Out There: The House That Endurance Athletes Built

Practicing aero position in the living room? Totally normal!

A two-athlete household requires an impressive amount of gear and space in which to store it. Some people might call this crazy. But I just call it “home.”

Written by: Susan Lacke

Practicing aero position in the living room? Totally normal!

My house in a cozy little subdivision in Phoenix, Arizona, nicknamed “The Love Shack,” looks like many other houses nearby. There’s stucco on the walls, tile on the roof, a couple palm trees in the front yard, and a barbeque on the back deck. It doesn’t really stand out from the rest of the houses on the street.

Come inside, though, and you’ll get a completely different view. It’s been said the way a home is decorated says a lot about the people living there. Open the door of The Love Shack, and it quickly becomes obvious you’ve entered the living space of two triathletes.

It wasn’t always that way. When Neil and I first moved in, running and triathlon equipment was safely contained in a small room in the corner of the house. Pictures of family went up on the walls everywhere, and we looked for a dining set to put in our cavernous dining room.

We quickly learned what many runners and triathletes discover about their homes: It’s virtually impossible to keep gear in one space. Your sport becomes your baby, and nobody puts baby in a corner.

It started out innocently enough. Shoes were left by the front door post-run one day. A long ride in the trainer warranted a bike set-up in front of the big-screen TV in the living room. Some nutrition was left on the counter for the next day’s training.

Today, there’s no doubt: our home’s interior design comes straight from the “Haus of Athlete Chic.”

The bikes became a permanent fixture in the living room, propped up on the wall. Among the box-office hits in our DVD collection is a smattering of swim form and cycling interval training.

There’s a cabinet in the kitchen overflowing with water bottles and hydration belts. Another cabinet is packed with tubs and packets of nutrition. Across the kitchen, in a smaller cabinet, rests our “real” glassware – six pint glasses, four of which are prizes from races.

An entire room in the house is filled to the brim with clothes for training, but much of it spills out into other drawers and shelves. In an average week of Ironman training, I do more laundry for two people than Kate Gosselin does for her entire clan.

The huge, deep bathtub that appealed to me when first saw the house rarely gets used for the luxurious bubble baths I envisioned, but it does make a great vessel for ice baths.

Walk down the hallway, and you’ll see walls plastered with race bibs, medals, and finisher photos. Don’t open any doors quickly – chances are high some sort of training equipment will fall out and hit you on the head. There’s swimsuits and sports bras drying on doorknobs throughout the house. And yes, we know there’s an inordinate amount of creams with the words “butt” and “nuts” in the bathroom cabinet. Please don’t judge us – it’s for training. Really, it is. I swear!

That dining room set we shopped for when we first moved in? We never got one. In fact, we’re shopping again. This time, it’s for a treadmill to be set up in the dining room. Don’t expect a dinner party at The Love Shack anytime soon – unless you don’t mind being served from a squeezy water bottle while busting out mile repeats.

Try as I may to present a semblance of normalcy when company comes to visit, a rouge running shoe or wetsuit sleeve inevitably peeks out from behind a door to say hello, ruining the guise. It’s a lot to take in, I admit – a two-athlete household requires an impressive amount of gear and space in which to store it. Some people might call this crazy.

But I just call it “home.”

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