I recently skimmed a post about mountain running and what “they don’t tell you”. I figured Mountain is different from Trail, and I wanted to put my own spin on this very topic.
People WILL tell you plenty about trail running though. I think below are the 3 most common things I hear.
- The community is awesome – They truly care about each other.
- There are no cars to kill you – Maybe some snakes and stuff, but no cars!
- You body will love you more – Something about nature just seems to work better than asphalt and concrete
But what about the things they don’t tell you? What about being a trail runner is something I have only found out about because I am a trail runner.
- Road runners will laugh at your times – Forgive them, for they know not what they do. They will say things like “Seriously, a 15 min pace, I could walk faster than that” Good luck doing that with the boulder in your way – the tree you have to duck under and the soul sucking mud you had to squish through.
- You’ll gain weight – Not everyone, some people even lose a lot. For some reason though there are a bunch of beer bellies at the trail head… Probably has something to do with the beer….
- You start at a trail head not a store or start line so it’s not very commercial. Getting out to nature and away from consumerism is not only good for you as a runner, but it’s good for you as a human. No one is trying to sell you anything out here but you still go home with more than you showed up with.
- The views can’t be replicated with a photo. You will come around a corner and the sun will be setting over the river, or the clouds will be stuck in the mountains, and the snow will be fresh and unbroken. This view can’t be replicated with power lines, black top, or buildings in the view. Nor will any photo you take do it justice
- You will fall – And once you do, someone will tell you “now you are a trail runner”. We fall. End of story. Make your fall as ungraceful as possible.
- You might get a trail name – You might not like it – It might stick. It might not. Just ask Mamma Llama, Robot or Colonel Valone (suck it bruh).
- If you fall (see number 5) someone will help you up – and probably laugh once they realize you are ok. This is true even in races. I have rarely seen other endurance athletes stop a race to help a runner. I have never NOT seen trail runners do it. Sometimes we even carry runners with injuries miles to the next aid drop.
- If a faster runner thinks you are in trouble, or feels you might be left alone, they forgo the run they had planned and join you – Don’t feel bad about this – Ever. Enjoy their company, they are there for a reason.
- You will wake up at stupid o’clock to run a stupid amount of miles with stupid crazy people and you will long for these runs. You will plan for them, eventually YOU will plan them. You will think about them all day staring out the window waiting for your turn to hit the dirt again. You will be sucked in, and it’s ok.
- There are more to trails than ultras. – Eventually the talk will turn to ultras. Guess what, that 3 mile intro race you found is just as badass a trail race as the 34 mile one you just heard about that half of the group seems to be running. No one in the trail world is judging you because the trails are for everyone. They have no qualifying goals. It’s just you, the dirt, and the community.
Step outside – Meet us where the pavement ends and add to my list. No cars, awesome community, body love! Everything else is hearsay.