Whew.  After a whirlwind weekend of emotions (wedding on Saturday; head-shaving party on Sunday), I am so relieved that it’s Monday.  Even if we are pulling a 14-hour day at the clinic.  I’ll take it!


Dinner last night was so stand-out; I simply must share!


Although the baked tofu and steamed greens were delish, the really special part were PURPLE POTATOES with corn relish (from a jar).  I simply sliced, drizzled in olive oil and sea salt, and roasted the purple potatoes for about 45 minutes. 


Fun fact:  Unlike white potatoes, purple potatoes are rich in the antioxidant, anthocyanin. This flavonoid is most often found in blue, red and purple produce such as berries and pomegranates and has been shown to be an immune system booster and aid in the prevention of certain cancers.  (Source)


Breakfast was simple but tasty, too.  GF bread, sunflower butter, and a banana:


Race Etiquette:  The Water Station


A reader wrote in with a great question, so instead of just answering her through e-mail, I thought I’d share my thoughts with you guys, too.  Plus, maybe other people have different thoughts on the topic – can’t wait to see what you think about this race etiquette question. 


Katie wrote, “I just ran my first 5k race today (yay!) and around mile 1 they had water, as I assume they do at all races.  I grabbed a cup, took a couple sips, poured some on my head, and then did what everyone else around me was doing – tossed the cup on the ground.  Then about 15 feet ahead I spotted a trash bin and instantly felt guilty.  I know the race volunteers are probably used to this, but is it expected to just toss your water cup on the ground or are you generally supposed to toss it in the bin if there is one?  Or does it not matter?”


If you’ve never ran a race before, let me explain water stations.


Every mile or so (it really depends on a race) is a water station.   As you approach a water station, it is good etiquette to decide ahead of time whether you are going to stop and grab water.  If you’re going to pass through the water station, check behind you and then pull to the opposite side of the road to allow other racers to easily access the tables.  


The water station is usually staggered with drink options.  The volunteers in the front of the station will have water, and the volunteers in the back might have Gatorade.  They will usually yell out which that have in their hands, “Water! Water! Gatorade! Gatorade!” so you know which one you are grabbing.  The water station is staffed by awesome volunteers, so be sure to say “THANKS!” as you grab a drink. 


Once you’ve gotten your drink, check behind you again before coming to a stop or walk.  Coming to a dead stop during a race is considered rude because someone behind you might be gunning for a personal record and could slam into you.  Actually, this rule applies to the entire course – don’t ever just stop moving without looking behind you!


After drinking, it is perfectly acceptable to just crush your cup and toss it on the ground.  If you’re near a trash can, toss it in, but remember – check behind you before crossing to it!  If you have to cut in front of someone to get to the trash can, it’s not worth it.  There’s really nothing wrong with tossing your cup on the floor. 


And lastly, just for fun, I’ll show you the perfect way to drink from a water cup while running. 


Step 1:  Grab the cup.


Step 2: Pinch the top of the cup to create a funnel.


Step 3: Pour into mouth!


Most people walk through water stations, but if you’re really focused on your time, you’ll probably want to keep moving.  As long as you know this simple trick, the water will end up in your mouth and not down your front!


More Race Etiquette Posts:


Is it OK to Transfer a Bib Number?  Or Bandit a Race?

The Race Shirt Debate


How do you keep it polite while running through a water station?



  • Mary June 27, 2011, 10:35 am

    I usually just carry water wtih me like in my camelbak or in a waterbottle. That way I dont have to worry about H2O stations 🙂

    • Kadye June 27, 2011, 10:45 am

      I’m really new to the running thing and I plan on doing a half marathon in January (yes, I am crazy…) and I was wondering if wearing a camelbak seriously affects your running? I’d really love to wear one so I don’t have to worry about water stations.

      • Caitlin June 27, 2011, 10:49 am

        I used to wear one and liked it 🙂 They are comfy. Get the ladies fit.

        • Kadye June 27, 2011, 11:05 am

          Thanks! 🙂

        • Mary June 27, 2011, 11:06 am

          I love mine too! Just get a ladie’s fit one. I thought it would bump and jiggle around but it doesnt. It doesn’t even chafe! 🙂

          good luck with your half! and your training! i hope you’re not someplace too cold to be running a half in January!

        • Kadye June 27, 2011, 11:10 am

          I’m doing the Disney Half marathon so I’ll be in Orlando. Not too bad. 🙂

          I’ll be sure to get the ladies fit. 🙂 That’s great so it’s one less thing I have to worry about because I’ll already be SO nervous!

