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Photo credit: Tim Miller.

How to deal with those akward running questions at Christmas

09-Dec-17

Last updated: 29-Aug-18

By Seth Grotzke

The holiday season is upon us, and for ultra runners this can provide some unique challenges. The endless supply of desserts and obligatory family lounging are not the issue, it is rather those niggling questions that will inevitably arise.

There you are innocently sipping your preferred electrolyte drink at the family Christmas party when some distant relative corners you. 

“So you run, right?”

Trapped. Your fight or flight instincts are already on high alert, it is your family after all, but you have nowhere to go. Your options are limited. You could try last year’s ploy of faking a choking fit, but your ribs instantly react to the memory of Uncle Farrell’s heimlich attempt. Or, you could act like you didn’t hear your beloved family member and wander off looking for a whey shake refill.

Well, in my effort to save you from some unnecessary bruising or an awful tasting drink, I would like to provide you with a few sample answers for those awkward questions coming your way this Yuletide.

Feel free to write these prepared answers on your hand, sew them into your reindeer sweater, or pin them on your running vest for handy reference during the family photo time. 

Q: So you run, right?
A: Yes.

Q: I have a coworker who runs those 5km races a lot. Are those the type of races you run?
A: No.

Q: How far do you like to run?
A. Far.

Q: Have you ever run a marathon?
A: Yes, but I try to stay away from them. All the shiny shoes, costumes, and baby strollers make me skittish. 

Q: Have you heard about those races where people run through the night? Crazy, huh?!
A: I’ll take that as a compliment. 

Q: What’s the longest distance you have run?
A: Far. 

Q: How do you find the time to train for those races? Don’t you have a real job?
A: No. I only work on the weekdays.

Q: Isn’t it tiring running that many miles?
A: Yes. Yes, it is. 

Q: Do you have all your toenails?
A: I generally am happier if I don’t. It means I have actually been running enough. 

Q: Why would you ever want to cause that much pain to yourself?
A: I hear voices in my head. 

If these simple responses don’t shake them, I always keep one little trick up my sleeve… “How about we set up a time for us to go running together!”

Works every time. Ho Ho Ho!

You can follow Seth on Twitter.

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