Deserae Clarke

Des is a crunchy, plant-powered, trail-loving ultra runner. She grew up exploring the woods of central PA, and currently lives and runs in Arizona.

The Injured Trail Runner Part 5: Getting Back on the Trail

About 4-5 weeks post surgery I decided I should try to incorporate a little running on my walks. It was nothing spectacular, just a minute jog every 5-10 minutes. I was struck by how difficult it felt, and admittedly struggled with some negative thoughts that I had lost so much fitness and questioning whether I would ever get back.

The Injured Trail Runner Part 4: Surgery

Two nights before surgery I freaked out and started Googling “Non-surgical repair of meniscus root tears” to no avail. The morning of surgery I did some yoga and took a short bike ride. It seemed weird to think about missing something that I disliked so much, but getting the surgery done meant giving up a certain amount of short term freedom and mobility in exchange for improvements in the long term.

The Injured Trail Runner: Part 2 Navigating the Medical System

My initial appointment with the surgeon was the beginning of a series of frustrating encounters with the medical system. The first of these was the fact that I was unable to get an MRI until I first had an x-ray, even though we were certain that the injury was soft tissue and not something able to be seen on an x-ray.

The Injured Trail Runner: Part 1

As soon as I felt the pop, I knew it was bad. My knee had been hurting the week before when I was on vacation with my family, but it seemed to loosen up as I ran. It felt decently good that day so I decided to give it a try. About 20 minutes into my run I felt the pop. I could no longer run.

If the Wild Takes Me

A misstep or loose rock, a wild animal, getting lost or injured, facing dehydration or hypothermia, probably some that I’ve never thought of. If occasionally I forget, mother nature has a way of reminding me through minor falls, close calls, and even the occasional ER trip.

The P Word

As women, our menstrual cycle adds another dimension to the challenging puzzle that is distance trail running. There are actual physiological changes in our body throughout the month that we, unlike men, need to account for.


This was supposed to be a fun adventure-run day. I had summited Humphrey’s peak (the highest peak in AZ) earlier in the day, and was making my way around the loop created by Weatherford and Kachina trails to arrive back at my car parked at Snowbowl. The scenery was beautiful, and the weather was perfect compared to the 114 degrees I had faced the previous day in Phoenix. And…I was completely miserable.

My Toeing Away Party

I remember the first time I read about ultra runners, about the Badwater race, and people having their toenails surgically removed. I thought it was batshit crazy. Wasn’t nail removal a torture method? Who would WILLINGLY do that?

Des Canyon Vista

Own Your Sisterhood

“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” – Anne Sweeney What makes

The Joy of Legos

Legos are an inspirational toy. No doubt they have sparked the imagination of countless future engineers, architects, construction workers, astronauts, superheroes and unicorns. The Lego

Running as a Habit of Love

The habit of love cuts through confusion and stumbles its way out of difficulty. It remembers the way even when it forgets, for a dumbfounded

Let’s Hear it for the Boys

In Lean In Sheryl Sandberg puts forth the idea that one of the most important decisions a woman can make in her career is who she

The Ethos of Running

On my college track team we had an athlete who was naturally gifted. She almost always placed well in her event, bringing points that were

So You’re Injured, Now What?

Before reading this post, please note that I am not a medical expert.  The information contained below is not to replace the consultation of an

Dark Side of the Run

I love running in the dark. This love has further blossomed now that I live in the southwest, and dark running is no longer synonymous

Fear, Love and Naivety

It is well for the heart to be naive and for the mind not to be – Anatole France It is pretty much inevitable.  If

Lessons From My First 100 Miler

I went into my first 100 miler thinking I knew what I was doing, how things were (sorta) gonna go, what things I was going