      • Grace June 27, 2011, 10:50 am

        I recently ran my first half-marathon in April and I did just about all of my training and the race with a camelbak. The first run was a little odd with the weight of the water but I did NOT feel it significantly slowed me down or made the run more difficult. Personally, it was a life-saver! I never felt dehydrated during the training or the race!

        • Kadye June 27, 2011, 11:06 am

          Thank you for the review! I think I will invest in one. 🙂

    • Kris @ tryingtotri June 27, 2011, 12:36 pm

      I always wear my fuel belt (a 4 bottle system) during races, and don;t find it slows me down, if you train with the camelbak I’m sure it will be fine. I’m running the Disney half in January too – good luck!

  • jen @ taste life June 27, 2011, 10:35 am

    I just try to stay off to the side if I slow down – I definitely don’t want to be one of those people who messes up someone else’s stride! I usually throw the cups to the ground but always say lots of thank yous to the volunteers.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat June 27, 2011, 10:37 am

    Oooh I want to try these purple potatos but haven’t found them at the grocery store yet. Maybe I’ll have to hit up the market! I’m with you on the water etiquette – especially the don’t stop moving part! Safety first!

  • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing June 27, 2011, 10:37 am

    Thanks for the water station tips 🙂 That gluten-free bread actually looks delicious — not dry like a lo of GF breads. My recent favorite is the whole grain bagels from Udi’s. They taste have the texture of traditional bagels, for the most part. Win!

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething June 27, 2011, 10:37 am

    i love this! great tips. i have to say i rarely look behind me so i will from now on! enjoy your busy but normal monday caitlin 🙂

  • Aine @ Something to Chew Over June 27, 2011, 10:38 am

    Great drinking technique! 😉

    Those purple potatoes look amazing, I’ve never seen them before. Will have to keep my eye out! Maybe we don’t have them in Ireland?

  • Kiran June 27, 2011, 10:39 am

    A camelbak is always a good idea, and environmentally safe 🙂

    • Kiran June 27, 2011, 10:39 am

      I meant, environmentally friendly 😀

  • Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet June 27, 2011, 10:41 am

    I agree with Mary! I just go for my water bottle 🙂 And purple potatoes are going on my shopping list!! How does the taste compare to regular potatoes??

    • Caitlin June 27, 2011, 10:53 am

      It was richer and more flavorful – that’s all I can think of for describing it! i liked it. I would definitely buy again.

      • Mary June 27, 2011, 11:08 am

        Where can I get purple Potatoes? I have looked ALL over the place in Raleigh and i cannot find them! Did you go to the farmers market for those babies?

        • Caitlin June 27, 2011, 11:08 am


        • Mary June 27, 2011, 11:09 am

          For real?! I looked there! I’m going to have to go back and look again! 🙂

  • Maria June 27, 2011, 10:43 am

    I love the water cup trick. I usually spill it down my face, up my nose and all over. Such a novice 🙂

  • Jen (@jeninRL) June 27, 2011, 10:45 am

    your post got me thinking…

    I have a race etiquette question but not about water stations…about stopping/walking…

    I use run:walk intervals and I wonder how to do this without getting in people’s way during a race? I only think this presents a situation in the beginning of races as it thins out. But do you have any advice for when I transition to walk intervals?

    thank you!

    • Caitlin June 27, 2011, 10:50 am

      As long as you look behind you before walking, it’s cool 🙂 Just don’t suddenly come to a stop. People know they are going to have to weave in and out of walkers, the trouble is when you just suddenly come to a halt.

    • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good June 27, 2011, 11:27 am

      It’s also good etiquette to start in the pace area where you expect to finish. I’m fairly slow, so I line up toward the middle to back of the pack. If I started at the front, faster runners would be passing me like crazy.

    • Jen @ Light Enough to Travel June 27, 2011, 5:17 pm

      The only race I have been in was a ‘fun run’ style 10K, where walkers were expected to keep right. In my run/walk intervals, I would look for a gap in the walkers ahead, jog over to it, slow down and ease into a walk with everyone on the right side.

      For more serious road races though, I would probably consider aiming towards a break in the pack before coming to a walk. I like the looking behind you idea for more densely packed parts of the race, for sure.

  • Rachel June 27, 2011, 10:53 am

    Also – if the water station has bottles rather than cups, don’t put the lid back on before you throw it on the floor; run over an empty bottle without a lid and it will just crumple, but a bottle with the lid on can cause accidents!

