Somewhere in a discussion thread about 100k runs, trail karma, and borrowed socks, the phrase “smells like trail spirit” was uttered. Rather it was typed as the discussion was via social media, the avenue of choice for most discussions these days. Borrowed socks, especially socks that were borrowed during a trail ultra-marathon, should probably be washed before being returned to their original owner lest they return with the smell of trail spirit lingering like the cloud that surrounds the Peanuts character, Pig-Pen.
I have been on the receiving end of the -returned socks- equation several times lately. I loaned a spare pair of dry socks to my friend Cassandra during the Sylamore 25K when she got blisters. She washed the trail spirit out of them and promptly returned them to me, fresh and bundled with a “thank you very much for saving some of my skin from rubbing off and leaving me lame a week before my first marathon.” Socks are an important component in the arsenal.
I was standing amidst a few of my fellow Arkansas Women Bloggers who were manning the social media booth for the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show when Ashley sauntered up beside me and handed me a plastic water bottle and a pair of socks. I stood there for a moment, trying to puzzle out the best way to store my returned goodies. In my head it made perfect sense to store the socks inside the water bottle to conserve space. Then I realized the company I was in. Now out on the trail, post long-run or long-ride, if someone hands me a pair of socks I’m going to store them in the most space efficient way possible, no matter what. But I figured not one of my blogger buds, save Ashley who would probably do the same, wanted to see me put my socks in my water bottle. Why? Because socks smell like trail spirit, water bottles do not, and no one wants a water bottle that smells like trail spirit.