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Blood Sweat Tears - A New Kind of Trail Book

Updated: May 6

Blood Sweat Tears is a collection of short stories from 26 women+ hikers and runners about the experience of being in a female body on trail.

When I had the idea for this short story collection, I had no doubt that it needed to happen. I hoped that I might receive enough submissions to fill a book with 15-18 stories, that there might be a small, but mighty, group of women+ out there willing to share their body on trail stories. I was overwhelmed by nearly 200 story submissions. They ranged from funny to sweet to sad to beautiful to powerful to painfully relatable. I loved every single one of them. Then I chose the 25 that most exemplified the power of the female-bodied trail experience and created this book.

I hope that you will read them and love them and perhaps relate to them or even learn from them.

Here's a little sneak preview, from Unstoppable Flow by Holly Priestley, who shares her story of coping with a reproductive system gone haywire while training for her first 50K.

As my weekly mileage increased and my long runs got progressively longer, my period kept pace. I learned to plan for what went into my body on a run; I also learned to account for what would come out. On shorter runs, I could get by with water, a handful of gummy bears, and a single super tampon. Over ten miles, and I added a second water bottle with electrolyte drink mix, supplemented my handful of gummy bears with whatever other snack I was experimenting with—stroopwafels, chewable electrolytes, even more gummy bears—and backed up my tampon with a pad, no matter what week of the month it was. My menstrual arsenal grew to battle the inevitable leakage. I endeavored to make it through my run, no matter how long, without having to acknowledge that what was happening in my body could be an obstacle in the pursuit of my goal. The training program had brought with it a mixed bag of emotions, the pressure to be ready for the race often overtaking the joy I had only recently found for the first time in running. Each time I ran a new longest distance for the first time, I found myself torn between some sense of pride and one of skepticism at my own abilities. Had I really run fourteen miles? And sixteen? And twenty? Was that me? This body? Surely not. 

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