Saturday, August 20, 2011


I went for a run this morning with the goal of traveling 8 miles via sneaker. I decided to run along the Bethpage Bike trail, a venue I haven't run at in a while since I haven't really been running much at all. This trail is a paved mini 2 lane trail that is about 6.5 miles from end to end. I stashed a water bottle at the 2 mile point, drove to the 0 mile and figured I would go back and forth and back and forth to get the 8.

While I can walk effectively without pain (and typically walk about a 17:00min/mile pace), every mile I can jog in the Ironman will save me about 5 minutes. I know that I will be walking a great deal of that marathon but even 12 miles of jogging will buy me an hour. This might be significant.

I decided to try jog 3 minutes/walk 2. I started with this just focusing on the clock not looking at pace on the Garmin. I was doing well but the trail was crowded with runners, many who I know but since I haven't really been running, who I haven't seen in a while.

While "socializing" with many of the long time runners, I thought of this site as the home for the running faction of endurance athletes. Some athletes are able to be in multiple factions (I'm one) but this multifaction group is small. The runners accepted me since I have, in the distant past, been able to run. The noobs to the running crew looked at me oddly, not knowing if I belonged since I was, ahem, slow, but followed the lead of the old school folks who knew and welcomed me. This got me thinking.

If I triathlete shows up in cyclistland with aerobars, they are immediately identified as "one of those." Conversely if a athlete shows up to a triathlon centric group ride without areobars on their bike, they are initially viewed as a noob or "cyclist" type. You need to know which faction you are training with.

Why does knowing factions matter? When someone you haven't seen in a while sees you training, one of the first questions they ask is "what are you training for?" There are many ways for me to answer at this time without showing the wrong endurance athlete DNA. If it is a runner, I'll say "The Hampton's Half" and they'll nod their head or respond with their agenda. If a cyclist, I'll say "Tour of the Hamptons" or "Golden Apple Century" - both acceptable answers. To a triathlete, I'll say IMFL.

If you answer cross faction, you've already identified that you are "different." Not as different as proudly wearing a Red Sox shirt in New York or a Mets hat in Philadelphia, but different none the less.

I did my 3/2 for a little over 6 miles and rather than risk it, walked the rest in. I was happy I got my sneaker time done and tomorrow I have a brick of a 5.5 hour ride at ironpace followed by a 4 mile TT run that I may try 4/1 instead of 3/2. I'm going to do this at Heckscher Park which is typically a triathlete faction venue. I need to remember that if any faction specific queries are raised.

Do you ever inadvertantly cross faction?


Unknown said...

I totally get what you mean. I have two groups that I'm comfortable with: tri folks and runners. Never with cyclists though; I'm an outcast with them

Unknown said...

I am pickin' up what you are puttin' down.

The runners are usually cool because they all seem to just think us triathletes are little "off" and usually like to ask questions. Roadies, on the other hand, just don't get us.

I intentionally like to stir this fraction pot every now and again ...

About 2 months ago I dropped in on a new sunday ride group out of the LTF 15mins from my house. About 20 riders there and I was one of three on a Tri bike.

I knew a couple of the guys from other groups but one of the guys I didn't know made a comment about staying off the bars. The way he said it put me in a surely mood as it was clear he viewed himself as the Alpha of this group.

Needless to say I put a hurting on him that day and it was all his fault. At one particular straight-a-way I decided to hammer as hard as I could and see who would take the bait. Mr Talker did and he hung on for a couple of minutes. I could hear him huffing and puffing behind.

Must have been fun for him to fall back to the group alone. i stayed on the hoods the entire time too!

Kate Geisen said...

This is really interesting. I'm new enough to endurance sports that I don't pick up on a lot of the differences yet. Definitely a cross-faction person if I wasn't standing outside of all the circles. :)

Aka Alice said...

I really only "train" with runners...and I ride my bike, but more as a recreational thing. I don't get be honest, they sorta scare me and I'm intimidated by them (and really...I don't intimidate easily).

BTW...there is NO real reason for this. The guys at the bike shop are completely reasonable people.

So...what's the deal with the tri bars? Why use them? ( a runner, I'm completely comfortable asking tri-peeps questions, but I'd never ask a cyclist)

Carolina John said...

I say screw them all! I run tri's and anyone who doesn't like it can try and draft off my wheel (I won't be on theirs) if they can keep up.

JAllgood said...

I totally get this! I consider myself a cyclist that has ventured into the tri area. I remember my fellow cyclists looking at me like I had three heads when I told them I was training for a tri two years ago.

Now I'm currently not training for anything in particular but find I enjoy all three sports when I can. Now I just stir up the faction pot on purpose. Shock'em and have fun watching the reactions!

Unknown said...

Most of my friends/training partners are either triathletes or runners. I mostly talk just running with the runners, though they know quite well I do tris.