Out There: Pin-up girl


Like any 29-year-old woman with a running injury, I've got far too much time on my hands. You'd think I'd use all this extra time to finally get around to writing the next great American novel, but you would be wrong.

Instead, I opened a Pinterest account. Shortly thereafter, I hated myself, and haven't stopped.

If you've been living under a rock and not familiar with Pinterest, it's a social media site that more or less scrapbooks information from the Internet. I'm told folks are supposed to use it to curate all sorts of information, but the majority of pins seem to fall under three categories: "Weddings," "Food" and "Wedding Food." A small percentage of the Pinterest-ers seem to curate information about fitness, though, making this run geek very happy.

After perusing the Pinterest folders of people I know (as well as complete strangers, because this injury has given me that much time on my hands), I've learned a few things:

• 1. I'm very happy the words "chocolate cake" and "open bar" appear in the wedding folders of my friends.

• 2. I hope my friends find their grooms and have their weddings soon, because I'm really craving chocolate cake.

And then there's the biggie:

• 3. Pinterest makes me feel woefully inadequate as a runner.

With every click on a running-related pin, I learned more and more about everything I'm doing wrong. Did you know we're supposed to color-coordinate run outfits? Whatever happened to finding the once-worns with the least offensive odor? And, ladies, can we please stop with this "running hairstyle" ridiculousness? It's still called a ponytail, even when photographed from a creative angle through a sepia filter.

And then there are the inspiring photos of ridiculously good-looking women, laughing in mid-stride. Every time I look at one of these pictures, I wonder why my race photos never look like that. Why can't I look that effortless, my "running hairstyle" billowing behind me like a beautiful cape, gently lifting me up to a PR as I laugh and laugh and laugh? All my race photos catch my thighs in mid-jiggle and my face in mid-f-bomb.

These photos are usually accompanied by a mantra:

"If it hurts, run faster." That is incredibly dumb advice. If it hurts, scale back, head home, and use "I'm recovering" as excuse to order a pizza instead of cooking dinner. And why is the lady in the photo laughing if it hurts so much?

"I run to be fierce." I run for the opposite reason: So I don't murder someone. And quit laughing, fierce lady. It makes you look like a sociopath.

"Nothing tastes as good as race weight." I'm calling shenanigans on that one, because I'm pretty sure anyone who says that has never eaten plate of enchiladas after a long day of training. Also, STOP LAUGHING. No one likes a smug skinny.

Which, of course, brings me to the food. I can't even pronounce some of the ingredients I see on Pinterest, much less comprehend how to incorporate them into a "quick and easy dinner-in-a-pinch!" recipe. You know what I eat when I need a quick and easy dinner? I sit on the couch in my underwear with a banana, a jar of peanut butter, and a spoon.

The box lunch ideas are particularly offensive. I pack a lunch for my partner, Neil, every morning before he leaves for work. This way, he's got some healthy food to fuel his evening workouts before heading home. Screw "fun lunches." I just want Neil to eat it, not take it out and play with it. Most days, I call it a win if he doesn't come home with a case of food poisoning.

Perhaps the most offensive thing about Pinterest? I just can't quit it. It's one more connection to the running world, where I can see what's new in my community (as well as what other runners have to say about it). Until I return to running, I'll take any connections I can get to other run geeks. Also, there's something incredibly addictive about scrolling through a utopian paradise, where everyone has perfect form, laughs through their speed workout, and is completely satisfied with a lo-cal seaweed smoothie instead of chocolate cake.

Mmm ... chocolate cake.

Any of you good-lookin' runner boys in the market for a wife? I've got some friends you should meet ...

• • •

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke