“Trail Running at Matthews State Forest”
Paula Doughtie’s Testimonial
When I decided to start exercising again I never thought I’d be running as the thought of jogging, (especially on a treadmill) seemed so unappealing and foreign to me. I had loved running as a kid, but that was usually sprinting outdoors. I started exercising with Teresa Roberts of Masterpiece Fitness as my trainer, because she very firmly believes exercise should be fun and challenging, and she loves to exercise outdoors no matter the season. Teresa convinced me to try running, so we started on the New River Trail. Teresa’s belief in her clients and amazing energy, knowledge, and positivity combined with the beauty of the trail won me over!
Teresa suggested we try trail running next. The first time she took me to Matthews State Forest to run on the trails, it was like being transported back to my childhood. It was such fun to run through the forest on the trails… the ups and downs, the rocks, and roots and fresh air. I couldn’t believe how much fun and physically challenging it was to run on the narrow trails! I love the feeling of running over these trails like a roller coaster up, down, and up again. When I run on the road or a treadmill the time drags by, and it is difficult for me to run very long. But on the trails at Matthews it’s constantly a changing and a beautiful environment. You run past creeks and through areas of pines and rhododendron. Then the trail opens up to vistas and huge trees. I love the fun and challenge of running varied terrain. It feels so natural, and I love the mind/body connection of being so in the moment and changing your pace and footing as you run. Time flies by when your mind and body are so thoroughly occupied.
Teresa is the most amazing trainer who walks (runs) the walk! As we run, she is part cheerleader, part instructor, and part distractor when my mind is telling me to slow down. She often shares her own positive stories or simply points out the beauty around us while giving tips she has learned from her own running and racing experiences.
I first ran the Matthews Trail Run last year. I had been running once or twice a week only a few miles and was not consistently exercising. But, I loved the trail and wanted to run the race. On race day, I tired very quickly and then let my anxiety overtake me. I felt overwhelmed and ended up walking much of the trail and feeling rather embarrassed and defeated at finishing slower than a walking pace. None of that changed how I felt about running so….This year learning from previous mistakes, I started running in January and have been coming out to Matthews once a week with Teresa to run portions of the trail. I have more respect for the race and mileage this year and want to be more prepared. We have run in the wind and rain as well as the heat and the snow. My favorite runs have been in the rain and the snow…adults tend to avoid these things, but I’m remembering the joy of immersing myself in them now!
No matter my race time or how grumpy I may sometimes feel going uphill I always feel an overall sense of childhood wonder and happiness on these trails. Also as a bonus, I know trail running here is making me stronger and more physically capable in general. The physical and mental challenge of running at Matthews makes me feel alive! I feel so lucky to be able to run in such a natural and beautiful place with Teresa, such an inspirational teacher and friend.