May Runfessions

Welcome to Runfessions, hosted by Marcia, who writes the blog Marcia’s Healthy Slice. Here, we confess our running sins to purify our running souls (and soles).

This month, I have three things to racefess. Three trail racefessions, to be precise.

The Race I Came This Close To Not Finishing

Earlier this month, Bill and I did a timed trail race near Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. In a timed race, you run for a specific time, rather than distance.

This race had three versions – three hours, six hours, and twelve hours. Bill and I did the wimpy three-hour run. Racers ran around a 5k loop.

There were a lot of things to love about this race.

The course was very runnable – lots of roots, but few rocks. There were two significant climbs and lots of rolling hills, to add some variety. The temperature was perfect. The predicted rain was absent, but there had been just enough rain the day before to create some awesome mud.

Bill and I ran together and easily completed three loops. At the end of the third loop, I looked at him. “One more?” I asked. “Sure.

We finished the fourth loop, still had time to do another, and I felt good.”One more?” I asked again. “I was 95% sure you were going to say that,” Bill replied.

I runfess, I was this close to saying I was ready to stop after that fourth loop, just to be contrary, and my fingers are very close together. I resisted my spiteful impulse. We ran the fifth loop.

I’m glad we did. I wound up winning second female overall. Bill was the fourth male overall and first in his age group.

The enclosed finish line

The Race When I Led Others Astray

About a month ago, Bill and I did a 10k trail race in mid-state Pennsylvania.

It was a tough race, but not ridiculous. Trail racers call our state Rocksylvania due to races like this one.

The trails were rocky. Very rocky.

As you get older, you can stay in good running shape by training, working out, doing resistance work. One thing you cannot do anything about is the elasticity in your joints begins to deteriorate. Your shock absorbers start to go. This makes running over rocky terrain difficult.

There were many sections of this hilly, rocky course where I slowed down to a walk.

The end of the race, however, was something different. It was a screaming downhill on a flat surface, and I was flying. Bill was slightly behind me and another couple, who looked to be about our age, was behind Bill.

As we approached the parking lot where the race began, I noticed some cones across the trail. Not realizing the significance of the cones, I bypassed them, exited the woods, and entered the parking lot. Bill and the other couple followed me.

We all stood in the parking lot, confused and blinking.

The finish line was nearby but at the other end of the parking lot. You couldn’t get there from where we were because it was enclosed in plastic fencing.

I runfess, I missed a turn.

I hightailed it back to the cones with Bill and the other couple in close pursuit. There, I saw a small, unmarked walking path that led to the finish line. Bill and I bolted.

As we crossed the finish line, Bill said something like, “That was terrible.” Except he may have used some saltier words I didn’t include in my quote.

We both won our age group. The couple who followed us? Not in our age group.

The Race When I Was Almost Killed By A Bug

Our last race was a trail four-miler near State College, Pennsylvania. 2021 was the first year for this tiny race.

The loop course was not difficult or technical. Some of it was in the woods on dirt single-track and some was on a mowed grass path.

There were a few climbs, but the terrain was mostly nice, rolling hills.

At mile 3.5, Bill and I were cruising through a wooded section of the loop when a bug flew into my mouth.

It was awful.

At first, I thought it was a bee stinging the back of my throat, but now I believe it was one of those big flying ants. He was biting the fleshy part of the roof of my mouth next to my epiglottis.

I runfess, I couldn’t get the bug up or down.

He was just at the right spot to trigger my gag reflex. I retched and thought I was going to lose my breakfast by the side of the trail. My eyes were watering, my nose was running, and I was gagging and spitting.

At first, Bill thought I was being overly dramatic, then he realized I was in trouble. I thought my tongue was swelling, but it was the flesh on the roof of my mouth.

I finally spit the bug out and bolted for the finish line. I wanted to get there in case I needed medical attention.

I had what looked like a big mosquito bite on the inside of my mouth but my breathing was never affected.

I got a drink of water, blew my nose, ate some mini-quiches, and felt much better.

I also won my age group.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Runfessions. I am sure I will have plenty of running (mis)adventures to runfess by the end of June.

You can find the places I link up here.


  1. Oh my goodness, Laurie, these are hilarious!

    I especially like the one where you led Bill and the other couple astray. That could have been me! And then you have to endure the furious looks of the other couple, haha!

    Congrats on winning in your age group despite the extra distance!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, the worst part of leading the other couple astray is that I had to pass them AGAIN to get to the finish line. I guess I could have allowed them to finish ahead of me, but… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this! I am glad that you weren’t upset about taking a wrong turn. Sounds like something I would do! I think I would have experienced a wave of self-sabotaging guilt. I would love to also know more about your emotional experiences. It feels more connecting, at least for me. Thank you for sharing about your health and wellness!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lots of motivation from the very depths of your soul but silly bug obviously didn’t know you well enough to know you didn’t need to be that motivated to win. I’m so glad it didn’t end you up being a hospital trip for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally feel for your bug run. I am so allergic to everything. Once I sat in a restaurant eating soup when my tongue got whelps and started to swell. So very frightening! Luckily I quit the soup, drank milk to coat the tongue, and took a pill. I can’t imagine being on a trail while being attacked in my mouth!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your tongue swelling would be scary! Good thing you knew what to do. Luckily, I was close to the finish line. I only had less than 5 minutes of running left to do.


  5. And through it all you won or placed in your age group! It’s stories like these that make me wonder why people think running is boring. Congrats on your accomplishments! Don’t you feel better after your Runfession?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my, swallowing a bug and having it bite you! I shiver just thinking about it, glad you were ok!

    Congrats to you and your husband on all your impressive running feats. I am a beginner runner/jogger and I love trails…such peace of mind and time to reflect!

    Thanks for writing such thoughtful and uplifting blog posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Christina. I am glad you are learning to love trails as a beginning runner. Now I wish I had learned to love them years ago, but I was strictly a road runner.


  7. Oh man, that bug story is awful! Ive had bugs fly into my mouth before but none that ever bit or hurt, they were just gross. But look at all these awards you got even with everything else you had going on!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s funny, my one and only trail half I never got lost. They said it was a beginner friendly course; maybe that’s what they meant, because it was definitely pretty hilly and rather technical. I’m notorious for missing turns in trail races!

    Oh no on the ant in your mouth. I’m shuddering as I type. We have some sort of biting ant in our backyard. Thank goodness they’re not fire ants (we had those in TX, it was awful). This week’s meditation that I taped last week, an ant bit my foot — thankfully at the end so I could cut that part out!

    I have been known to push Mr. Judy a little too far. Let’s just say he isn’t the fittest person.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I swear you two are the dynamic duo of trail racing! That bug in the mouth incident sounds horrendous. At least it happened close to the end of the race. Thanks for ‘fessing!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh wow!!! I’m glad these all had happy endings, Laurie, especially the last one. Yikes! All the talk of the east coast cicadas had me in a 10-second panic attack recently when “something” flew into my mouth and I couldn’t shake it loose. Turns out it was a maple seedling LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Those darn flying bugs! My sister nearly choked on a bug while we were cycling a couple weeks ago but it didn’t bite her. Good grief! I’m glad you didn’t have a bad reaction. Congrats on all the great finishes!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. These are so great. Very gutsy with all your trail racing. It helps you have your hubby on board. Congrats on all your achievements.

    I was led astray on my last race up a mountain. The lady who led me astray was in my AG and beat me. Glad there were no awards.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Amazing to both you and Bill, Laurie. I have never done a times race yet, but hope to sometime. And really amazing finishes with the “ant in the mouth” and the race you had to backtrack. Well done! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Your trail runs always sound so fun! I would love to do more exploring in PA sometime. That bug though, oh my goodness I’m glad you were okay!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. living vicariously and remembering those long past days when I could run more than a few feet without falling on my face. I used to run the trails down through the cliffs near where I lived at the time. Drove my Mom nuts with worry that I’d tumble off a cliff… never did… well, I did, but I wasn’t running. I was climbing it. 3 broke ribs and a 3 mile hike back to town to get to the fire dept to go to childrens… and as soon as they were healed, I was back to climbing.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Yikes on the bug! I had a bee fly into my eye once and sting me, but my biggest fear is one flying into my mouth. i breathe through my mouth when I run and I’ve inhaled a few bugs…but nothing has happened like what happened to you. Glad it turned out ok!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Congratulations on all of the great finishes, in spite of the mishaps. Missing the turn and leading others astray sounds like something I would do. I can’t imagine dealing with that bug biting you inside your mouth. That had to be scary for you, especially when you weren’t sure what it was. I know you have said the poor but had a much sadder ending, but, I feel he got what he deserved. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Moral of the story is, do something out of your comfort zone, do something oblivious or trap a bug in your mouth and nearly die and you will win your age group. 😀

    goodness what a racefession!!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Omg. That must have been so scary about being bitten in the mouth! I would have died!

    I was in a race where we couldn’t find the finish line once. It was silly and the podium wasn’t on the line but d’oh.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. What an exciting month of running, Laurie! You had me laughing, gawking, sitting at the edge of my chair – you are such a wonderful story-teller!

    I was reading bits of your post to Loving Husband, and when I got to “Bill and I did the wimpy three-hour run”, we turned to each other and our jaws dropped in unison!

    I’m afraid I can empathise to a degree with your last runfession as outdoor runners, have likely inhaled, swallowed, or at least, think we did, a bug in our life-time. But I have to say nothing as dramatic as yours. I love that you continued to the finish line (I’m sure that just seemed the most logical thing for you to do) instead of panicking!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What a month you had Laurie. I laughed at you enjoying the “awesome mud” as part of the trail race and your taking a wrong turn reminded me of taking too many wrong turns in the forest last year and getting lost. I had some salty language of my own when that happened I “walkfess” and then there was your buggy run. That was downright scary to happen. I laughed at how you finished though: “I got a drink of water, blew my nose, ate some mini-quiches, and felt much better.
    I also won my age group.” Brava to you and bravo to Bill on winning so many awards!

    Liked by 2 people

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