A few Saturdays ago, I went to the grocery store after my run. I had wet hair and my kids in tow. My energetic boys grabbed the buggy, wiped down the handles and went right in. I hurried in to catch them before they knocked over the display of apples. It was a long run, so I wasn’t moving super fast. As I scanned the produce area to see who I had embarrassed myself in front of, I noticed someone who looked like a “trail runner.” From far away, I could see a trucker hat mixed with running clothes and some traction-looking shoes.
My town isn’t that big, and the runner types that are in the community are usually known amongst each other. I grabbed a bag of red potatoes, some green onions and turned the corner trying to catch a glimpse of the mystery runner. She turned too. I didn’t see her face, but caught a full shot of her TRAIL SISTERS hat. What? A mysterious trail sister at the grocery store in MY neighborhood?!? I could hardly stand it. I HAD to figure out who this was and potentially meet this sister.
Thank you for this incredible community. I am always captivated by the many voices represented on the blog and feel empowered to have a community of strong women in trail running. I love explaining all this to the many people who ask about my Trail Sisters trucker hat everyday. – Sarah Thacher
Meanwhile, my boys had already shopped the cereal isle dumping five boxes in my buggy. They were on a tear already, so I knew my big introduction to this stranger would have to be quick and slick. I continued to shop while making my way towards the checkout. This wasn’t the first time I’d had this experience. We’ll call it the “Trail Sisters Hat Encounter” experience.
At the Bighorn 100 this past summer, I noticed at least 6 TS hat wearers at the starting line. I immediately felt a connection to each one and got excited at the idea that we would meet and all be best trail friends going through the next grueling 100 miles together. I met up with the first one about eight miles in. It turned out to be my friend, Kim (@runnerjacobs). Since we already knew each other a little bit from Instagram, that introduction wasn’t that random or potentially strange, just really good. We worked up a grueling initial climb together and saw each other frequently though those first tough miles.
I love your site and posts and concept. I was out running in Fruita and saw a woman with a Trail Sisters buff and it gave me a connection and chance to talk to someone new. – Laurie Nakauchi
The first aid station was at mile 14.5 or so. I grabbed my drop bag and plopped it on a table coincidentally beside another girl with a TS hat. If anyone remembers the circumstances of that race for me, it wasn’t very pleasant. I was in a lot of pain at that point and just was happy to pause, grab my stuff from my bag, and keep going. I unloaded my drop bag and looked up at the unknowing sister-friend, pointed to her hat and said something like, “Hey, Trail Sisters. Cool. I follow them too.” Okay, I know, lame intro, but that’s really all I could come up with at the time. She sort of looked at me skeptically and just nodded her head and kept getting her gear together as well. Ahhhh, I was so embarrassed even though it was kind of funny (we later met at the post-race party and it was a lot better).
Surely, I’m not the only person who’s ever been in this position. Another friend of mine told me a story about how she was driving her kids home from school the other day. She was pretty close to being home when she passed a car and saw that the driver was wearing a Trail Sisters hat and waiting at a stop sign. The car turned the other direction and my friend actually almost did a u-turn to try and see who it was sporting the lid.
The Trail Sisters movement or following has been growing so steadily, that you can find these TS hat wearers almost anywhere. We’ve got sisters in Kauai (@magpie365) to Wisconsin (@jthoe21_runs) and everywhere in-between. So what really IS the best way to make a connection with a Trail Sister hat wearer? I don’t think there’s been anything posted regarding sisterhood high five’s or handshakes. And, when you’re the one NOT wearing the TS gear, it would be nice to know that the Trail Sister you’re about to introduce yourself to would also be ready for impending introductions, because such TS apparel calls for that type of bonding!
All kidding aside, if I see you in public with your Trail Sister logo wear on, I WILL come say something to you. Just try to act natural, like you expected it the introduction. Our bond, I’m sure will be instant. After all, we share a love for these incredible dirt ribbons where we choose to spend our free time enjoying the beauty and grit of the sport.
Just wanted to let you know that when I wear my Trail Sisters Trucker hat at races I get a ton of complements. One race the wheels were falling off , and I mentioned it to the volunteers at the last aid station. One of the volunteers already complemented on the hat (3 loops for the Steep Canyon 50K course) and decided to help encourage me up the hill out of the aid station. I think that she is the definition of a Trail Sister. Trail Sisters looking out for one another 🙂 – Pam Walker
Oh! What happened with the girl at the grocery store? I spotted her once more before jumping in line at the cashier. I quickly sent my boys across the store to get a gallon of milk and knew I had one shot to say “hi” and introduce myself. I tried not to be overly-friendly, but cool as I whipped around the corner. “Hi, I had to introduce myself and meet someone who was wearing a Trail Sisters hat. I’m Tara. I live right up the street and run a lot around here.” Whew. That was easy! Turns out that my new friend, Sonja (@sonjadavidson1978), lives in my neighborhood and is totally out there enjoying the same places that I love. See, instant bond!
Has this happened to you? Do you have any suggestions to breaking the ice with random trail sisters? We’d love to hear about them. Comment below, send us a message or respond back through Instagram. We are SO glad you are out there. Show us where you adventure by tagging #trailsisters .
Feature PC: @a_isfor_abby
Editors Note: To help further grow the Trail Sisters community, we have set up Trail Sisters Facebook groups by state or province. Visit our Groups page to join and connect with trail sisters in your community!