Last year, I had a very unconventional Valentine’s Day. On a meet weekend, my team was stranded in Boston due to a blizzard. I sarcastically tweeted about wanting chocolate covered strawberries. What happened next amazes me to this day. The hotel saw my tweet and delivered chocolate covered strawberries to my door! Seriously, guys, I couldn’t make this up if I tried. If you’re ever in Boston, I highly recommend the Hyatt Cambridge. IT’S WHERE DREAMS COME TRUE. Best Valentine’s Day I had in years.
Since I’ve almost spent every Valentine’s Day at a meet or travelling from a meet has made me wonder what it would be like having a plus one with me. For many years, I have observed track couples and noticed what it would be like mixing competition with pleasure. Without any further ado, here are a few of my pros and cons for dating someone on your team.
· They know the lingo. I know track is not a very popular sport, but I seriously have such little patience for trying to explain the difference in an event and a heat. The both of you know that a split is not a gymnastics move. I can only imagine how enjoyable it would be to hear a mature acknowledgement when you say you had a “fartlek” workout. The term “PR” is not related to communications. A ladder is not an object. A rabbit is not an animal. They get it and they get you.
· They can feel your pain…and your pleasure! Regardless of if you both do different events, you can both understand all the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into your training. You each can bond in the stress that comes with conference and trying to make your qualifying marks. Conversely, you can each tag team stuffing desserts and junk food down your throats once the season is over. When you break a record, your best friend is right there jumping up and screaming for you louder than anyone. It is a great support system always by your side.
· They understand your schedule. They do not get mad when you fall asleep at 10 p.m. and respect the fact you get up at 6:00 am. They do not push you to go out on weekends. They know majority of your time goes to training and competition because so does theirs. Yay!
· They know times, marks, heights, etc. You both know the difference in a 9.99 and 10.00. SECONDS AND INCHES MEAN EVERYTHING TO US. I do not have time to explain to you why going through a 600 in 1:30 in practice is a big deal. If we are dating you should know this, and a track boo would already know this. For the record if you are dating a field athlete my personal opinion for when the relationship is getting serious is when you know both feet AND meters.
· Your allure is shattered. I like people thinking I am pretty. I do not want you seeing me when I am ugly, and sweaty, and heaving for air after running. My personal motto is “you gotta look good to run good”. This pertains to meets only. Practice is the time I spend looking a wreck in order to look lovely at competitions. You are not allowed to see me every day at practice, dripping in sweat with no makeup on. Maybe when we are married.
· You see them EVERYDAY. I may like you and all, but I need my space. No, I do not want to be seeing you all the time every day. In addition, how am I supposed to have a nice conversation about my spectacular (yes all my practices are spectacular because in my boyfriend’s eyes I am perfect) practice if you are right there to see it. Also, just imagine when you two break up.
· Ego. Yes, it is nice to cheer each other on, but things can definitely start to get awkward when one person is doing a lot better than the other is. Competition never ceases between people. We cannot all be Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton. Even with them, one person has a world record and the other does not.
· Everyone knows your business. If we’re fighting, the team knows. If we’re happy, the team knows. The coach knows, you know, I know, the equipment manager knows, there are NO SERCRETS OR PRIVACY. No one wants that.
· Distraction. This goes hand and hand with my first con. If I am busy trying to look good for you (since you are there at practice too) I am not focusing on maximizing my day. No matter how much you try to deny it, you do want to look good in front of your significant other when you’re working out. It’s hard to look good and practice well at the same time.
· Your eyes cannot wander. Here is a not-so-secret secret about track and field athletes. We’re attractive. Go us. I would like to be able to scope out the cuties without feeling guilty or being caught. I mean, this could easily be a personal thing, but I felt it worthy to add to the list of cons.
Clearly, you can see where I stand on the whole relationship and dating a teammate idea. However, don’t let my opinions stop you from going after the love of your life! I’ve noticed, it just never ends well and no one wants to deal with the awkwardness post breakup. I do though have an exception: long distance runners. What is cuter than seeing a couple running along the road together? There is nothing better than having a built in training partner for those 10-mile days that would be miserable to do alone. Look at them literally going the distance. Awwwww