Monday, June 12, 2017 3:19 PM

Are you an endurance athlete?

It seems like in the last few years here in the Central Valley, there has been an explosion of 5k runs, 10k runs, half marathons/full marathons, trail runs, mud runs, Spartan races, triathlons, bicycle races and/or organized bicycle rides, i.e. metric centuries, centuries, double centuries, etc., etc… on the calendar. 

When you think about it, our geographic area is PERFECT for endurance sports. For the most part, the weather here is good enough to train year-round outdoors, and with the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in our backyard coupled with the rolling foothills just minutes away from city limits, the topography lends itself to be an impeccable endurance sports playground as well!

With such a plethora of endurance sports events to choose from, it's not too hard for the ‘Average Joe’ to stick their toe in and test the waters with minimal training time and commitment. Maybe that is you or someone close to you? Maybe you have completed a couple of 5k runs or have completed a charity bike ride and are aspiring to go longer distances? Maybe you find yourself at work more and more often staring out the window in wide-eyed wonder, wishing you were outside running or riding. Maybe you are wondering at what point you can actually think of yourself as a full-fledged member of the local endurance sports community, or maybe one of your loved ones is currently in the throes of this sort of metamorphosis and you are concerned about them. I am here to help answer all of your questions, my friend!

You know you are an endurance athlete when…

  • You sport Neapolitan tan lines. If you are the OCD type, you can often be seen making sure your socks, shorts and jersey sleeves match up perfectly to your tan lines.
  • When someone asks what your weekend plans are and you answer in miles or meters – as in the distance you plan to cover riding, running or swimming on the two days a week you are not under contract by your current employer.
  • Vacation getaways double as race weekends. The 5-star accommodations at destinations like Castaic, Folsom, Auburn and Keyesville CA are to die for!
  • You regularly take the day off from work after your ‘vacation’ getaway. It is much easier to recover from a race day thrashing from the comfort of your own sofa binge watching Netflix vs. an office cubicle after all.
  • What is on the roof rack of your car is worth more than the car you are driving. (Yes, some bicycle shops offer financing)
  • When a 25-mile bike ride or 6-mile run qualifies as an easy day.
  • There is a cupboard in your kitchen dedicated to water bottles of miscellaneous shapes and sizes.
  • You own several bicycles and each one serves a different purpose.
  • There is a water bottle in the middle console of your car at all times.
  • You have worn compression sleeves while grocery shopping.
  • If you know a ‘brick’ is something other than a construction site building material and ‘RICE’ is not just a form of carbohydrate.
  • You have worn compression sleeves under your work clothes.
  • You know nothing about NASCAR, but you still know what drafting is.
  • You have slept all night in compression sleeves.
  • At least half the shoes in your closet are running shoes and you purchase a new pair every fiscal quarter.
  • You know what Body Glide and Tri-slide are for.
  • If you have gone to work on a Monday with either a slowly fading race number on your upper arm or age written on the back of your calf showing like a badge of courage.
  • If you have ever been happy to see a porta-potty!
  • You have taken an ice bath.
  • The races you choose to enter are determined by the amount of free swag you will score at the race expo.
  • You stink at math, but you can estimate your finish time ¾ of the way through a race based off of current pace.  If you channel your inner Rain Man, you can even figure out how much you need to increase your current pace to set a new personal record  on the fly without using your fingers to calculate.
  • A beach towel regularly doubles for a locker room in the parking lot after a race.
  • If the back seat of your car after a race looks like a grenade went off in your gear bag.
  • The numbers 13.1, 26.2 and/or 70.3, 140.6 have significant meaning to you, and one or more of them may adorn an oval shaped sticker on the back window of your car.
  • When you see a sign on the freeway showing how far an exit is and you think, “I can run that.”
  • You have used the phrase “easy day” in the same sentence as “10k” or “half century."
  • You have a cookie jar in your kitchen that is full of energy bars, gels, waffles and sports beans.
  • Your Garmin doubles as a fashionable everyday timepiece.
  • You are surprised to learn that talking about treatments and remedies for chafing from a wetsuit or saddle sores is not polite dinner conversation.
  • The smell of chlorine is your perfume of choice.
  • You could pick out your favorite brand of gel in a blind taste test, but would gladly eat anything you didn’t have to catch or kill 4 hours into a long training ride anyway.
  • You are obsessed with PRs and Strava KOMs.
  • If you don’t bat an eye when you drop $10-$15 for a pair of socks.
  • You are perfectly comfortable with a heart rate (HR) of 170 for hours at a time.
  • Your dog is named after an Italian bicycle manufacturer.
  • When you catch a runner or cyclist in front of you, your inner monologue quietly whispers, “I am gonna attack until your heart explodes, your lungs are on fire, your legs are ripped from their sockets and you are in the gutter, rocking back and forth in the fetal position sucking your thumb whimpering for your momma” as you look over and give a silent, respectful cool guy nod. \
  • When you are caught from behind on a ride or run your self-talk tries to comfort you by telling you that you are going farther than they are as you “let them go” and they give you the respectful cool guy nod.
  • If half of your laundry looks like something a comic book hero should be wearing.
  • When you Google your name and race results come up.
  • You watch the weather just as closely as a local farmer would.
  • You have drawn the ire of your girlfriend/wife/mother/sister when she walked in on you using her razor to shave your legs, arms or chest.
  • Your rides or training runs start and finish at a local coffee shop.
  • If your doctor freaks out at how low your resting HR or BP is.
  • You know what the importance of lactate threshold, VO2 Max and sustained watts are.
  • You are not afraid to eat carbs.
  • Your bicycle lives in your bedroom and not the garage.
  • You are adept at calculating the decomposition rate of road kill and estimating time of death to within an hour.
  • You weigh yourself before and after a long training run or ride to check hydration levels.
  • You have discussed the color of your pee with a training partner or significant other.
  • Telling a friend, “Let’s hang out” is code for “Let’s go for a run or ride.”
  • You have lost a toenail on more than one occasion or are sporting a black toenail as we speak.
  • The “Pain Cave” or “Hurt Locker” is your happy place. 

Remember, if your loved one heads out for a long run, ride or swim after mentioning LSD, there is no need to circle friends and loved ones and wait in the living room in a somber and concerned manner in anticipation of their return. They simply meant "Long Slow Distance." Trust me on this one. There is no need for an intervention here. 

If you have a relative or loved one, or maybe you yourself are showing any or all of the signs and symptoms identified above, beware there is no cure. This condition is NOT life threatening, but an ongoing course of treatment, including more miles and time in the sun is paramount to maintain a happy, high quality of life for the inflicted!

Tim Clark
Manager Fitness Club
Community Medical Centers Fitness Center