We all know that trail runners can talk. There’s no better way to let the hours on the trail go by than ‘having a yack’ (Aussie slang for chat) with your running mates. Problem is that runners, particularly trail runners, love to embellish the truth, throw curveballs or just try to pump themselves up a wee bit too much. My name is Brendan Davies (that’s me in the photo above) and here are the top-10 things trail runners say… and what they really mean.
1. “I’ve hardly trained lately so I’m taking it easy”
Yep, we’ve all heard this one before – the classic race day downplay. The sand-bagging trail master who claims that he’s had a ‘tummy bug’. We all know what this really means: “I’ve been training the house down and as soon as that gun goes off, you’ll all be seeing the soles of my trail running shoes and eating my dust!”
2. “I’ll be right, I won’t get lost”
Really bad to kid yourself in this way. It’s the famous last words of many a trail runner, never seen again. Secretly, they are thinking to themselves that they are God’s gift to navigation and have a built in GPS which can get them out of any spot. If you ever hear anyone say that, shove a map and a phone in their pack!
3. “The snake/bear/hornet/lion was this BIG”
The universal fisherman’s porky pie. What it really means is divide that description by four to get the real size… and the snake was really a lizard, the bear a wombat, the hornet a bee and the lion a lost domestic cat.
4. “Hey come for a run, all you need is a pair of shoes”
Plainly wrong! These days any self-respecting trail runner wouldn’t be caught dead without the latest gadget, hydration pack and new bit of kit. From calf guards to visors and everything in between, your average trail runner looks more like they are on a five-day hike than out for a couple of hours of trail fun.
5. “It’s not hilly, it’s just undulating”
Funny how our perceptions change of what ‘undulating’ is as we become more of a trail demon. What was once seemingly Mt Everest is now nothing more than a small speed hump. Try saying that when you’re going out with a new runner and they’ll quickly put you back in your place!
6. “Running in the rain is so lovely”
Well maybe for the first five minutes, after that than it becomes a wet, cold, and sometimes miserable affair. But we’d never let anyone else know that – we’re hardcore trail runners after all and appearances mean everything.
7. “100 miles isn’t that far”
Yep, I’ve seen and heard it all before. The rookie having completed a couple of 50-mile races jumps way too quickly into the 100 miler. While I’m all for the power of positive thinking, usually come mile 75 they are crumpled over in the foetal position wrapped in their emergency blanket.
8. “I just did a 2.5hr run with 2,000m of vert(ical)”
The classic training session exaggeration. What that usually means is that they did a 1hr easy run which included a couple of stair climbs as they didn’t even have time to get to the trails.
9. “We’re almost at the peak!”
We all love an optimistic running friend, the one that is always encouraging others to ‘keep it up’. So rather than analyse what they’re thinking, I can tell you what I’ve be thinking when I’ve heard this – “You sadistic fiend. We’ve been hiking up this climb for 2hrs and I know we’re not even half way to the top!”
10. “You didn’t happen to bring some Vaseline did you?”
To ask to use another trail runner’s lubricant is definitely always the last of last resorts. We all know where that lubricant has probably been. So what they really mean is: “Mate, my (insert: armpits, toes, nipples, balls, crack) are on fire and I need some sweet relief, brother!”
* Brendan Davies is the 2016 Australian Male Ultra Runner of the Year. He trains, races and coaches on both trail and road. Brendan placed top-20 at last year’s iconic Comrades Marathon in South Africa. Follow him on Facebook or Instagram and visit his blog.