by Cynci "TRN" Calvin
with assistance from fellow TRN,
You hate the very thought of getting your shoes dirty.
You wash your shoes in the washing machine after each trail run.
You buy an expensive pair of trail shoes because the shoe store
people said "Tim Tweitmeyer loves these shoes!"
You find out your expensive pair of trail shoes weigh nearly a pound
each (closer to two pounds when coated with mud).
You buy brown trail running socks only after you notice that all your
nice white socks have already turned brown.
Your friends or family expect you to be 10 or 15 minutes late in
returning from your run (they eventually learn the minutes need to be
multiplied by four).
You have yet to learn to say "I'll be home for dinner," instead of
"I'll be home for breakfast."
In the quest to learn how to carry water and drink it regularly, you
wander around your workplace or home with a fanny pack and water
bottle looking like a nerd.
Someone tells you to try using a bladder for carrying your water and
you say "Pardon me?"
After the bladder system is explained to you, you buy one and get
drenched every time you try to make it work.
You are always trying to figure out the exact mileage of your trail run.
You estimate your mileage by your time, only to look at a map and
discover the mileage was half of what you calculated.
Then you get more bummed because once you've calculated the mileage
you learn you are "running" a 15-minute per mile pace.
You think you are supposed to run up and down steep hills.
You feel guilty every time you walk up or down a hill.
If there are more than two rocks per step on the trail, you walk (and
You stop, and then try to go around, any standing water or mud.
You spend five minutes staring at a shallow stream crossing looking
for just the right stepping stones.
After you cross you stand a few minutes to catch your breath and
You turn around and head back to your car if the water is ankle-deep.
Finding Your Way Issues-
You get lost at least once a week.
You make a wrong turn at least once during every run.
You look for what experienced trail runners consider "landmarks" and
never find them.
When you find the landmark you don't know it until you return and
explain where you ran to an experienced trail runner.
You don't have a clue when you hear other trail runners describe their routes.
You cannot understand why the direction signs in the American River
canyons make no sense until someone explains that they were made by
You don't know what "horse people" are.
You think you can do a five hour trail run after eating one energy bar.
During an organized trail event you become mesmerized by the aid
station food buffet choices and spend fifteen minutes at each trying
to decide what to eat.
You worry about gaining weight on your long runs.
You wonder why your heart rate is never above 50% of max (and feel guilty).
You have just stopped wearing a heart rate monitor and a chronometer.
You now carry a map and are considering getting a global positioning device.
You wear a watch only to have an idea of when the sun will set.
Final Newby Musings -
You wonder why the trails aren't littered with corpses.
Your frame of reference on the trails becomes the visor of your hat
and the 10 feet of trail ahead.
When you stop to look at a view, you know why you are "out there" and
you only feel a little guilty.
You meet a whole bunch of really nice, relaxed, helpful people who
can't wait to convert you from a trail newby to a full-fledged trail
You spend a lot of your time "out there" thinking about items for this article.
You wonder if you'll ever run on pavement again.