Best buds: the Pope and Trail Boy

You might think Trail Boy is just some weirdo who likes to scamper through the woods, neglecting his wife and kids for hours at a time

You  wouldn’t be the first. From time to time, even Mrs. Trail Boy is kind enough to make that point in a loud voice.

But I’m interested in more than just trails, mud and smelly socks. In ways large and small, I am a person of taste and refinement.  This thought occurred to me this morning when I saw a photo of Pope Benedict XVI in the newspaper.

“Hey,” I thought, after a moment or two. “He and I have a lot in common. We’re trailblazers. We’re style mavens. We know how to live the good life.”

Just think about it for a minute.

First there’s the wheels.

Benedict rides in a popemobile, a boxy, high-riding vehicle that gets him close to the action.

Trail Boy rides a Jeep Wrangler, a boxy, high-riding vehicle, that gets him close to the action.


Second, there’s the whole name thing.

Before he was pope, Benedict was Joseph Alois Ratzinger. Man, that’s a tongue-twister. Luckily, he got to pick a new name when he took on his new job. It added a certain cachet. And now people also call him “Your Holiness.”

Before I was Trail Boy, I had another name too. No, it wasn’t Ratzinger. But it did begin with R. When I started a blog, I decided to take a new name. Luckily, I was the first to grab “Trail Boy,” or I might have had to call myself Trail Boy XVI. Of course, nobody calls me “Your Holiness.”  It would make Mrs. Trail Boy scream with laughter.


 Third, there’s the Piano Man thing.

The pope plays the piano. He prefers Mozart and Bach. 


Trail Boy plays the piano. He prefers Scott Joplin and Cole Porter.


 Fourth, there’s the sumptuous lodgings.

Benedict lives in a papal apartment in Rome that has seven large rooms plus a private chapel, a roof garden and staff quarters for the German Benedictine nuns who now keep house for Benedict.

Trail Boy lives in a cozy cottage in Indianapolis that has seven small rooms, plus a hall closet, overflowing gutters and staff quarters for a family of mice, who now keep house with Trail Boy.



 Fifth, there’s nothing like the fresh air, just steps from your couch.

The pope is fond of his balcony, where thousands gather below for a blessing.

Trail Boy is fond of his patio, where no one bothers him for anything.


Sixth, there’s the fancy gold ring thing.

Benedict has a gold ring that probably weighs about five pounds. It’s the authority of his office.


 Trail Boy has a gold ring that probably weighs about two ounces. It’s a sign of my happy marriage — even though Mrs. Trail Boy sometimes thinks I love trails more than her.


Seventh, there’s the True Faith thing.

Benedict has no qualms deciding what is and isn’t Catholic. His unofficial titles are “Defender of the Faith” and “Guardian of the Orthodoxy.” Anyone who disagrees with Benedict on important things is a heretic, at least according to him.


Trail Boy has no qualms deciding what is and isn’t a trail. My unofficial titles are “Defender of the Singletrack” and “Guardian of the Towpath.” Anyone who disagrees with Trail Boy on important things is a Treadmill Runner, at least according to him.


Lastly, what about those shoes?

Benedict is no Plain Jane in the shoe department. Unlike his predecessor, John Paul II, who wore dull, brown shoes, Benedict loves to kick around in a pair of stylin’, lipstick-red Prada loafers. You gotta look good on the job!

red shoes

Likewise, Trail Boy doesn’t mind making a fashion statement with shoes. I have no use for dull, gray Montrails. I own a pair of bright red Mizuno trail shoes. You gotta look good on the trails!



OK, back to the real trials and tribuations of running.

I went out this morning before work, and was surprised by all the aches and twinges I’m still feeling from Saturday’s mud run.

I stuck to flat, level roads in my neighborhood. Ididn’t want to aggravate any tendons or joints with a gonzo trail run. I kept the pace nice and easy. I ran 4 3/4 miles in 39:59.

I hope my ankles and knees get back to full strength soon. Or else I might have to be carried from place to place  like a pope.


2 Responses to “Best buds: the Pope and Trail Boy”

  1. Hello Trail Boy. I just wanted to tell you I enjoy your blog very much. I’m new to trails and still step around mud… not sure how this will progress, but I’m loving what I’m doing now. I also started a blog to record my activities. Actually, I found yours after starting mine. I listed yours on mine — so maybe you’ll get some extra hits.


    • Trail Boy Says:

      Michele — Welcome to trails! Leave the concrete jungle behind! Good luck with your running and blogging. Have fun. — TB

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