As the non-profit American Trail Running Association approaches a quarter century of service, we are featuring trail runners from around the United States who are participating in our 25th Anniversary Challenge. Through these profiles we’ll introduce you to challenge participants who are walking, hiking, or trail running their way to distance milestones and sharing in fun weekly trail teasers.
We hope these interviews will inspire you to get out on the trails while getting to know trail runners from different parts of the country. If you haven’t already joined our challenge, you can learn more about it and sign-up on our website.
Let’s Get To Know Kimberly Aubuchon
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
ATRA Challenge Region: Southwest
Years running trails: 11 years
Miles per week on running trails: 25 to 55
Favorite race distance: 25K
Longest trail race completed: 30K but will run her first 50K on September 26
[American Trail Running Association] How did you get into trail running?
[Kimberly Aubuchon] I started road running in 2008 to lose weight, and slowly got hooked on racing. Saw a trail race as an option and thought I’d try it in 2009…and fell in love with the trails pretty quickly—the single tracks, no autos, beautiful natural environments, and the unpredictability of the trails. Even though my road times went out the door, the trade-off for the feeling I got when completing a trail run was much more satisfying and entertaining to my feet than the typical stomp and grind of running concrete turf. No offense roads, but ya kill me.
[ATRA] What motivates you to get out and run on trails?
[Aubuchon] The color green, trees, birds, sunrises, spring flowers, seasonal changes, Turkey vultures, white-tail-deer, armadillos, rabbits, prickly pear cactus, my pals…and let’s not forget the ice cold beer in my cooler for when I’m finished. Eyes on the prize.
[ATRA] What has your experience been running on trails versus running on roads?
[Aubuchon] I started out as a road runner back in 2008, and still run roads a couple of days a week—the shorter miles. Anything more than a 10K on the concrete, and my hip flexors start plotting my demise. I have access to a beautiful river greenway that is approximately 50 miles of concrete just a half mile from my doorstep. As much as I love it, I must drive a minimum of 20 minutes to get to the dirt, but it’s worth it.
Since I’ve been running trails my overuse injuries have been less (insert crowed cheering here), however my trail trauma has increased (insert disappointed crowd booing here)…I’m clumsy, have too much fun going too fast downhill, or perhaps rocks like to trip me?! As long as I’m having fun before the trauma and provided I can get up—I dust myself off, embrace and learn from the injury experience, find a way to be active without stressing the injury, and patiently await lacing up my trail shoes. I’d take a trail impact injury over a road overuse injury ANYDAY…and I’d prefer to run a 50K on the worlds most difficult trail, then run a marathon on the flattest road.
[ATRA] What do you like best about being part of the trail running community?
[Aubuchon] What I get from the trail running community in San Antonio is so genuine, and extremely easy to love and give back to. I’m a race director for local trail races SARR Prickly Pear 50K/15K/5K and Friends of Government Canyon Recharge Run 8K/15K. In addition, I am the head coach for the San Antonio Road Runners Off-Road Training Program (200+ members) and oversee 10 coaches that guide our trail runners on distances of 10K up to 100K distances. We offer walk/run programs for shorter distances for beginners or those getting back at it.
It’s so cool to witness folks taking their first steps on the trail in a program, to later completing ultra-running distances. Me, getting to fist/elbow bump as they cross that line and assume ultra runner status is such an honor. I love the family we’ve built, the fun we have before and after our training runs, at races, and support we have for each other. We’re not just trail runners, we’re trail advocates and stewards—rolling up our sleeves to assist with trail workdays at our local State and City Parks helping maintain and even build the trails we love and run.
[ATRA] What advice would you give to someone trying trail running for the first time?
[Aubuchon] Have a plan and know where you are going!!!!…STUDY THE MAP…TAKE WATER (lots of it, especially if you’re in South Texas), understand that trail miles are completely different than road miles, and keep your eyes 10 feet ahead of your two feet. Oh yeah, go potty before you hit the trail. Duh.
I’ll never forget my first trail run at Government Canyon State Natural Area in 2008–I thought I was going for 4 miles…ended up being a very thirsty dehydrated 10 mile run/walk/crawl on a warm morning with no water, no map, too much attire on, no hat, and no phone. Did I mention my longest distance at the time was 4 miles before that day? Please don’t be a Kimberly and plan ahead.
[ATRA] How did you first learn about our 25th Anniversary Challenge?
[Aubuchon] Of course like any trail runner—you are a member of the American Trail Running Association, like me, and get the newsletters, email announcements, and Facebook posts, which is how I learned of the challenge.
[ATRA] What do you enjoy most about our 25th Anniversary Challenge?
[Aubuchon] It’s a great opportunity to keep moving during “these” times as well as connect to some of my friends who live in other parts of the United States, whom I met on a trail or because of a trail. I love the weekly video “Trail Teasers” (see below) and the challenge rankings!
[ATRA] Part of our 25th Anniversary Challenge is the weekly trail teaser. What trail teaser would you like to see during the challenge?
[Aubuchon] Hmmm…this is tough. Perhaps the most delicious craft beer teaser? Or your favorite hoody? Or hell…favorite hoody while drinking favorite craft beer? Fall is coming.
[ATRA] Share with us how our 25th Anniversary Challenge has motivated you.
[Aubuchon] While I have been running trails almost 12 years, I am not an ultra runner…YET! I am completing my first 50K on September 26, day before my 53 birthday (FYI—I share my birthday with Shawn Cassidy and Meatloaf). Sadly it’s virtual, but I’m sticking with the plan and getting it done with help of some great pals in 2 week. If all goes well I will continue training—after all I have 10 races between now and April 2021.
The ATRA 25th Anniversary Challenge is going to continue to motivate me thru my first 50K training to get my miles in, keep a fun challenge going with my pals/SouthRegion, and to continue to be amazed and learn from all the participants posts and trail experiences. I’m taking note of places to visit! But y’all, Texas looks so brown and yellow compared to the rest of the regions beautiful blues and greens—I’m totally jealous of your snow, beanies, and beautiful mountains, but if you ever want to visit San Antonio I’ll drive you to some mighty hills and show you a bounty of Cedar trees and prickly pear cactus. I’m looking forward to the next two ATRA challenges this Fall and Winter! Thank you American Trail Running Association!
[ATRA] What is your favorite post-run or post-race indulgence?
[Aubuchon] Cheap domestic beer, or beer flavored water as I humbly call it, and Salt n’ vinegar Pringles.
[ATRA] What is your favorite trail running shoe?
[Aubuchon] I love the Altra Timp 2.0.
[ATRA] When is your favorite time of day to run trails?
[Aubuchon] 30 minutes before sunrise. Waking up with the day on a trail is the best way to start any day.
Kimberly Aubuchon’s pick one quiz results:
- Single Track over Wide Path
- Downhill instead of Uphill
- Planking over Push Ups
- She prefers Massage to Foam Rolling
- She will take a Long Run over Speed Work