Out There: Humblebrag

Humblebrag: when a person tries to get away with bragging by sugarcoating it in modesty.

I’m so ashamed, you guys. I’ve committed one of the most atrocious and annoying crimes in endurance sports (no, not that crime: The Lance stories are found a couple clicks to your right).

I have humblebragged.

My Facebook status the other day read:

I was cc’d on an e-mail about possibly coming out to a race to give a pre-race speech. In the note, I was not referred to as Susan, but “The Talent.”

And with that announcement, I open the floor to the peanut gallery. Best comment gets a cup of coffee with “The Talent.”

Bless me father, for I have sinned.

You’ve probably seen or heard a humblebrag before; It’s when a person tries to get away with bragging by sugarcoating it in modesty. It’s like hiding zucchini in the brownies, only it ends with everyone wondering if they should pretend to be impressed or outright call that person a jackass to their face. It’s rampant in endurance sports:

* I am just so exhausted from my weekend. Running a 3:10 marathon is hard work, you know.

* I just stepped on gum. Who spits gum in the VIP Finishers Tent?

* I can’t believe it’s been THREE WHOLE YEARS since I ran my last 100-mile race. I need to get out of my 50-miler rut.

* Oh, I wasn’t racing today, I was just treating this as a training run. That’s why my time was so slow. 1:25 is, like, zone two for me.

* It’s really weird being friends with Olympic athletes. I mean, I’m only 109 pounds and they make me look fat!

* One of my students saw my race photos on my desk and really thought I was a professional athlete because someone takes professional photos of me while I’m racing. Ha!

* I was first in my age group at this morning’s race! There were only six people in the field, so no big deal or anything. 

* Someone in the mall today stopped me to ask me about my shoes. She was shocked when I told her I spent almost two hundred dollars for a pair of running shoes! I was shocked there are people who actually buy their running shoes at the mall.

In my case, this humblebrag wasn’t intentional (no, really, it wasn’t!). But in hindsight, I realize I was back-door bragging to my friends and family that someone thinks I’m a pretty big effin’ deal. And, well…I’m not. Thankfully, most of the people in my life know better than to pretend to be impressed.

People like my coach. I mean, he’s an Olympic coach and everything, so he knows all about how to keep overinflated athlete egos in check. Or my friends who are professional athletes who get speaking engagements all the time. This is, like old hat for them.


Oh, <bleep>. It’s starting again.

Quick, someone call me a jackass.

I want to know: What’s the best running humblebrag you’ve ever heard? Comment below and you may just win a special prize!


About The Author:

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, Arizona 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

Recent Stories