How to Insult a Triathlete

>> Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I was recently insulted. I’m a very easy-going, fun-loving guy, and I usually don’t take anything personally, but this comment stuck with me. First, some back story:

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a college professor. Classes have just started up for the spring 2007 semester, and I have 5 different classes at 2 different colleges. On the first day of class, I always do the lame “go around the room, introduce yourself, blah, blah, blah, and tell us what you did over break” routine.

At one school (which shall remain nameless), we had gone all around the room, and it was my turn to say a little about myself. So I rattled off all of the professional things I’d done recently, galleries I’ve had work shown in, and then I ended with what I did over break. I told the class that I started training for an Ironman Triathlon.

Immediately, I heard “the comment” from one student (who shall remain nameless):

“I guess I always pictured triathletes to be buff...”

Ouch. That hurts.

The class got a good laugh. I laughed too - awkwardly.

Now, I know I’m not super buff, but I have been lifting weights fairly regularly for nearly 10 years. It was a bit of a blow to my ego.

But to be fair, they know me as a nerdy, dorky, sometimes overly enthusiastic instructor. They see me as this guy (Teacher Steve):

What they don’t know is that underneath, I’m also this guy (Triathlete Steve):

After class, I went to the Y and started my workout on the bench:

135 x 8 reps, 155 x 8 reps, 175 x 8 reps, 185 x 6 reps, and 135 x 10 reps.

That’s not the workout of a 98 pound weakling. I finished my upper body workout, and later I hit the pool and swam a mile. I was on a mission. I don’t want to be the gaunt, sickly, un-buff triathlon nerd. Heck, I'll settle for being the semi-buff triathlon nerd.

I’m not trying to be cocky; I just need to share this story. I know that the student who made the above comment will find this blog of mine sooner or later, and I can’t wait for him to find this story. Hilarious.

Good times.


:) 11:42 AM, January 24, 2007  

That first picture is a classic! Maybe you need to wear more spandex to class... :)

Anonymous,  1:30 PM, January 24, 2007  

hey im a triathlete living in st paul who trains at the y and is doing the shisago lakes half ironman this year too.

small world.

Anonymous,  1:31 PM, January 24, 2007  

oops thats supposed to be chisago lakes...oh yeah and im a photographer as well. but im not a teacher. so i guess we arent the same person.

Lance Notstrong 3:01 PM, January 24, 2007  

That IS a funny picture!!! It's odd how people have a hard time seeing someone as something different than their job.

Trisaratops 4:13 PM, January 24, 2007  

OMG--Teacher Steve is hilarious!

In the words of Cartman, "Beefcake! BEEEEEEEEEEEFFFFFFFFCAKKKKKKEEEE!"

Triteacher 5:54 PM, January 24, 2007  

Do you have to go into a phone booth to make that transition?

Allez 7:36 PM, January 24, 2007  

Most triathletes hide their "buffness" under clothes. Lance Notstrong doesn't look that athletic in his work clothes (no offense Lance if you see this!). He changes to cycling clothes, I do a double take.

RunBubbaRun 8:41 PM, January 24, 2007  

Hey I think spiderman could take lessons from you changing identity. At least they didn't shout out you are "nuts" which is the common thing people say.

Just rememeber to wear your finishers hat next time you see them later this year in the hallway.

Born To Endure 10:33 AM, January 25, 2007  

You are buff!!! Don't listen to those're the teacher...they need to learn from YOU!! BTW you need a pocket protector in that jacket..:-))

SingletrackJenny (formerly known as IronJenny) 2:19 PM, January 25, 2007  

Hey Steve - thanks for stopping by - nice to to "meet" pharmie's hubba!
I think you need your IM finisher's photo on the wall, your medal around your neck, and your hat.
Are you guys doing the Winter Carnival half-marathon this weekend?
p.s. - I am doing Chisago half Iron, too...

Steve Stenzel 3:34 PM, January 25, 2007  

It may look like I need a phonebooth to make that transition, and it sometimes feels like that when I rush home from work, quickly change, and then get out for a workout!

TriShannon 4:29 PM, January 25, 2007  

Too funny! You just never know what poeple are hiding under their cloths.

Challenge them to hang with you on a ride, then see who is laughing.

Anonymous,  12:34 AM, January 26, 2007  


let me know if you want me to beat them up. i'm super tough.


teacherwoman 6:53 AM, January 26, 2007  

Nice pic! Especially the second one! You do know, that when someone makes comments like that, it's because they are actually JEALOUS! You show him!

greyhound 4:26 PM, January 30, 2007  

I like having a Clark Kent identity. By day, I'm law nerd guy, complete with bow tie and receding hairline. But before and after work, i'm 9% body fat triathlete guy.

Wedgie 5:22 PM, February 05, 2007  

I grew up on the east coast, now live in L.A. This summer I went back to do the New York City Olympic Triathlon. My old high school girlfriend works in the city and we've remained close friends, and she came out to watch me race. After it was over, she told me "wow, it's so amazing that can you do all this! But then why aren't your legs muscular?" Ouch.

Robin 12:03 PM, February 17, 2007  

Thanks for visiting my site! I was scrolling thru your just now and this post is HILARIOUS! Funny, what our students see, isn't it?

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