July 19, 2009

A Non-Runner's Experience

I am making a public announcement now- I will never, I mean NEVER, pressure my spouse (or anyone else I remotely care about) to accompany me to a race again. I got a nice big taste of my own medicine yesterday, and it did not taste good. I went to football camp!

In the past, K has been good about coming to my races. There have been a few times that he's chosen to do something else beside come to watch me run. After yesterday, I am impressed he has been to so many! I never made a big deal over it, but deep inside was a little hurt. So, when he asked me to accompany HIM to Auburn Football Camp, I felt like I owed him at least one day, since he has been to a TON of my races. It was within 10 minutes that I recognized similarities of the day to a race day.

It's no secret that I don't like football. That in itself is crazy talk coming from a coach's wife, but... I do make it to all but 1 or 2 games a year. In addition to those games, I accompany K to other coaching things, like dinners, etc. One thing I had never done was go to football camp. So, here's my day as a spectator.

K had a coaches' meeting at 9:30, and just like racing, we arrived early. We mingled around a little bit w/ the Auburn coaches. Just as if I was the non-runner/spectator, I stood quietly pretending to be interested in the football talk. Just like non-runners don't understand fartlek, tempo, etc, I didn't understand some of the terms they were throwing around.

Next was my turn to hold the 'stuff.' Just like K holds my gels, jacket, water, camera, etc, I held his keys, paperwork, wallet, and water. I thought the 'race' would be starting soon, but the start was delayed. I stood around in the blazing sun for about an hour, listening to more football talk. (This is like when I go for my warm-up before the race.) FINALLY, it was time for a meeting in the indoor arena. The race director (a.k.a. Gene Chizik) said a few words and got the players organized. The players were a lot more respectful than runners. They actually STOPPED talking and LISTENED to what the race director was saying. I think the highlight of my day was noticing that I was definitely one of the smallest people there. That sounds stupid, but it's unusual to be 5'8" and still considered tiny. Nothing like line backers to raise your self-esteem. LOL.

The highlight of my day was discovering something ingenious- a turf, padded, hill. This 'hill' was next to the practice field and quite steep. I took my sandals off and tried it. It would be perfect for hill repeats at home. Okay, so then I spent one bazillion hours watching all the camp stuff. If this were a marathon, I would want to see my special runner at least a few times during the race, as many significant others meet their runner on the course. Unfortunately, i could hardly find K. He had on the same thing as half the people there, making it difficult to find him to see what he was doing.

It was during the afternoon session that I became a lot less patient. I was getting VERY hot and sweating through my nice tank top. (Remember, I sweat like a man.) There was nowhere to sit, so I had been alternating walking around and sitting on the concrete. I was getting a bad tan line on my feet, along w/ hurting feet from the trendy, no cushion, sandals I was wearing. Whine, whine, whine. I finally submitted to inner peer-pressure and went to Target. I wanted to stay at camp all day, but then I started thinking... I'm a near 3 hour marathoner. I'd been out there WAY longer than 3 hours. Plus, even when watching a marathon, you get the excitement of seeing your loved one cross the finish line. Just like when I watch one of K's games, I get to see some action, ending w/ a win or loss. This was just organized running and throwing, not really any type of event. So... I gave myself a pass to go to Target.

At the end of the day, I went back to pick up K and watched some MORE camp stuff, still not able to find him. As they were coming off the field, one of the coaches stopped to chat and said I was a trooper, and had earned a good dinner. (I was starving b/c they served hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch, which I do not eat.) So, K and I ended the day w/ veggie pizza from Mellow Mushroom. I thought this was appropriate b/c that is also my absolute favorite post-marathon meal.

In summary, if your non-running, loved one says they "like seeing you race," they are lying. It has got to be awful. Most likely they like supporting you, but there is no way a non-runner could have fun at a race. I am glad I got to share a day w/ K at camp, to support him, and see what it's all about, but I did learn how hard it is to be an outsider.

RR: I made it to 90 miles this week!!! Things are progressing nicely!

If you ever have a vision, allow it to take root, nurture it, and let it blossom- no matter how improbable it may seem. ~Paul Vaughan


  1. Yay first comment! Okay I don't ever ask or expect DW to go to any races, though she does enjoy the marathons when they are in a different city. I usually make a day for us to do something she likes together, that usually helps! Not sure what that will be in Chicago....hmmm

  2. Hilarious post! I was smiling the whole way through, it does seem like total similarity. How funny when you finally reasoned out your well-deserved pass to Target. Smart girl.

    Congrats on the huge week! And you're feeling great, this is uber fantastic. Woohoo!

  3. Tee hee....I was thinking to myself "Isn't it illegal in Alabama to not be a football fan?" I like your three-hour logic on the Target trip, and that you'd more than covered it by then.

    Great mileage week there, lady! Woohoo!

  4. LOL, yep, my husband's standard answer these days is, "We'll go if you want us to go." I know I'd be bored stiff if I were a spectator at a golf tournament (he's a good golfer). But I would go because I'd feel bad if I didn't. I think that's why he (and the kids) come to my races. I have to admit, I LOVE having them all there even if I only see them at the very beginning and at the very end. Especially at the end because it's like they're catching me.

    Nice job on the 90!!!

  5. I've never understood how people could enjoy watching a loved one at a race actually but it can be the good/supportive thing to do I know. I am actually a football fan myself but I think standing around all day watching a practice would be pretty awful!

  6. LMAO! That was funny! I am a huge football fan and would not have been entertained by that. That was not equivalent to watching a race, that was equivalent to watching you train at a runner's camp.

    Great job with the mileage last week!

  7. haha too funny! i completely agree that it's sooo hard to be an outsider. congrats on the 90 miles week, wow!

  8. ha! you're a great wife! i don't think it's fun to watch kert play softball. for some reason, it's so SLOW! way to hang in there.

  9. Whem my friend moved to Alabama, he said he got two questions, over and over.
    1. Where do you go to church?
    2. Auburn or Alabama?
    Not always in that order.

  10. Anonymous7/20/2009

    Love this! DF was very bummed when he missed my half in May. I kept trying to explain to him that it really wasn't a big loss. Maybe I should have him read this!
    - ashley

  11. R,
    Thanks for asking about my dad. He is home now, and doing okay. He'll start 12 weeks of cardiac rehab next week. All signs point to a strong recovery.

  12. The first time I accompanied hubby to a golf event was back when we lived in San Antonio and I went with him to see the Texas Open--I was a good sport, but can I tell you how boring it was! It was hot that day and we walked for hours following a 'small ball' around...LOL

    Never went to another golf event except last year at the US OPEN and that was during a week, I ran 70 miles in La Jolla, then had to WALK some more at the event, needless to say from now on, I will let him go with his buddies... :)

    Sounds like you were a good sport too!