Welcome to Wednesday Word, a weekly linkup for everyone, not just health and fitness bloggers.

Each Wednesday you will have a single word prompt to write about.  Let your imagination run free and share with your readers your interpretation of that word, or simply use it as inspiration for your post.

Today’s word is fortitude……  I’d love to have you link up, and if you do, please remember to follow my six simple rules.


Fortitude – Courage in pain or adversity….

“It will take great fortitude to run in the middle of the night
in the desolate mountains of West Virginia
at my first Ragnar Trail Relay.”


Make no bones about it, starting my 6.7-mile run through the mountains of West Virginia at 3:07 AM on Saturday morning is going to require a lot of fortitude – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I mean, why do something like this if it isn’t going to be a thrill and an adventure?

Yes, I have my most difficult and technical leg, the Mother of Crack Trail, in the super early morning of Saturday, or what most people call the middle of the night.  You know when the mountain lions, bobcats, bears, and coyotes are foraging for food.  At least the rattlesnakes and copperheads might be asleep.

I’m not alone in this endeavor of fortitude.  Seven friends (including Meagan of Turkey Runner) will be joining me for our crazy twenty-plus-hour Ragnar Trail Relay covering three trails at Big Bear Lake in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia. 


We start at 12:30 PM on Friday afternoon, and should finish around noon or early afternoon on Saturday.  Each of us will take turns running one of the three different trails non-stop until we have all covered each of these trails (course descriptions and map credit: Ragnar Trail website):


Maple Flats – 3.5 miles of easy trail (green)

You will leave the Ragnar Village on a winding and gently rolling single-track trail. This trail sometimes gets rocky, so watch your footing, but don’t forget to look up and enjoy the views. Single track turns into double track for the rest of the loop.  After mile 2, you will cross a small creek and start the slow climb back up to the Ragnar Village. When you start hearing the music know that you are close, this is where all three trails merge and return to the Ragnar Village.

Big Pine – 4.6 miles of moderate trail (yellow)

This single-track loop is a classic Appalachian wooded trail where you will encounter some fantastic views. Near mile 2, you will come to a large grove of towering pine trees, the namesake of this trail. Enjoy the soft cushion of pine needles. You will encounter a steep drop as you hug a contour line for half-a-mile before climbing back up for another run through the pine. The trail then rollercoasters along the edge of the 600’ escarpment of the Briery Mountains. Enjoy the view through the trees.

Mother of Crack – 6.7 miles of technical trail (red)

Has running through the woods ever made you feel like a gnome? This trail might. This loop is one of our favorites of the entire series and it has it all. The trail snakes through waist high ferns, twists through moss covered boulders, runs alongside and crosses a crystal clear stream, and crosses through a dark creepy swamp. Wow, what more could you ask for! This trail has short sections that are VERY technical and the safest way to get through them is to walk. Most of this trail is single-track but there are some sections of double-track.



I am the second runner on our team and will start with the yellow trail at 1:06 PM on Friday, assuming runner #1 finishes in her exact predicted time.  My second run is the green trail at 8:24 PM, and my third and final run is the red trail at 3:07 AM.  Of course none of us will run our exact predicted time, and even though our street paces were recalculated to trail paces (calculated to still be way too fast – I think), there’s plenty of room for error.  Heck, I could be running Mother of Crack as the bears are going to sleep and the snakes are waking up!  Listen closely and you might hear me shouting, “Fortitude, don’t fail me now!”

I suspect that we will all fare just fine, and will return home unscathed with wild stories to tell and long blog posts to write.  Of course the little rabbit I see on the trail at 3:30 AM will become a 400-pound Sasquatch by the time I sit down to recap my adventures. 

I can’t wait!



When have you had to dig deep for a healthy dose of fortitude?

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Next Wednesday’s Word:  Annoying