  • Kara June 27, 2011, 10:54 am

    For smaller races, I think it’s actually rude to not use the trash cans. It’s really not going to slow you down to hold that cup for two more steps. Huge races like Marine Corps Marathon, sure throw your cup on the ground, but that local 5K? Don’t be the tool who throws the cup on the ground right in front of the trashcan.

    When I ran a small marathon back in March, I took two steps off the course to throw my cup in the trash and the volunteer looked shocked and said “Thanks!!”. Personally, I’d rather add a few seconds on my time than make volunteers pick up my trash.

    I have the same feelings about throwing your empty Gu packets on the side of the road. If you could carry the full ones, carry the empty ones too. This is why I love trail running, people usually are much better about picking up after themselves.

    • Caitlin June 27, 2011, 10:56 am


    • Cat June 27, 2011, 12:41 pm

      Totally agree with you Kara! I just crush the cups up in my hand and it’s not a big deal to hold it for a little bit.

    • Jen @ Light Enough to Travel June 27, 2011, 5:19 pm

      Leave only footprints! 🙂

  • Khushboo June 27, 2011, 10:57 am

    Kinda off topic but wanted to tell you I really thought of you during my run this morning. I used to snub walk/run and always thought it was more of an achievement to run the whole time. Today I decided to walk for a minute after each mile and believe it or not, I ran faster/more in 45 minutes than normal, walk time included! I think this might become a regular for me- thanks for always being such an advocate for it!

  • Megan @ On the Road Again June 27, 2011, 11:00 am

    Great post! While it seems like such a minor thing, water station etiquette is so important.

    If I stop for water, I’ll usually 1) check behind me to make sure I’m clear to move over to the aid table; 2) snag my drink of choice and say “thanks!; and 3) slowly jog through the rest of the station w/ drink and move over to the side of the road after the station to pause for a few sips. I always wait to drink until after I get out of the craziness of the aid table; nothing’s worse than aid station congestion!

  • Donna @ Love, Run & Travel June 27, 2011, 11:00 am

    I’ve started running with a camelbak and i don’t have to worry about water stations – my last race was a 5k and there was one water station and we somehow missed it! Better to have your own water source
    Holy yummm purple potatoes sound awesome 🙂

  • Angie June 27, 2011, 11:00 am

    Great post Caitlin, I was curious about the water stations. P.S. that gluten free bread looks amazingly thick, Whats the benefits of eating gluten as opposed to eating regular whole wheat bread? thanks Angie

    • Caitlin June 27, 2011, 11:01 am

      If you’re not gluten sensitive, there’s no benefit 🙂 Just stick with WW!

  • Chelsea June 27, 2011, 11:01 am

    OH I never thought of crushing the cup like that! I feel silly now. I just did my first 5k and mid run I grabbed some water and slurped it down only to get the majority all over my shirt because I was gunning for a PR (didn’t get..).
    I hate literring though even if others do intend to pick it up. I carried my cup all the way to the finish till I found a trash bin haha 🙂

  • Rachel @ Fit Fun and Fabulous June 27, 2011, 11:01 am

    I try to ALWAYS throw my cup into a trash can. I’m not usually gunning for a PR though.

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas June 27, 2011, 11:04 am

    Always thank the volunteers! They are the ones handing out the water and cleaning up the trash!!

  • Orla June 27, 2011, 11:07 am

    I generally do my best to find a bin and have carried a crushed cup 2 miles at a small race in a huge green park as I was moprtified about littering!
    Saying that, in the races that have lots & lots of volunteers I would try to throw my empty cup or bottle gently towards the side of the road. I hate it when I see runners tossing their bottles or cups into hedges or fields where no volunteer is going to get at it or see it. THAT is just rude.
    And I second Caitlin – Always say thanks! without volunteers you may have no water! 🙂

  • hippierunner June 27, 2011, 11:08 am

    Before I toss the cup on the ground (I do this because I wouldn’t want to waste time/energy looking for a trashcan), I make sure to toss out any water left in the cup so that someone doesn’t step on it and get water into their socks. Everyone should do that!

  • Stefanie-Anne June 27, 2011, 11:08 am

    Hmm… seems to me your next post should be Racing for Beginners :O)

  • E June 27, 2011, 11:09 am

    Definitely important to throw cups into the trash can whenever possible…not just to help out volunteers but for safety reasons. At my last race the cups were beginning to pile up on the ground and it got a bit slippery from the water…a girl in front of me ended up tripping and falling because of all the cups!

