Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Triathlete Oversharing

If you have a friend who takes up triathlons, you should be very wary of the phenomenon of Triathlete Oversharing.  This is the technical term for what happens when a triathlete loses all sense of personal boundaries and shares too much with people who just never wanted to know.

My colleagues can stop reading now, and tomorrow at work, I will accept your thanks that I have been fairly well-behaved.

When I first heard of triathlon, my biggest fear was how I would change in the field.  I didn't want to be flashing my girlie bits at anyone.  Imagine my immense relief when I discovered tri suits- shorts and a shirt that you wear to swim, bike, and run in so you never change.

There was a time when I was very modest and private and never would have dreamed of discussing my bits and pieces with a near-stranger.

Then my first coach cheerfully gave us a (verbal) lesson on when to pee in your wetsuit, and this was the beginning of my introduction to Triathlete Oversharing.

Over the next few months, I would find myself discussing everything from farting to snot, and finding it to be a fascinating conversation.  At the end of a training session, we'd high-five each other with our triumphant hands sticky from trying different types of Gu.  (Gu is still nasty, by the way.)

In the years that followed, I would have intense discussions with other athletes about the state of our sit bones and how our intestines felt, and more than one person would proudly announce when they ran or biked so hard they yakked.

In times before Triathlon, I would have called those conversations gross and would have promptly changed the subject.

These days, I actually found myself, a few weeks ago, showing another athlete the picture of the giant hematoma I sustained in my last big bike crash (the one that spread from my hip to my knee and looked like the Crab Nebula).  He thought it was the most awesome thing ever.

Triathlete Oversharing.  It is not for sissies.  Friends, I warn you so that you may change the subject promptly.

I thought of all this as I went to the tri club store today, because my old tri shorts, in addition to being ugly and stretched out, had a lousy chamois with this annoying seam that rubs me in a very, very bad place.  I caught myself before I TOTALLY overshared with the shop's co-owner, but the essential points of the location of the sore spots were shared, and there was a point where I bit my tongue before it turned into a conversation about our heinies.  Instead, we agreed the waist band of the shorts was a great selling point.  Way to side-step the real selling point, all of us.  (My heiny won't hurt!)

And for everything I did NOT mention to my colleagues at work today, they should thank me.

In fact, if you are a non-triathlete and your triathlon-doing friend has not yet had a conversation with you that involved their rear end and/or chafing, call them up right now and thank them.

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