Have you ever noticed the things you can only talk about to another athlete?
This came to mind the other day when I met the dad of one of my son's friends at a basketball game. He and I see each other at boyscouts and say "Hi" at drop off. I can't really say that we are "friends" but I knew he was a runner and we'd discussed some local races. In fact, I'd suggested that I was going to run a race that he was racing that very day [but somehow my plans changed and I didn't make it]. After chastising me for not making that day's Tougher Ten Miler . . . our talk quickly turned to running in the cold weather. The conversation started like this. . .
Steve: "Don't you hate it when you get all these layers on and then 10 minutes later you want to strip them all off again?" [Short answer Yes]
Paula: "Completely, then I find myself trying to find places to stuff them"
This lead to a discussion of the most interesting things we've stuffed in the most interesting places on our runs. . . from gloves stuffed in the waistband of your tights. . . to hats dropped off on the side of the road in the hopes they would be there on the return lap. . . to chapstick conveniently placed in the, ehm, interior section of your sports bra. . .
From there our conversation turned to another subject. . . The need to GO. Have you ever noticed how athletes have no compunction whatsoever discussing completely inappropriate physical needs with other runner? Our discussion ranged from the local public bathrooms. . . most not open during the winter months and not particularly unscary when they are open. . . to the best stores for sneaking and and using the loo.
"If the CVS has a Minute Clinic, it will have a restroom. . . You've spend enough money at McDonalds over your lifetime. . . go ahead, use the bathroom."
How bad do you really have to have to go before you actually will use a bush, tree, or side of the road. . .
"Given that the last time I used the side of the trail in the Marin Headlands I ended up with a case of cellulitis on my derriere. . . the answer to that question is pretty darned bad. . . Although one of my dear, dear Ironteam friends blew my mind when she pulled her bike over to the side of the road and dropped her bike shorts without even hiding behind a bush. The port-a-potty out at the Nicasio ball field is another classic example and speaking of biking, I've yet to figure out how the pros (and people who think they are pros) can figure out how to go while they are on their bikes-- not saying I haven't tried. Just that I can't figure it out."
Amongst IronFolk, apparently no topic is taboo. . .
"Sure I can ride 112 miles in nothing but a tri-short with a minimal chamois, I've got an Iron who-ha. . . Hey, can someone please come over here and help me pull this sportsbra over my dripping wet body. . . How do you apply your chamois butter. . . "
There is just something run training though. Sure swimmers can talk ABOUT swimming, but can they talk WHILE swimming? Not easily. Bikers can talk ABOUT biking, and can talk DURING biking but its dangerous and reqires yelling.
Running on the other hand? We can hear not only the person running next to us, but the people running around us. How many times during TNT training or during a race have you heard someone discussing some topic and either a) chuckled to yourself and obsessed about it as you ran on by or b) felt the need to comment on the conversation? During my last race-- day 1 of the Chowder Challenge's 1/2 marathon, I ran by 3 women discussing the pleasure of breastfeeding while training. Since I'm so glad to be removed from those days, I, of course, had to jump right in on the conversation. It lead to a (at the time) hilarious discussion. . . and, I must say, kept the men moving right on by us. I couldn't tell you any of these women's names, but I could tell you her breastfeeding secrets.
Maybe it has to do with the general insanity of what we do as athletes. . . miles upon miles in the early morning, freezing cold; 3 am wake up calls for 6 am races; trying to get into races that sell out in less than a minute; riding bike intervals on our stand trainers in front of the TV during the morning so we can spend the evening in front of the TV on a big foam roller; day in and day out but there is something that bonds your training "acquaintances" together. . . even if you may only see them during training. . .
Here's the question? I'd love to see comments on the strangest conversation you've had while running or the strangest place you've stashed something on the run.
AND its never to late to help me raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Without my TNT friends and family, I would never have gotten as far as I have. Without the money that we raise, so many would not be doing as well as they are.
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