How To: Complain Properly About a Disappointing Race Result

Have you ever had a bad race? Duh. If you’re been training or racing more than two seconds, of course you have! And anticipating the possibility of a future not-perfect race leads us to an important training step you have missed-  setting up your post race excuses. I originally wrote “How to properly complain about a disappointing race result” in 2012! Turns out nothing has changed. Did I leave anything out? Simply follow the listed steps:

 
Step 1- Set it up beforehand. This is the part where you loudly tell everyone in advance the reason you won’t do well. The two most popular choices are either “I’m treating it as a training day”… ie “I’m tired from training” or “I haven’t been training because I’ve been on vacation” however there are endless variations on these as well as some other good options.
  1. I’m going to simulate the ironman by practicing my IM pace at the super sprint
  2. I just want to practice my ‘nutrition’
  3. I have a sore toenail, pinky, etc.
 Step 2- come up with your ego-protecting angle– After telling everyone why you won’t do well (too much training, not enough training, or injury) the next step is to frame up your unique excuse. Of course you’re still planning to still crush the course, despite what you said in step 1, but if something goes wrong you’ll need a ‘backup reason.’
 Here are some popular ones, again taken from the vault of personal experience, my sandbagger friends. Here are your options, choose any of the below:
  • The ‘I don’t know anything’ guy– I have a friend like this who shall remain nameless. Actual quotes from this weekend “ I didn’t know what the distances were for this race” “I forgot I was signed up for this race until Thursday” and “I didn’t know that was a rule” (After getting a penalty). This is a great tact to take for a number of reasons. Number one, the underlying insinuation is that if you Did actually know the rules and care, then you would be beating all your friends with ease. Number two is that it is actually bulletproof from a number of comebacks. Have a terrible run? “I didn’t know you were supposed to run more than once every two weeks!” Barely limping at the end? “I didn’t know you were supposed to eat or drink en route.” Pretty much the only downside to this method is that it only works for a limited time. You may be able to stick with this for a few months but after that people will start to be onto you.
  • The ‘perpetually never training’ guy– I have a friend like this. He is always 10-12 lbs heavier than he was at ‘race weight’ (although he claims that ideal race weight occurred last year, and last year he was saying the same thing about the year prior?) He always “hasn’t been running… or swimming.. or biking” and he is always talking about what he will do when he gets back in shape.This guy spends more time talking about how he’s not in shape than he does actually training (except for the secret training, but we’ll leave that for another post)
  • Often there is a reference to a previous time period where he Was in shape and he is always comparing himself to this long-lost ideal. The exact parameters of this ‘glory days’ time period are often fuzzy but the implication is clear “If I actually cared enough to get in shape I would smoke all of you” The only con I can see to this approach is you can’t get too fast or fit-looking or you will eventually be exposed as a total sham.  A close cousin of this guy is ‘The self-proclaimed has-been”
  • The ‘Training through’ person- This person can’t rest.. they can’t afford to (!!!) There is always another big race around the corner, next week, next month, next year, and resting up could jeopardize everything!!! You can spot this person because they are moaning they might not even finish because they’re too tired from yesterday’s long ride or run, so they can’t possibly be expected to compete with others. It is apparent that the underlying message here is “if I was fresh, I would dust you” Downside? When you beat people enough, they’ll be onto you.
 
Step 3- Supporting Evidence – Still haven’t gotten them convinced? Some cases are desperate enough to require additional supporting evidence.  Here are a few ideas
Solid evidence
Solid evidence
Know-nothing guy– Pepper the facebook community with lots of questions about the race. “Do I wear running shoes on the bike?” “Are goggles provided to registered participants?”
 
Never training/Not at race weight guy- recent pictures of love handles will do just fine. Also photos of excessive libations and time consuming extra-curricular activities.
 
Self-proclaimed has been- If you see yourself as more of a ‘self-proclaimed has-been’ then consider posting 5-10 year old pictures of yourself looking awesome at races.
 
Training through chick- Duh. A picture of your Garmin screen showing your recent Six-Gap + Brasstown ride. Bonus points for pics at the top of each gap.
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