I booked my first ultramarathon months ago, last year, in fact. And at the time I decided to not tell my husband, figuring he’d think it was a ridiculous idea and not approve. A while later, a friend let it slip and I was proved right. Yes, as a non-runner, he does think it’s a ridiculous idea. And no, he doesn’t approve, it’s a ridiculous idea! But that doesn’t mean he’s not supportive.
When we met, I wasn’t a runner. I played hockey and lacrosse but it barely took up my time, I wasn’t in love with those sports like I am with this one. So Andrew has seen me go from struggling to circle a field to running 15 miles on my own for a hotdog to, hopefully, running 35 miles round a Scottish island. I'd like to think he's proud of me and maybe a little impressed but he mainly thinks I'm nuts.
He just doesn't 'get' running. Despite trying it himself and even running a few races with me, he seems to be immune to the bug. And so all things running, besides "if you get a Mars Bar in your goodie bag, can I have it?" exchanges, are kept for friends that understand. I'm used to keeping quiet about distance, time, effort, black toenails, hills, fuel...I don't want to bore the poor man.
This time is different. With such a massive challenge in front of me, I'm scared and he can tell. No matter what it is, self-inflicted or not, if I'm scared or upset or nervous or sad, he's been there to offer his support. So last weekend, as I struggled to peel myself from our bed into my kit to run 16 miles, he put his on and offered to cycle alongside me.
I suddenly found the energy to leap from the bed and run out the door. Knowing he'd be there to talk to, encourage me through the hard miles, choose a direction when I got selection fatigue, as well as carry all my food, gave me the positivity to tell my body it could do it.
It was the most fun and fastest 16 miles I've ever run (granted this is only the third time I've run the distance). Despite him sitting out a few miles because I kept leading him along un-cycle-able paths, every time I passed my own personal aid station, I'd head off a little quicker.
With his support and promises to accompany me on more runs and treat me with lots of energy-filled food, I'm suddenly looking forward to ultra training!