When I was just running, I was absorbed in what I now understand as road racing/running culture. I love running culture. I feel very at home there. Recently, however, I have begun to define myself as a triathlete first and a runner second. Entering the world of triathlon has opened my eyes to the different personalities of each of the triathlete's disciplines. What follows are total hyperbolic generalizations. It's also a work in progress.
Descriptive phrases and adjectives:
More and longer is always better (you don't find "streakers" who do their discipline daily for years straight, for example, except in running), self-coached, self-reliant, stubborn, tough, hardy, uncomplaining (to the point of stupidity), constitutionally incapable of admitting injury, jovial (other than during races), consistent, unwavering.
Sign: Capricorn, Virgo, Taurus
Beauty factor: Male runners are often scrawny, bearded, geeky and frequently balding. Female runners (elite) are waifs, often pasty waifs. Female age-groupers can't be pinpointed, I don't think. They seem to come in all shapes and sizes. A shared attribute is a determined, stolid race face.
Feelings about gear and fashion: Gear is for pretty boys. Give me shoes, a t-shirt, and a pair of shorts and I'm good to go. On second thought, it's hot out--can I lose the shirt?
Reasons/Thoughts on racing: To beat one's best friend so you can laugh about it over a beer after the race; because racing hurts and pain is good; the more races you do in a year, the better; racing twice in one weekend or day is dedication, not insanity; to get revenge on a course that shattered you in the past; to go the distance; so you can tell war stories.
Training philosophy: Train hard, train long, train train train. Rest is for wimps. Speed work once a week even if you raced last weekend
Why run in a group: So you can share war stories about past races, so you can forget the pain you are in, so you can hang with your buddies.
Why run alone: Because you need to toughen up.
Animal: A cross between a gazelle and a mule.
Favorite beverage: Beer. Maybe wine, if no one is looking.
Thoughts about food: Runners run to eat. Many began running to lose weight, and relish that running allows them to eat with abandon.
Myers Briggs type: ESTJ or ESFJ
Common jobs: Nurse, police officer, insurance
Feelings about triathletes: Gear queers, pretty boys, Nancies, vain beauty queens
Feelings about swimmers: What's a swimmer?
Feelings about cyclists: Unsmiling, unfriendly, pig the road, spandex? you must be kidding me, too skinny, wussy
Hogwarts' House: Gryffindor
Descriptive phrases and adjectives: Move in groups like a wolf pack , lots of arcane hand signals for the paceline, fashionable and pretty, graceful, petite, don't sweat, smooth, Euro
Male/Female ratio: Dominated by males.
Sign: Leo, Aquarius
Why train in a group: Drafting, because real bikers ride in a group, pace line, pace line, handling, pace line
Why train alone: Real bikers don't train alone
Myers Briggs type: ISTJ
Common jobs: Engineer, bike specialist, musician
feelings about triathletes: Can't ride in a group--beware! Have no riding sense, all show
feelings about swimmers: Nice, if you like to move slowly and cover absolutely no ground.
feelings about runners: On your left, frickin' caveman!
Hogwarts' House: Slytherin
Descriptive phrases and adjectives: Mellow, kind, wholesome, good
Feelings about gear: All you need is a suit, a cap and a pool. Real swimmers use the pull buoys and kickboards provided at the pool. They know they'll be there.
Reasons for racing: Exercise for life. Most swimmers raced once upon a time. They might do a Masters meet in the winter. Some have found their competitive spirits again by doing relays in triathlons.
Sign: Pisces, Cancer, Aquarius
Why swim in a group: Masters swimming rocks. Introverts unite! You never really swim alone. An empty pool is bliss, though.
Animal: Fish, duh.
Favorite beverage: Orange juice
Color: Medium blue
Myers Briggs types: INTJ, INFJ, INFP, ENFJ
Common jobs: Teacher, artist, scientist
Feelings about triathletes: Why do they bring so much gear to the pool?
Feelings about runners: Sure, if you like back pain and dislike knee cartilage.
Feelings about cyclists: I used to have a bike. I used it for my paper route.
Hogwarts' House: Hufflepuff
Descriptive phrases and adjectives: Ego, ADHD, intense, vivid, dynamic, alert, focused, TYPE A, vain, hot
Beauty Factor: Triathletes, as a group, are a good looking crowd.
Feelings about gear: Is there something I don't have? Maybe I can sell my old school books...
Reasons for racing: Depends what race you're talking about. A races, B races, C races? They're each very different. You should know that. And if you forget, it's in my plan.
Sign: Aries, Sagittarius, Leo, Libra
Training mantras: Periodization, blocks, progression, histogram, phases, peak, purpose intentionality, hours per week.
Why work out in a group: Because you can't always avoid it. Groups mess with The Plan. They don't respect your heartrate, your zone, your power, or your cadence. You can be social at Book Club.
Favorite beverage: Fruit smoothie spiked with protein powder.
Thoughts about food: God didn't make food for taste. Food is fuel. Good nutrition is essential for superior performance.
Myers Briggs type: ESTJ, ENTJ, INTJ, ENFJ
Common jobs: investment banker, venture capital, finance, physician...but often they're unemployed so that they can train more.
Hogwarts' House: Ravenclaw