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Taking that first step

Updated: Jul 13, 2021

Trail DPT started slowly, just a flicker of a hint of something, something that maybe, could be, something. With a lot of time, conversations, mulling it over, I finally put it into something real, something more than just an idea.

I had started to get tired of running on the pavement and streets of the city. After a couple of marathons, seasonal running, and the normal grind of the 3ish mile loop I would run from my house in Seattle I was starting to get burnt out from “running”. I was ready for something different, something familiar, but new. Trail running was a great place to look.

As a physical therapist (PT) I treated plenty of runners with a verity of issues. But the one thing I kept hearing from my clients was that the trail was so much softer and "easier on the feet". Living in Seattle there was no shortage of trails to explore. So off I went in search of a softer run.

The more I ran outside in the hills, the parks and on the trails the more I liked it. This is what mountain biking is to road cycling. The varied terrain, the newness of surroundings, and the fresh air was a great change from the stuffiness of the city. The more trail running I did the more I wanted to run, the more I sought out trails in the city that had dirt or even gravel and grass to run on.

It was during a trip down to Oregon that my spouse and I were talking about other ways to expand my career and build a better connection with runners that a business idea started to form. "What about starting a website to work with runners, you always say that's your favorite group to work with". It's true, I really do love working with runners, analyzing gait mechanics, force transfer, and movement through space. At first was excited, then as time went by, less so, this had been done before, why would it be any different now with me, what do I have to bring to the world of running?

While out on a trail run a few weeks later, seeing other runners go by and thinking to myself "wow that person is really struggling, if they would only do a few exercises, they could be running so much more efficiently and painlessly" There it was, the conversation we had had on the drive, the thought of working with more runners, creating a website for people to access the information. This WAS a great idea!!! (Thanks babe, you do have all the great ideas)

I had a unique background in PT, specifically sports orthopedics. I have taken a lot of courses to learn more about the body, how it functions and what happens when it's not all meshing together seamlessly. I have seen how an old ankle injury 15 yrs ago can lead to a loss of ankle range of motion, and how that resulted in a loss of power from that leg, resulting in over compensation from the rest of the body. I have seen this turn into, believe it or not a SHOULDER problem!!!! Yes it seems crazy, but it's true. The reason I was perfect for this is because of exactly that, I can see this chain of events happening in real time. That is my gift, seeing the connection of all those moving body parts through space as someone runs; oh and I also like trail running!

After a lot of trail runs, more long car rides and consulting with friends I was finally able to come up with a name that seemed to fit, TrailDPT. The trail is where I want to be, it doesn’t matter if it's running, skiing, hiking, or biking. I am also many things, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is one of them. Meshing these things together just made sense.

It has been slow, there has been a lot of ups and downs, but the more work I put into this the more it gives back. In the beginning I let what I didn’t know about websites, digital media, and running a business keep me from pushing forward. But the more I look back, the more I realize that I just have to start, one-foot in front of the other, keep moving, keep stepping. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would run a 50K trail run, but in 2019 there I was crossing the finish line at Run the Rock 50K, Smith rock OR. All it took was one day at a time, called running one day at a time, and putting one foot in front of the other.

Nick Fabula


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