Yep. I'm going there. Sorry mom. Maybe skip this one?
You've heard those comments?
'Your pace or mine?'
'It's funner with a runner'
So yeah... Truth time people. What's it really like to date an endurance athlete? Let me first say, I asked permission before writing this post. Also, let me clarify, by 'endurance' athlete, I mean the kind of athlete that NEVER turns down another run (unless it's taper time), the kind of athlete that has goals bigger than the buffet table and belief and discipline that put my very Dutch Grandmother to shame. The kind of athlete some day I dream to be.
In the meantime....
You know you're dating an endurance athlete when:
- Your shoe collection is no match for his. And you can bet every pair has a log in some excel spreadsheet (#TheSpreadSheet) for the number of miles on each, which pair brought the best PR time, what pair is best suited for what terrain, what temperature, and what pair matches the exact run outfit in the Running Walk In Closet (#TheCloset)
- Your pantry has six different kinds of protein powder in designated cans. Each meant for a different kind of run (you can bet these are backed up in #TheSpreadSheet with data proving validity) Each has a flavour of Chocolate (because ps everything is Chocolate). Also there's a back up can of each in the cold room for emergencies, like when random friends need pacing for 100 miles, or girlfriends say let go on an adventure, or a zombie apocalypse where ultra running is clearly your only chance in hell of survival.
- The same pantry, different shelf, has multiple jars of seeds and powders. Chia, Hemp, Macca, Sunflower, Peptias (oh wait those are mine)... All meant for increasing power and strength. All of which have the added side effect of increasing metabolism and uhhhh digestion. This provides a space for a "while we are running" clause in the dating arrangement where either or both parties are permitted apology free farting rights.
- Hidden away where guests are not likely to easily find, is an equally astonishing stash of chocolate M&M's, dark chocolate, dill pickle chips, and cookies. This stash never truly seems to dissipate. It's almost like a reminder of a piece of life left behind in the choosing of the new path. Like all the size too big pants and shirts yet to be relinquished. "Health" doesn't mean not enjoying life. It means understanding that you can really throw a zombie off course with a forceful peanut M&M to the head while you run away in your Brooks Cascades that only have 368km on them. Ohhhh and don't help yourself to this stash. It creates worried glances through curtains and impromptu supply shopping trips. The Bulk Barn super saver card is hotter than your visa at christmas.
- #TheCloset isn't for Harry Potter. It's Stocked. It's ready. The GPS watch is always charged. The headlamp always has fresh batteries. He may not know where the heck that one screw driver is, but there's a fully stocked running bucket at the ready for the 3am call from a friend that needs to practice night running. The drop bags have embroidered name tags for that favourite race. There's a second (and likely third and fourth) #TheSpreadSheet for how to crew hour by hour in the next 24 hour race. The vitamin bottles are labelled "Turn around #1" "Turn around #2" The water bottles are lined up in the cupboard in order of preference, possibly colour coded, likely matching the shoes and compression socks and favourite race finish shirt. Finish times come and go, but hell that finish photo will be thrown around online for years!
- There's socks. OMG there's socks. This is the only dating relationship I've ever been in when it's completely normal to go out shopping in purple and pink compression socks and shorts, smiling the entire time. Where my tan lines are 'normal' and matching his.
- What's your idea of a dinner date? When he mixes the recovery shake for you and shares the kitchen floor to guzzle it down while you sit in your underoo's having stripped off all the sweaty run clothes the moment you reentered the house. We shared a kiss this morning, both of us shaking our blender bottles off to the side, hoping the other might not notice, or be offended. Yep, match made on pluto I'd say. Who else can you kiss without a second thought to the chia seeds likely stuck between your teeth? Who else can you tangle your blender ball whisk with in the sink?
- This brings us to bed. What's an endurance athlete do when first laying down? Think again... It's a well coordinated maneuver of who's knee will face which way to avoid bumping in the dark while stretching. Yep. I'm that sexy. Pardon me while I spend ten minutes self pretzeling away my chance of DOMS. Oops sorry, was that your hip? Could you just poke your elbow there in my IT band? Awwww much better thanks. Where were we? Oh and ps... yes the neighbours hate us.
This endurance athlete business is a routine all it's own. What do you do in your spare time? What spare time? Got two hours to run before or after work? Perfect, don't mind me showing up ten minutes late. Quick kiss me good bye before you scoot off for your run. "See you in an hour love... " translation: If an hour goes by and you don't see me, I'm in love with the movement of the ground under my feet, the run took me hostage, I'll be back, I promise. It's the only love affair either of us will accept outside of the other. It's the one we aren't afraid to share and protect for the other. It's a #RunStreak thing. It's a #ThisIsMe thing. It's an acceptance thing. It's a forever thing. Like a long run... It's a perfect thing. It's a forgive my snot rocket thing, can I borrow your hand sanitizer thing, a can I have a suck off your hydration pack hose thing, a 'your pace or mine' thing, a share the world together thing.
Yep he's #ThatGuy. And I'm the lucky one, dating the endurance athlete... Truth be told!