    • Lindsay June 27, 2011, 11:20 am

      Yes – this is what I was going to say…when there are tons of cups on the ground, it can be dangerous for the runners, so if there is a trash can near by, throwing it in the trash is best. Otherwise, be sure to toss it to the side of the course.

  • Keri June 27, 2011, 11:11 am

    I know everyone else always throws their empty cups down, but I still feel guilty every time I do it–especially when the course is on a pretty trail! Usually, I try to hang on to the cup until I see a trash can to toss it in. Maybe if enough of us start doing it, we can start a keep it clean trend!!

    BTW-your dinner looks amazing and colorful! What kind of corn relish did you buy?

    • Caitlin June 27, 2011, 11:12 am

      From Trader Joe’s – it’s the bomb!

      • Jen @ Light Enough to Travel June 27, 2011, 5:20 pm

        I just moved to the US from Canada, and I am now totally in love with TJ’s. It’s an amazing store. Will have to pick up some of this relish!

  • Michelle (The Runner's Plate) June 27, 2011, 11:13 am

    I got a little irked during my last marathon because someone came to a dead stop right in front of me while he took water at an aid station. I, of course, ran right into him. Thanks for reminding people of proper etiquette!

  • Beth @ 990 Square June 27, 2011, 11:18 am

    Race Etiquette is such a tough thing. I ran two 5ks this weekend, and at the first one someone literally shoved me and I almost fell over at the water stop. Yes I looked behind me first, and he wasn’t there!

  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good June 27, 2011, 11:23 am

    Like you said, I watch for others behind/around me before I slow down/move over/stop. I will toss the cup in the trash if I’m near enough, otherwise I watch for other runners before I toss it to the ground. And I always say thank you, or no thank you if I don’t need it. Race volunteers are awesome!!

  • Lindsey June 27, 2011, 11:30 am

    Love the facts on purple potatoes! I just bought (and read) Color Me Vegan and it is all about that type of stuff and has really yummy recipes!

  • Christine June 27, 2011, 11:32 am

    I agree- I usually throw mine in the trash, though, especially if the trash cans are staggered out a few yards after the station. And always say thanks and at least attempt a smile. When (eventually) I’m pregnant I plan on spending a few races volunteering so that I give back to all the system.

  • LizAshlee June 27, 2011, 11:42 am

    I love having my camelbak so I don’t have to stop at the water station…it gets me outta my running groove!

    Tasty looking dinner and what a busy weekend!

    Have a fantastic day!

  • Laurel (Runaway Laurel) June 27, 2011, 12:05 pm

    I totally agree with your tips on water stations.. but reading these comments I’m wondering if I should get a Camelbak. Those cute fuel belts everyone wears NEVER work on me, but a Camelbak might.

  • manda June 27, 2011, 12:11 pm

    i volunteered at a water station for a large marathon last fall. it was actually much easier to clean up the cups that were NOT crushed. we could stack them so much faster then picking up individually crushed cups. also, this particular race had huge bins right after the station, so i would encourage anyone that doesn’t mind the extra second to just wait for a bin if you’re in a larger race.

    • CaitlinHTP June 27, 2011, 12:11 pm

      AWESOME Tip! I will remember not to crush 🙂

  • Sarah @ Sarah's Cooking June 27, 2011, 12:16 pm

    I, too, always toss my empty cup on the ground during races. I just make sure that the cup doesn’t have any more liquid in it and that I won’t hit anyone when I throw it to the side. Good tip about not crushing cups!

  • Amber K June 27, 2011, 12:20 pm

    Those purple potatoes look delicious. I’ve had purple cauliflower before, but never purple potatoes. Must find and try!

  • Michelle June 27, 2011, 12:27 pm

    I think it’s fine to throw your cup on the ground if there is not a bin nearby, but I must admit, the people who throw the cups on the ground when there are bins merely feet away from them irk me. The volunteers are doing a great thing by manning the stations for us, why not try and show a little consideration if possible? Also, as someone above noted, cups can be really slippery for other runners. Especially if it’s the end of the race an water has been dumped on top of them.

  • Kris @ tryingtotri June 27, 2011, 12:42 pm

    I always try to look for a bin for my cup, if there isn’t one then I will toss it on the ground, but only right close to the station where I know it will be picked up. As for GU packets – never. I will carry those things for miles to find a trash can, I won’t even toss them on the ground at aid stations where I know they will be cleaned up!

    I also always carry my own fluid with me, I drink a LOT when I run!

