A simple guide to tell if you are indeed dating one

By Rikki Suarez | Photo by Caleb Ekeroth/Unsplash

You happen to be in the getting-to-know-you-better stage of your relationship with somebody who you suspect is a triathlete. You know how consuming this sport can be, so you want to arm yourself with what’s to come. However, you’re not yet at the level where you can comfortably ask him or her personal questions without coming across nosy or clingy. Do not fret. The following are indicators that can help you decipher whether he or she is into the madness of triathlon.

1. No reply to text messages, Facebook private messages, tagged comments, and/or timeline posts, past 9 pm. However, by the time you wake up early in the morning, a barrage of messages will reassuringly confront you with time stamps only late-night partygoers who chill out until the wee hours of the morning can manage.

2. Conversations often include foreign-sounding names of European or Japanese origin, usually ending in “o,” and referred to as if they were longtime buddies. Hearing the names Cervelo, Shimano, Pinarello, Colnago, and Campagnolo in the same sentence, along with some tongue-twisting terms such as Dura Ace, Ultegra, derailleur, and the like are a common occurrence.

3. Although you’ll hear these female names frequently mentioned in hushed group conversations, Paulina’s and Cristy’s do not refer to their favorite pimps or “mamasangs,” nor are they codenames for some seedy girlie joint or brothel they frequent to relieve pleasures. However, they do serve the same purpose albeit in a more wholesome but similarly pocket-busting way. Neither is Mary the girl next door he has a crush on. She comes either in a half or full distance version.

4. The scent of chlorine he or she exudes should likewise not be confused with the same bodily fluid that Cameron Diaz believed to be hair gel in There’s Something About Mary. It’s just that—chlorine. Impress him or her with your practical thoughtfulness with a gift of anti-chlorine body wash or shampoo. Not only will it give your olfactory nerves a break, but it may help keep your sanity, too.

5. Never expect weekend dates to be spent “malling” or “strolling by the boulevards and parkways.” He or she would rather spend weekends lounging lazily in a cozy restaurant or a theater where he or she can doze off. It’s common for him or her to have a no-walking-during-weekends policy, especially when they have an important race coming up, so you better get used to it.

6. Meet-up and date venues are either in or around the perimeter of BGC, MOA, UP-Diliman Academic Oval, Nuvali, ULTRA, MASA, or the Philippine Army Gym. These are the places they frequently congregate early in the morning or after work. These are also the places that they know like the back of their hand.

7. They have more shoes than you do but all of them have rubber soles and have the “heels” in front instead of the rear. They have long abandoned their leather shoes and have left them to rot away in the deepest darkest corner of their storage room. Unless work requires them to be in a business attire, they would much rather spend the whole day in the comfort of their runners, or even flip-flops, any time.

8. Their vehicles have these contraptions attached either on the roof or behind the trunk for transporting their bikes. In addition, expect that their car doubles as a locker room or garage where they keep their sports apparel and equipment (even a bike!) handy for a quick run, swim, or bike in between life’s obligations.

They would rather spend weekends lounging lazily in a cozy restaurant or a theater where he or she can doze off. It’s common for them to have a no-walking-during-weekends policy, especially when they have an important race coming up, so you better get used to it.

9. Be ready with an air sanitizer, too, if you have a sensitive nose and cannot stand the smell of sweat in a confined and air-conditioned space. Beware that they are immune to the smell of their own sweat.

10. Don’t be so quick to flatter yourself when they invite you for an out-of-town tryst like Cebu during the first week of August, Bataan on the last week of November, Bohol on the first week of December, Sipalay on the third week of March, and CamSur by the second week of June. They are simply integrating you into their “hectic” schedule. This means that he or she thinks you are special enough to merit sharing their most special moments—milestone events they have been spending a fair amount of time, energy, and fortune preparing for.

11. Do not explode in “nothing hath no fury like a woman (or man) scorned” fashion when you hear him or her say he or she wants to ride (insert name of person). Clarify first if this name is associated with a real human being because they are most probably just referring to their most beloved bike. Yes, they are that special to merit a name. Be ready to have this two-wheeled vehicle as your biggest karibal.

12. They have special uses for saliva, toothpaste, and baby shampoo. These, you would discover later as the relationship progresses, are interchangeable. By the way, it’s not as gross as you think.

13. Put in some lube and petroleum jelly into the scenario and I imagine you would likely begin to smirk in disgust. What’s with this uncanny affinity to lubricants, you might ask? However, throwing in copious amounts of sunblock into the mix should put everything in a much more pleasant perspective.

14. They may not know how to commute going to Nuvali, Tagaytay, or Antipolo but they sure know how to get there on a bike or by running. They also know the distance of these places from Metro Manila as well as the topography, from way points and rest stops along the way, to elevation changes and degree of difficulty of the route, either on two wheels or on legs.

15. Do not expect them to remember your phone or house numbers, even your birthday or anniversary dates. However, expect them to know by heart their PRs, cut-off times, and the significance of numbers 5150, 70.3 and 226. The mere mention of these numbers makes their heart skip a beat. Not even your name commands the same reaction! 50-39-30, 53-39, 50-34, and 25-11 gear ratios are more significant statistics than your 36-24-26 waistline.

16. They are also more familiar with acronyms like kph, rpm, bpm, mpk, and have managed to memorize essential figures associated with their athletic performance (as well as their target competitor’s) before they’ve even attempted to memorize their bank account, TIN, and social security numbers. An LSD (long slow distance) once or twice a week gives them a natural, non-substance-induced, kind of high. They hate DQ, DNF, and DNS and avoid it like a plague or STD.

17. They are loyal Century Tuna consumers and go on century rides at least once a week. They also dream of living and training in Subic until they are a century old.

18. They do not fear spandex even if they do not have the physique to pull off their many tight-fitting and utterly unforgiving outfits, nor do they have any qualms about shaving their legs to gain a quarter of a second of speed. Yes, they are slaves of speed.

50-39-30, 53-39, 50-34, and 25-11 gear ratios are more significant statistics than your 36-24-26 waistline

19. They always try to get in front of you and not beside you when walking or trying to rush to some place together. They are that competitive!

20. They know the rate of the sports equipment fee more than a balikbayan box.

21. They have unexplained abhorrence to anything cotton. Sweat-wicking, Dri-Fit, Clima-Cool, and air-cooled are more reassuring terminologies to them.

22. They hate being stuck in traffic. They get jittery and impatient. This is because they know they can manage to get to some place much quicker using their own power.

23. Don’t wonder why they do not take locals seriously when they say the place you’re looking for is “too far.” He or she knows that his or her concept of distance is different from yours and the locals. They would then ask for specifics like how many blocks away, how many intersections you’ll pass, how far past the mango tree or the horizon, etc.

24. Their feet are anything but soft and cuddly with some forever-dead fingernails. So if you are a feet person, kiss your fetish (or love life, for that matter) goodbye. Otherwise, you’ll have no future with a triathlete and his or her funky feet.

25. Of course, how can I forget to mention the indelible tan lines. And those numbers on their arms and legs that never seem to fade away despite several washes. Loofa, pumice stone, nylon mesh, anyone? Then again, it’s quite possible they are intentionally worn and preserved as a badge of honor, which can also double as an ice breaker or conversation piece.