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Monday, October 15, 2012

8 ways to make turn a road race into a trail race

On Sunday I finished my first road marathon, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. With 25,000 runners, it's a huge race that shuts down a chunk of the downtown and makes some citizens angry. And while I've completed distances longer (the Tread 6-hour race and the Haliburton 50K), it was #STWM that really made me nervous. Though I started on the roads, it's the trail where I am most comfortable. But instead of bending to all of the rules of road racing, I decided to make Toronto and #STWM feel like home.

Here is a simple to use guide for all trail runners should they find themselves in a road race.

  1. Spit. A lot. Don't forget to wipe your nose all over your clothing.
  2. Portopotties are just suggestions. Even in a mostly paved downtown, there are plenty of trees and overpasses.
  3. Don't chuck your used gel wrappers on the ground just because 15,000 other people do. With aid stations 3K apart, you can seriously tote your own trash to the next garbage can. Same goes for the empty paper cup you just drank from.
  4. Eat potato chips. While stuffing your face with salted chips is normal on the trail, walking down the street with a race bib with your face stuck in a package of Lays earns you the stink eye. And it's hilarious. (In my case, I had to go shopping at 38K at a Queen Street convenience store because the aid stations only had water and Gatorade).
  5. Walk around barefoot. Get more funny looks.
  6. Talk to strangers. Get more funny looks.
  7. Get stung by bugs. (In my case a wasp crawled under my watchband and stung be about 4 times right before the start gun).
  8. Wear a garbage bag as a rain coat.

Have you run both road and trail? What tips do you have to feeling at home on pavement?

About Jen Pinarski

Jen is a mother, freelance writer, runner and cyclist based in Ontario. She is a popular blogger with Today's Parent, where she shares the challenges and triumphs of being a stay-at-home mom. Find her on Twitter.


Mich said...

I smile at other runners when I pass them on the road! They never seem to know what to do about that! Normally, road runners will pass you and maybe nod or shrug at you. But a smile? Well, that's enough to make them slow down and wonder. Trail runners are always smiling and waving at each other!

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per head said...

Wow, 25 thousand is quite a number but it is impressive that they could shut down a part of the downtown. it is quite hard to that

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