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Out There: I’m Really Not An Athlete

Meet Susan Lacke, Competitor Magazine's newest columnist. As you'll soon come to see, she's a little Out There!

Pizza and beer.
The author enjoys a post-race beer…or three. Sometimes seven.

Meet Susan Lacke, Competitor Magazine’s newest columnist. As you’ll soon come to see, she’s a little Out There!

Written by: Susan Lacke provides you with a list of amazing blogs featuring advice from very knowledgeable folks:

Ryan Hall.

Deena Kastor.

Kara Goucher.

And yet, when you saw those names, you still clicked on…Susan Lacke? Umm, what?!?

No, really. What the <bleep> were you thinking?

In the interest of full disclosure: I’m not really an athlete.

Two years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to run a 5K without stopping. Once I accomplished that goal, I deluded myself into thinking I could do more. A lot more. Like Ironman more.

Obviously, someone should have suggested I get my head checked.

I managed to finish Ironman Wisconsin in 14 hours and change. I was happy with that, given that my main goal was to not die. Ironmans are fun…you basically just swim, bike, and run from one free food table to the next and people give you cookies! I’d pretty much do anything for free cookies. I liked it so much, I signed up for another (Arizona) in 2011!

But I swear: I’m not really an athlete.

Athletes run fast, and without tripping over flat surfaces. They’re focused and run long routes to build endurance, not because it takes them past the bakery to see the cupcake of the day. They ride their bikes without making the mistake of going 45 minutes before realizing they’re wearing a helmet. On their stationary bike trainer. Indoors.

I mean it: I’m not really an athlete.

I prefer wearing a costume and fake mustache in a 5K fun run to trying to PR in a marathon. I once finished a half marathon carrying a pink plastic flamingo given to me by a stranger at Mile 10. I believe every race should be fueled by ungodly amounts of coffee and rewarded with a beer…or three. Sometimes seven.

This is all supposed be fun, people. If you really think about it, endurance sports are pretty funny. We’re a bunch of idiots in lycra running without a serial killer, zombie, or dangerous animal chasing us…which are truly the only reasons anyone SHOULD run. Yet every day, we lace up the shoes, pound the pavement and call it a good time.

We forego solid foods in favor of little pouches of gel, walk like Frankenstein the day after a hard run, find creative places to get away with public urination during training and races, and try to convince ourselves that compression socks are, in fact, the height of fashion. It’s awesome! If you haven’t found one thing that’s funny about your training, you need to turn off the iPod, quit looking at your heart rate monitor, and really pay attention to what’s going on when you’re training and racing.

This must be a mistake: I’m not really an athlete.

Competitor has rounded up a hefty list of expert athletes with impressive amounts of knowledge. I am not one of those people. Yet they still gave me a weekly blog on their website and a monthly column in their magazine.

What a bunch of freakin’ schmucks.

If you’re still reading this, you’re probably not looking for expert advice anymore. I’m on board at Competitor for one reason, and one reason only: I make an ass of myself on a regular basis, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Since taking up running and triathlon two years ago, I’ve become the Court Jester of endurance sports, and I’m more than okay with that. If I can make you laugh and keep your training in perspective, I’ll have done my job.

I can promise you’ll never see me breaking the finish tape at a marathon (I’ll let Ryan, Kara, and Deena battle it out for that task), but you will eventually see me crossing the finish line. You’ll be able to tell which one I am. I’ll have skinned knees, a big dumb grin on my face…and sometimes, a pink plastic flamingo.

See you Out There!


Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Look for her first print column in the March issue of Competitor, and follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke.