Me: “well, my boyfriend took place in this 100km run, so we went to that”
Workmate: “wow that’s mad, so how long did that take him then?”
Me: “oh about 15.5 hours, but he reckons he could do it in under 14 next year”
Workmate: “..and what did you do while he was doing that?”
Me: “I was his support crew”
Workmate: “what does that involve then?”
At which point I make up some glossed over version of the truth about cheering him on and making sure he’s got a coffee at the end. As the reality of being a support crew, or should I say support crew who is also a wife/girlfriend (or husband/boyfriend!)of their other half (OH) goes far above and beyond what anyone would expect, or indeed is prepared to hear on a Monday morning before they’ve even had their flat white.
So if you read on and are nodding in agreement or perhaps sympathy then the chances are, you too are a Running Widow. And a Running Widow knows that the support doesn’t start and end on race day, but somehow (and none of us can exactly pin point when it happened) you turned into a one woman cheer squad/ exercise nutrition expert/cook/chauffeur/masseuse and nurse.
Now don’t get me wrong, you may like running. Indeed I am quite partial to jog along the beach on a sunny morning, and have even been known to take part in City2Surf, voluntarily. But a Running Widow knows another world of running. It isn’t a charity fun run, or just a way of keeping fit, it’s a world with words like Hoka, Garmin, S-Labs, Kilian, Skins and Glide, and where the North Face isn’t just somewhere you shop for a ski jacket.
That’s right, I’m not just a Running Widow; I’m a NF100 widow. Widow #474 to be precise.
And this year I’m doing it in style and staying at the Fairmont. I’ve resigned myself to it not being a romantic weekend break, with the inevitable “not tonight darling, I’ve got a race tomorrow”. However there is a heated pool and a spa and randomly they have segways. So I can reward myself for all my preparation and hard work. Yes that’s correct, me.
Hard work, such as getting up before the sun to drive to pre race races that start at 7am miles from Sydney. Staying up all night races with a selection of food that would out do a Coles Express, just in case the OH doesn’t fancy nutella sandwiches, but craves fish paste and cheese and onion crisps and a pot noodle at the 60km lap (no problem she says).
Sacrifices, such as rolling over on a Sunday morning looking for a bit of love, only to be greeted with a peck on the forehead and an “I’m off running, be back in a few hours”. Where swatting up on stress fractures in the ‘Lore of Running’ becomes bed time reading.
Preparation such as checking and rechecking the mandatory gear list dozens of time. Long discussions on whether a compression bandage for snake bites is the same as a compression bandage for sprains (it is by the way) and counting out salt tablets, pain killers and all manner of other items into plastic zip lock bags that would put a low rate drug dealer to shame.
So when that gun goes off at 6.55am, I know that’s it. I know the NF100 people understand the plight of the Running Widow, as they have a no support crew rule until check point 3, giving us all a well deserved break to enjoy the hot tub before the carnage that is check point 4.
CP4; a time when even the hardiest of Running Widows will be tested. The point in the race where after emerging from the valley and something like the equivalent of 800 flights of stairs you are greeted by your OH, who will likely be looking slightly grey, otherworldly and possibly muttering. Time to pull out the big guns: the salty potatoes, black coffee, rice pudding and provide some massage to tired legs, and more importantly to the ego. There is no shame at CP4. Full kit changes in the middle of the sports hall, odour that wouldn’t be out of place in a the queue of a soup kitchen, and runners asking their girlfriends to cut their to their toe nails that are digging in, as they can no longer bend to reach their feet. (Okay, that last one was just a special treat for me, but this is the kind of hard work I’m talking about). We then send them off into the wilderness, slightly better than they came in, but still wondering if we’ll ever see them again, with hearts racing (ours not theirs).
And so it goes on.
And when they cross that finish line, it doesn’t matter what colour the buckle is, they made it. And you know that their victory partly belongs to you. Not just for today, but for the months building up to the race – and they know it too. Time to celebrate, you both made it! But hang on a minute. You thought that was it, you thought the impossible had been achieved. But no, before the first beer has even been sunk you here the immortal words....”I could beat that time next year if I ....”.
That’s it, you know you’re done for, I’m afraid you’ll be a Running Widow for many years to come. Fancy a glass of wine at the Fairmont?
Edited by nursenicky, 03 February 2012 - 01:37 PM.