Regular people have no clue what running professionally is.
1. You can make money running?
Yes. You asked me what I did for a living, not for a hobby. It’s tricky. I know. But if I didn’t make money doing this job, I’d have another job to elaborate.
A lot of people play the guitar, but only a very few can make money playing a guitar. It’s quite similar.
2. So. How did you get into that?
This one is a bit harder and would involve a 20 minute Cinderella story of how I went from walk on to National champ and whatnot. I try to avoid this one as it turns into a motivational speech. The whole thing kind of makes me uncomfortable. Who really wants to rattle off accolades? Especially to a stranger who knows nothing of the sport. It just feels a little fake all around.
So here’s what I usually manage to muster up. I hate small talk. Did I mention that?
I turned out to be pretty good at track as a collegiate. I was national champion my senior year of college. Shoe companies approached me to see if I would want to continue to run as a career. I am borderline retarded at business dealings, so I hired an agent to take care of all the negotiations. I signed a contract with Nike, and now Nike gives me everything I need to train while I try to run really fast in their kicks.
3. Are you going to the Olympics?!
This one may be the hardest to answer, as I missed the Olympic bid by an arm’s length.
Yes. The Olympic Trials are held a month or two before the games. Top 3 in the US go. I was an arm’s length away last Olympic cycle.
The sport also exists in those 3 years of no Olympics. My main season is from May to September. I race in the US in May and June, and then really gear up for the European season during July and August. The primo races pay well. There is prize money for every race.
4. What’s your marathon time?
I run the half-mile.
5. What’s your best?
I’m not sure why this is asked. I could fabricate any time and I’d get the same response. This is where the person works on their “look impressed” acting skills. But I’m never quick enough to come up with anything other than the truth, so I say 1.58.22
6. You can break a 4 minute mile then?!
Ummm. No it doesn’t work like that. But I’ll keep working!
7. You train all year?
Pretty much. It is a 24/7 type job. I have some down time, but I am conscious of everything that would affect my body.
8. Do you watch what you eat?
Not like you would think. I make sure I shop on the perimeter of the grocery store. I eat a lot of fruits, veggies, and protein. I don’t count calories.
9. You train here?
I train here in Seattle. I have a training group that meets everyday.
10. You train with people you race against?
This one I actually really like. I could elaborate for days on team dynamics.
Yes. It rocks. Iron sharpens iron. Plus it is way more fun with compadres! And honestly, I wouldn’t talk to many people throughout the day without this organized meeting. Beating each other is not an issue because we care about each other. And in running you can’t stay on top. There are ups and downs, so if you are patient and persistent enough, you’ll have your “up.” Synergy is a powerful tool.
Plus. My success in life is not dictated by a clock.
I wish I had this handout to give to people when they ask what I do for a living.