  • Yolie @ Practising Wellness June 27, 2011, 12:55 pm

    purple potates? so beautiful! that dinner was standout, you’re totally right! 🙂 xyx

  • Evan Thomas June 27, 2011, 12:58 pm

    I had no idea about the pinching. Thanks for the tip!

  • Rachel June 27, 2011, 1:24 pm

    I recommend wearing a water belt for most races. While cups in the trash are better than cups on the ground, either way those cups are horrible for the environment. My water belt has been fine for 5 and 10ks, but I did take the handed-out gatorade during my half marathon. I recommend looking into a water belt or camelback, which is handy for training runs and hikes, not just races.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey June 27, 2011, 1:27 pm

    Great post! I, like many others, just throw the cup on the ground. I don’t want to try to weave in and out of people!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) June 27, 2011, 1:32 pm

    I love this topic because I feel very strongly about it 🙂 Nothing pisses me off more during a race than people that come to a complete stop in the middle of the road! I kind of expect it during a water station, so I only grab a cup of waterif there is no one behind me and I can slow to a jog and grab a cup. I drink it while jogging on the side and toss the cup only when it’s safe to do so, but at my last race I managed to lift the lid of a trash can and toss my cup while still running. Skills 🙂

  • The Teenage Taste June 27, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Great post! I think it is very important for people to read up on race etiquette before signing up for races! There is nothing that bothers me more than people who swerve in front of me when I try to pass them and spit without checking behind them.

  • Johanna B June 27, 2011, 1:47 pm

    I will always sing the praises of whoever invented the water station. I couldn’t make it to the finish line without them.

  • Ashley June 27, 2011, 1:53 pm

    I hate people who come to a stop in the middle of the road when I’m racing…drives me nuts. If you want water, move to the side and walk. And be sure to thank the volunteers!

    I think tossing the cup on the ground is acceptable. That’s why aid stations are equipped with rakes!

  • Jess June 27, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Purple potatoes are so much fun!

    And while the idea of throwing my cup on the ground during a race makes me feel bad, as far as I can tell it seems to be pretty standard.

  • kristi (sweet cheeks) June 27, 2011, 2:06 pm

    I want to try purple potatoes so bad!! I have only been able to find the purple-skinned ones, and I got so excited..only to find out that they were white inside. They tricked me!

  • Angela @ Pinching and Packing June 27, 2011, 2:11 pm

    For some reason I can never bring myself to toss the cup on the ground during a race. It just seems like the trash cans are never that hard to get to, and I know someone else is going to have to pick it up!

  • Lisa June 27, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Your dinner looks amazing–and so colorful too! Must try those purple potatoes!

  • Lauren @ Lettuce Eat Cake June 27, 2011, 2:31 pm

    You look gorgeous in that water-drinking pic! Shows off your strong cheekbones. 🙂

  • Jenny June 27, 2011, 2:35 pm

    I will add one thing, as I volunteered yesterday at the Philadelphia Triathlon and was at the water station, if you throw your cup, please avoid the volunteers if there is still liquid in the cup! I basically had to sponge bath at a bar to get all the Gatorade off my legs!

  • K June 27, 2011, 2:37 pm

    Sadly, I always get the water up my nose. Even when I pinch the cup.

  • CH June 27, 2011, 3:07 pm

    My mom and I discovered purple carrots a few years ago — I think they’re even better than regular carrots, although I haven’t seen any at a store in a while….

    I think your tips are perfect! You can never over-emphasize the whole, “don’t stop suddenly at the water station” thing. I HATE having to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting someone who was running up until a second ago!

  • giordin June 27, 2011, 5:34 pm

    I totally think that its really NOT the best idea to throw cups on the ground…look for a trash can or bin of some sort…most races have them and it’s really not out of the way to hang on to your cup until you get there. It’s not gonna slow you down THAT much. The volunteers don’t always run onto the course to clear up the trash, so if someone decides to throw their cup in the middle of the road, someone else could very well trip over it or lose their footing because of a cup you’ve thrown down (personal experience!) If you can’t find a bin, toss your cup where no one is running!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin June 27, 2011, 9:07 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I’ll keep these in mind for my first race. 😀

  • Laura @ Cookies vs. Carrots June 27, 2011, 10:49 pm

    Good post! I’ll keep the funnel tip in mind.

  • Amanda June 28, 2011, 4:05 am

    I like the tips! I can’t tell you how many times people have just slowed to a walk in front of me and I’ve almost run them over! I usually have an issue with people at water stations not noticing me….. like at all. Thats why I carry my own : D

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