Friday Five – The Trail vs. The Road

Today I am joining in on the Friday Five with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run.

5 Ways a Trail Race is SOOOO very different than a road race.

No matter the distance, running on the trails is so much different than running on Satan’s Tar as my friend refers to the road.   The only real similarity is that your feet are moving, but running trails has a whole different feel than running on the road besides the obvious surface area.  Some of these things may just apply to me too:)

The Vibe

Yes, road races can and often do have a “party” atmosphere but underneath it there is a different feel.   At the start line, most people are checking their Garmin, thinking race strategy, and just the underline tension of trying to meet a sub 2 half or goal.  For me,  I’ve experienced none of that at my trail races.   Now this may be on me as usually when I do a trail race, I take the wait and see approach.   My goal for the 50K was to finish and not to die while finishing.   Lofty goals, I know.    But I also know that trails are different and even the same trail on a different day will need to be run different.     Now if somehow I were to go back to the Dirty German again next year (ahem, just saying), I would still have the same goals but maybe with the added goal to be more consistent on the second loop.

The Aid Stations

Oh my God, the aid stations.   There is no comparison here.   None.   The aid station on a road race is all about efficiency.   Getting runners in and getting them out in a seemless move.   In a trail race, it is a smorgasbord of goodies.    Peanut M&M’s, Twizzlers, PBJ sandwiches, SODA, and so many other things.   I will say my favorites are soda and M&M’s.   Yummy!     I think I finished my 50K on sugar alone:):)


(Photo from Dirty German Website)

The Bathrooms

Ok, they are basically the same.   A line of Port-a-Potties.   The difference is on the course.   Now maybe I shouldn’t go here, but I will……    Yes, on any given race you will see a man run behind a tree or next to a bridge or what ever.    I always hate it because I think it is unfair to us woman who don’t have the luxury.    Well on more than one occasion on the first loop, I saw two different women running in front of me who veered to the side to squat behind a tree.   Don’t judge.


I’m not sure why but I often feel like walking is looked down upon in road races.   Not by me as I have yet to complete a marathon where I haven’t walked and I’ve had some half marathons where I’ve also needed to walk.  It happens.    It’s just not the “norm.”   That being said, walking is expected during parts of a trail race.   My coach even pointed out that there are some places on the trail that walking is really more efficient and ” everyone walks, except for the elite few.”   Going into every trail race/run I’ve done, I knew that there would be parts that I would walk.   It is the nature of the beast.   The only problem is to make sure to start running again!


The Spectators

If you are someone who feeds off the crowds at a road race to push through, running a trail race may not be for you.   I say this because outside of the start/finish line and the aid stations, there are no crowds.    You for the most part on on your own.   As you can see there are not lines of people there to cheer you on, but those there do!  Yes, you will start with a crowd of people but the further you run the more spread out the runners become.   I started with the crowd and by the time I was nearing the end of my first lap there were only a few people near me.    The second lap I was for the most part on my own.   Be prepared for some alone time which I tend to like.   If you don’t like that make sure to have a running buddy then.

I will say that I am a mixture of both.   I do love the trails, but I also like the road.  No matter if your a road runner, trail runner, or a bit of both there is enough roads and trails to make us all happy.

Which are you?

I See You. Do You See Me?

Shockingly I went for a run today.  I have to say I was a little cranky on the run.   I didn’t start off that way, but by the time I hit a half a mile, I became very cranky and if I had written this post while on my run there would be a few curse words involved.   Why you ask when running usually calms me?

I was running along my normal route.   Hugging the curb of the road as I always do.   Ask anyone who see’s me running.   I am not running in traffic.   I am always very safe and cautious as I like to say that my goal is to come home safe after every run.  .   Running towards traffic with no headphones on.   Doing all the things that I am supposed to be doing when a car seemed to be heading towards me.   I even jumped up on the sidewalk because I wasn’t sure where he was going.   I’ll be honest it wasn’t a “close call” ONLY in my mind and only because I was paying attention.   I jumped up on the curb at the same time the guy swerved.   It scared me though.  Not sure why he didn’t see me, but I would venture to say that he was distracted.

Then I noticed something else tonight.   There seemed to be lots of distracted drivers.   Not sure if it was the time of day I went out since it was 5:00 pm.   Maybe at this time of day, people aren’t paying as much attention because they are in a rush to get home.   But I did notice on more than one occasion, drivers hugging the white line or even over the white line where I am running again hugging the curb.   What’s up with that?    It actually got to the point that I became pissed.   One driver, I actually pointed to the line and yelled there is a line for a reason.   It was ridiculous.

Now there are those usually non runners who will ask,

“Why not just run on the sidewalk?”

I’ll be very frank here and say because the sidewalks suck!


No lie!

The only time I ever fell running was when i was on a sidewalk.

Here are a few exhibits from today’s run.

Sidewalk2 Sidewalk4  sidewalk5 sidewalk6sidewalk3

Yup, this is a reason that I don’t run on sidewalks usually.   You can see why I would choose to run on the road instead, can’t you?  I find it safer.

That being said why is it so hard when I am hugging the side of the road for drivers to stay on their side of the line.    They need to stay where they belong and I will stay where I belong.  I’m really not out there to annoy you and I know that in a game of chicken you are the only one walking away.    I do everything in my power to stay safe.   Can you do me a favor and maybe do the same?


I’m someone’s


So when you see me with my head held high and my feet moving across the ground,



Take Caution

My presence may annoy you


I am Someone’s
I am there for Me,
but my family wants me home when I’m done.
This concludes your PSA for the day?