"WHAWHAWHAAT?!," you say. "How can that be, when the second I bring up anything sports-related, a triathlete chimes in with details about their training schedule, watts-per-something-or-other, favorite chamois cream application methods and details of their gastrointestinal regularity?"
It's true. While we triathletes are sick of certain questions, we just can't stop pushing our triathlon knowledge on anyone within earshot.
Unfortunately, I can't help you avoid the unwelcome details of your triathlete co-worker's undercarriage, but I can give you insight into the questions we're tired of being asked. After all, at least one of us should try to be respectful of what the other doesn't want to hear, and we sure don't intend to stop talking about uncomfortable topics any time soon.
What order do the sports go in?1 of 9
This question is typically followed by a joke as classic as your Uncle Lou's favorite knee-slapper he's been telling since you were five. For example, "They should put the swim at the end for a real challenge! Ha. Ha. Ha."
First off, a triathlon is a swim, a bike and then a run—in that order. Write it down and memorize it, please. Secondly, over the years enough normals have suggested ending triathlons with a swim to sell a new nationwide bike-run-swim triathlon race series. Sure, it sounds great. Traditional triathletes will organize that new race series with proceeds going to support the families of drowned bike-run-swim athletes.
What happens if you need to go to the bathroom while you're wearing a wetsuit?2 of 9
I'll answer this question with a factual story from my life. I once listed a triathlon wetsuit for sale on Craigslist that I'd been using for several years. I listed it with the following description: Wetsuit is in pristine condition, and has only been peed in during emergencies. An example of an emergency in this situation could be something along the lines of, "Oh, my God! I have to pee and I'm wearing a wetsuit!"
The wetsuit sold in three days for full price.
Why would you want to exercise for that long?3 of 9
Why do normals want to binge watch Stranger Things all weekend? Or spend all day knitting a quilt? Or spend months growing a garden that can easily be replaced with one trip to the local farmer's market? All of that seems crazy to us, unless there was some sort of Strava segment associated with those activities, in which case we'd probably give them a try.
You know they created boats, planes and cars so people don't have to do triathlons, right?4 of 9
Another good joke, Uncle Lou. *rolls eyes*
You actually eat when you're doing a race?!5 of 9
We realize that our dresser drawers full of spandex, our utility belts full of fitness gadgets and our bulging Speedo-clad physiques might make us look like superheroes, but we're still human. We have to eat, sleep and go to the bathroom just like regular folks. We just do it faster and in a far more awesome way.
Why would you ever willingly wake up that early?6 of 9
The simple answer is, "To feel alive!"
The long answer involves many detailed training schedules, and the fact that we're attempting to be at least average at three difficult sports.
I could never do a triathlon!7 of 9
While not a question, this statement is often presented as one. The fact of the matter is, yes you could—and probably quite easily. I once saw a young, underprivileged person who had lost both legs and an arm compete in the IRONMAN World Championship, and do it with a smile. When you say that you could never do a triathlon, what we hear is, "I'm scared, and I lack the motivation to try anything difficult."
Have you done that race in Hawaii?8 of 9
The list of questions triathletes are tired of hearing would not be complete without including Kona. The IRONMAN World Championship held in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, is the bane of—but also the reason for—every triathlete's existence. The event is an inspiring, lustful, magical goal of every triathlete, whether they'll admit it or not. Unfortunately, however, the race is also like a unicorn: much sought after, but rarely caught. Out of the hundreds of thousands of multisport athletes who try to qualify for the IRONMAN World Championship each year, only about 1,500 actually get a spot.
So, remember: When you're asking a triathlete if they've been to "that race in Hawaii," you're pretty much doing the equivalent of driving shish kebob skewers under their fingernails.