Whether you've just trained for your first 5K or you've finished your hundredth marathon, you've probably been asked some pretty annoying questions by your family and friends. There are aspects of the sport that only runners understand. There are disgusting moments that runners can really only share with each other. Instead of hopelessly trying to convert the questioner to a life of running, sometimes it's best to fire back with an equally annoying (but more fun) answer to the question.
1. Is It True That Runners Pee (or Worse) Themselves?
OK, most adults have probably never lost control during a workout. Runners — especially on the pro circuit — probably have or at least gotten dangerously close to that line. While nonelite runners probably prefer to waste two minutes with a necessary porta-potty stop during a race, elites are chasing time goals that don't coincide with a pit stop. Instead of explaining the science behind the very real, very gross runner's trot phenomenon, tell everyone that all runners do in fact skip the bathroom and that you receive extra points for finishing without soiling yourself.
2. But Why Do You Run So Early?
Runners know that to get a long run done right, you're up before the sun. Sometimes runners run early to beat the heat or they want to get it out of the way to enjoy the remainder of the day. You could waste your time by trying to explain the biothermal processes of the body and the effect that 60 degrees has on you when you hit mile 10. But why not save your breath and explain to your friend — preferably over a carb-laden brunch following said long run — that you burned more than 1,000 calories while most people were sleeping? Not only is it true, it may inspire your buddy to run with you.
3. Isn't Running Bad For Your Knees?
You know what's worse for your knees? Obesity. It's probably not particularly polite to point this out to your well-meaning friend who is only worried about the longevity of your joint health. Instead of ruining a perfectly good friendship, perhaps a simple reminder that running is great for your ass, heart, and mental health will eliminate the need for further discussion of early-onset arthritis.
4. What If You Lose a Toenail?
"I'll frame it alongside the bling-covered medal holder I ordered from Etsy" will suffice. It may even be true. Your friend may have noticed that you haven't had a pedicure since you finished your first half-marathon, but she will never understand that there is something truly heroic about the first toenail you lose because of your long runs. She'll never be able to understand that when you're holding that black toenail in your hand, you feel like perhaps you could actually qualify for the Boston Marathon. That black toenail represents all of the effort and sacrifice you made to just get a little better, faster, and stronger and although it's disgusting, it's better than that finisher's medal you're still wearing from last week's race.
5. You Pay to Do This?
Yes, entry fees can be frustrating and sometimes you may have to limit the number of races that you enter to avoid blowing your budget, but most fees support a local charity. You'll never be able to explain to your friend how expensive races are for smaller communities or causes to organize, and perhaps appealing to their philanthropic side won't matter either. In which case, you have no choice other than to politely respond that entry fees provide you with extra motivation to run and that it's cheaper than the therapy or bail money you would otherwise need.