our chores, and not stressing about falling behind in all the life stuff.

Anyone else feeling stressed?

Come and run away with us…

How you handle stress matters. We have choices: bury our heads into a gallon of ice cream, turn on a season of reality TV or pull the covers over our head and go back to bed (or all three!).

But best things we can choose instead:

a) relax with good friends and family. Many of us are removed from our families here and make our own with like-minded women. Love seeing the women who develop deep life friendships through running groups such as Stroller Warriors and WOOT and WOOP.

b) Meditating. Always a great choice to sit and breath.

c) Exercise! My favorite and if you run with us, most likely your’s too.

Running is one of the most effective exercises to quickly burn calories. It takes little to do, running bra and good shoes. Socks, running skirt or shorts and a tee, also a bonus. And determination.

by Alicia Bolan

by Alicia Bolan


With all that we do, all the things we are supposed to do for our families and for ourselves (have you stretched, exfoliated, styled your hair, organized your sock drawer, etc.), running gets it done quickest by de-stressing you and keeping you healthy and able to handle the all the life stuff.

So come and run away with us. Promise you’ll come back healthier, happier and sweatier.

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