Ask a Random Triathlete: Racing Post-Break-Up, and Latex or Butyl?

Just to be clear what you're getting. (Photo: Don Mason/Flickr)

As a random triathlete, I have a lot of opinions. Even about things I don’t know or care about. Yesterday, I got in a fight over whether or not World War II was considered “the second Gold Rush” in California. Do I know anything about this? No. Did I ever even think about this topic before last night? Nope. Did that stop me? Not even a little.

See, now I can bring that kind of depth of insight and passion to your problems. Except about triathlon.

You can read all my amazing advice here. Submit your own questions to be solved in the comments below, by messaging me directly if you want anonymity (which is a real thing, OK), or on this post in the forum.

My girlfriend and I just broke up. It’s been a very emotional, two-year relationship. And I just don’t think I can do the race tomorrow.

This was an actual in real life question asked last weekend. Or, rather, not so much a question as a statement. But there’s an implied question: Am I making lame excuses? Our group was evenly split between ‘Yes, stop whining’ and ‘Fuck it, finish off that ice cream.’ I don’t really know you, but still I feel fully qualified to pass judgment on your relationship and am sure I can accurately capture the emotional scope of the thing. So here goes:

Whether or not you should race post-relationship-drama really comes down to one thing: Are you?

a. Angry
b. Sad
c. Tired
d. Relieved

If b. or c. outweigh more than 50% of your other emotions, then the likelihood of the race ending badly, thus leading to greater emotional wreckage and a downward out-of-control spiral of self-doubt, is too high. Not speaking from experience or anything. 

You want to know what to do? Don’t get into emotional drama pre-race in the first place. Avoid confrontation. Nod and smile. Pent up your anger inside to be let out on race morning. They can’t break up with you if they can’t find you, and I’m sure your relationship will still be unhealthy after the race. This may not solve your problem right now, but it’s solid A+ advice for the next girlfriend. 

Right now, the only thing to do is decide: either say ‘screw it, I’ll show her,’ or commit to sitting on the couch and crying. Don’t half-ass it. Don’t start the race and then use it as an excuse to quit later when things start to hurt. Races always hurt eventually, whether or not your girlfriend broke up with you. It’s not like all those triathletes in healthy relationships don’t feel pain. In fact, they’re probably too soft and complacent anyway. They don’t have anything to prove. So decide. Are you going to be soft? Or are you going to be a triathlete about this, leaving destroyed relationships in your wake?

Latex or Butyl and why?

Look, I’m practically a triathlon genius and I had to Google to figure out what the hell you’re talking about. Latex or butyl? Who cares.

Yes, there are arguments for both. You can literally read all about the benefits of latex v. butyl on this cycling website or this one or this one. You know what I ride? Yeah, I don’t know either. Whatever’s sitting on the fucking shelf in our living room. Because here’s the real answer to your question: Stop Googling “Latex or Butyl” and start training more.

Triathletes spend too much time worrying about shaving 5% off their time by positioning their water bottle differently or wearing a certain type of skinsuit or buying different wheels. You know what determines the other 95% of your race? Training. Maybe you should spend more time on that.

About the Author

Kelly O'Mara
Kelly is a reporter and writer in the San Francisco Bay Area. She quit triathlon for a few years, because triathletes can be annoying, but now she's back into it and only hanging out with the non-annoying triathletes. She blogs about stuff at Sunny Running.