Monday, November 8, 2010

on being the runner's girl

It's kind of an interesting thing being a runner's girl. I've been thinking about it since being Zac's reluctant support crew and have been working on pulling my thoughts together.

From the very beginnings of our relationship, running has been a big part of "us," even though he has never succeeded in making it a part of "me" exactly. Not for the lack of trying, of course. As with anyone deeply involved with something they love, he is always searching for new "converts".

First some history:

I remember Zac convincing me to come running with him once very early in our dating. We went at night because I was embarrassed by how red and splotchy my face gets when I run. And I crouched down to tie my shoelace at one point, stood up quickly and took off, anxious to catch up (not seeing him waiting a few feet ahead of me) and I ran right into him. Awesome.

And then Zac ran his first marathon about a month after we met. The marathon was about 4 hrs away and he was driving down and staying with a friend. There wasn't room for me in the car, and it would have felt much too awkward to stay at his friend's parents' house at that early stage of our relationship, so I stayed back at the dorms and waited anxiously to hear how he did (when he got back - this was waaay before the dawning of cell phones). That became the first of many races, actually, where I have been home, waiting anxiously.

The St. George Marathon is kind of momentous in our history, actually.

I missed one that he ran (and got his Personal Record) when I was in Germany. But then when I was home in Aug, he ran it again that Oct. and I got to go with him this time. We stayed at his friend's parents' house along with some other friends, and his friend's dad is the organizer of the marathon so we got to drive up to the start (where usually only the runners go on buses) and volunteer and help out at the finish. Anyway - after the race most everyone was tired out and falling asleep on the floor and couches and Zac asked me if I wanted to go for a hike.

um, what? He just ran 26.2 miles and now he wants to go hiking?!? That was my first clue that something was up.

And that's where he proposed to me (officially, with the ring). :)

We were married in Dec. and as it happened, come next Oct when Zac was running it again, I was very barely pregnant with our first (maybe 5 or 6 wks along). And sick. I don't think we had even told very many people I was pregnant yet. But once again, we drove down and stayed at his friend's parents' house. But I was so nauseous and about to puke every time I ate anything, we ended up explaining to everyone why I was sick (not my favorite way to make this announcement, but it had to be done). I hadn't thrown up yet (that happened a week or so later). But I sure did feel like it was right there waiting to happen. That was sort of awful.

Anyway - so now in the time we've known each other, he's run that marathon a total of 5 times (only one that I missed). And innumerable smaller races (5K's, half-marathons). Plus his Wahsatch Steeplechase he's done 5 times now. And now his 50 miler.

As for me, I ran my first 5K with Zac at my side the summer after we were married. And then had a baby the next spring. Ran another 5K the spring after that with a friend of mine. And then got bad shin splints. And got pregnant again. And then . . . almost 10 yrs, 3 kids, and umm maybe 30 lbs gained since that last one, last year I finally got up to running 30 min straight again and tried another 5K (with Zac with me again). Then I got hurt and stopped again. haha.

So, although I would never claim to be "runner" exactly, I feel like I am somewhat well qualified as a runner's girl. Which means that I am privy to some of the wisdom and knowledge that "real" runners have, without being an actual member of the club. I feel I am sort of on the inside, the outside fringe of the inside group.

Just some examples:

1. I know that a marathon is precisely 26.2 miles, no more, no less.

2. I've read a year's worth of Runner's World magazines and learned about fartleks (among other things)

3. I know about underpronating and overpronating - and which type of shoe helps which

4. I can tell you a thing about chafing and bloody nipples (second-hand, thankfully)

5. I know the stuff they hand you on a popsicle stick during a race is vaseline, not goo to eat. ;)

6. I've seen the crusty white salt on his face from running in the summer, and seen him come home with ice crystals on his eyebrows in the winter. No joke.

7. I know that serious marathoner winners sometimes have no problem with going to the bathroom in their shorts (luckily Zac doesn't fall into that category - but I have seen it myself at the finish line)

8. I know that having the right clothing can make all the difference in the world (don't knock the biker-short or dinky shorts look until you've tried running 20+ miles in something else - seriously).

9. I know there is a big difference between the good pain of pushing yourself and the really not good pain of being injured - and that learning the difference is one of the hardest things ever.

10. And I know that when someone lives and breathes to run, you cannot hold them back. And your life is happier when you let them out. :)

1 comment:

Jennifer Pelo Rawlings said...

Now I'm thinking I really don't want to be a runner. I've never known that need to just run. I'm glad that some people do feel it though. When I see their joy for it I'm tricked into thinking I can feel that too.

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