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Out There: I’ve Got Answers!

Susan Lacke opens up the Out There mailbag.

Susan Lacke opens up the Out There mailbag.

Last Thursday, my coach had a series of hill repeats planned for my workout. I got all revved up and confidently told him I was going to flatten those hills. On my third repeat, I stepped in a hole and went down with a gigantic THUD.

Yes, I flattened those hills, all right. With my face. My nose still sports at least three different colors. If anyone asks, I got in a bar fight with a chupacabra. I won, of course, with a perfectly executed round-house kick.

On that note, let’s open up the “Out There” mailbag and see what reader questions you have today:

What’s with your new, professional Twitter photo? Bring back the mustache photos!

Pretty snazzy, right? My handlers would like you to know that I am more than just an asshole humor columnist. I’m a professional asshole humor columnist. Don’t worry. There is a gigantic archive of photos wherein I am making an ass of myself, and one or two are bound to surface on occasion.

Speaking of pictures: What’s the secret to taking good race photos?

I believe race photographers have a contest for ugly race photos. Every Christmas, at the race-photog party, people are awarded prizes for their achievements in various categories, including “Most Chins,” “Muffin Top,” “Slow, Steady Death Shuffle,” “T-Rex,” “Pain Cave,” and “She Looked Like That?

My suggestion would be that you not worry about taking a good picture during the race. Focus on running. Take a nice photo afterward, while celebrating your PR with a shiny new medal.

Do you have any good multivitamin recommendations for endurance athletes?

PEOPLE…I know I’m passable at sounding like a learned woman, but I’m not a medical doctor. Since nutritional needs differ from one person to the next (gender, age, pre-existing conditions, and level of activity all come in to play), it’s so important that you check in with your doctor at least once a year to ask these sorts of questions.

I will say one thing I’ve learned, however: multivitamins are a good boost to an endurance athlete, but they’re no substitute for good eatin’. The same goes for those vitamin-infused waters or “healthy” energy drinks. Nothing rectifies a poor diet…except for, you know, eating a not-so-poor diet.

Now eat your broccoli or I’m telling your mommy.

You are on pace to barely break your Ironman PR time and a runner is on all fours just ahead. Do you stop and help with your water or pass by?

I’m a believer in karma. Ignoring a fellow athlete who needed help would not appease the Endurance Gods. At the very least, I’d offer up my water and run ahead to alert a course official of the situation. But if there was a more severe issue, I wouldn’t have a second thought about helping. There will always be another race, and I’ll cash in my good running karma then for a PR.

Do you wear underwear when you run?

I live in the 115-degree heat of Arizona, so I try to wear as few clothes as possible when I run. This may be why friends fear when I post new photos on Facebook. My bare behind has appeared in their News Feeds more than once.

But when I wear actual shorts, no, I don’t wear underwear. That’s what the liner in running shorts is for, duh.

I have trouble sleeping the night before a race. Any tips?

The same thing happens to me. No matter how many races I’ve done or how confident I’m feeling, the night before the race is typically a restless one. My partner, Neil, is the opposite…he is the epitome of Zen. So while he’s dreaming peacefully, I’m tossing and turning (and sometimes, thinking about smothering his smug sleepy face with my pillow).

The good news, however, is that all is not lost for the restless. As it turns out, the night before that – so Thursday night, if your race is on Saturday – is the one that really counts.*

*Do as I say, not as I do. At 11:50 tonight, I’ll be boarding the red-eye to Washington, DC to run at Rock ‘n’ Roll USA on Saturday. If you see me walking groggily around the expo tomorrow, say hi – and hand me a cup of coffee.

See you Out There!


About The Author:

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. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke