Monday, May 8, 2006

The dreaded countdown to the "A Race" has started.

Okay, so it's all fine and good when you're out there on race day cheering on your beloved athlete. However, there is a price to be paid. *sigh*

In my case, this phase of "training" usually begins about two weeks out from the race and intensifies as the time draws nearer to the starting gun. It even has a special name - the "taper" to the race. To me, it usually means an increase in stress, a decrease in sleep and the loss of the sane alter ego of my husband. Allow me to elaborate. And, I promise, I do have a point to make.

The weekend before a race such as 24 Hours of Adrenaline, which begins on Saturday at 10 a.m., usually is composed of lots of list making, errand running and thinking out loud. All on the part of my husband. I'm just the unwilling hostage, who really wants to help get to the end goal, despite the personal torture this usually inflicts upon me! Take yesterday for example - the day of last minute errands. Slight clarification - the last of the last minute errands that Brian will attempt and complete, but by no means the end for me. My apologies, I digress. On Sunday morning, I got up early to take a normal weekend morning walk with Scarlet and get some of my own chores accomplished. Brian called me around 9:30 or so to let me know he had just finished his swim and was ready to go ride his bike for a while. We agreed to meet at 12:30 at the parking lot where his car would be. No problem. Right? Nope. Wrong.

I take my time, knowing full well that it was a beautiful, uncharacteristically nice day and arrive at 12:30, on time. Which, as many would say, was quite shocking and it was on the weekend nonetheless. I get out of my car, take a short walk to check out the wildflowers. I then curse myself for forgetting my camera. Darn it. Time slowly passes. Twenty minutes creep by and I call my sister, Katie, to chat while I wait. Finally, over a half an hour late Brian finally shows up. At this point, I should affectionately refer to him as the lobster, but I will restrain myself for the time being. Of course, as I've already suspected, we are living in Brian-land. This happy place, *insert sarcastic smile*, that we always seem to arrive at about a week or so before the race. A place where Brian's alter ego magically appears and normal, sane, usually levelheaded Brian turns into a crazed athlete on a mission - to boldly prepare for a race that no man has conquered before. Oh wait, he has, he's just got tunnel vision for now. I try to remain calm, but I noticed yesterday, for the first time I might add, I began to resist the madness. The constant reassuring, the trying to reason with him. *SIGH* Nothing works like it used to! It's all strategy, all about the race - what to eat, how long each lap will be, how hard to push it. I listen and sympathize and do my best to reason. But sometimes, it just isn't going to work!

So we run errands - pick up the new blur (I'm sorry, the new family member - haha), buy new race shirts, buy organic food (totally overpriced in my humble opinion - we should get a tax break for our lifestyle choices, but that's another subject for another day), buy sunblock and coke and batteries.....the list is unending and all about the race. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and I love to cheer him on and I support him 150%, but the six hours spent running race related errands, arguing about whether or not to pick up the sandwiches from Nob Hill on Friday night or Saturday morning, just stresses me out. Since determining that stress affects my body so hard, I've really begun to notice my triggers. This, unfortunately, seems to be one of them. My TMJ is really bothering me and my stomach is a little rumbly. yay. Minute little comforts to me this weekend take a back seat to the race and I have another long, cold, lonely, sleepless race weekend to look forward to. yay. The only reward is to see Brian achieve his goal - it makes me so proud to support him. I guess my trouble is finding a way to cope with being the indispensable right hand help to the focused endurance athlete. I work so hard to be supportive and loving, however, I sometimes question if I really handle this race week preparation correctly.

Is it wrong to be upset when he intentionally sunburns himself the weekend before? I think so - what good is all this time, money and effort, just to end up with skin cancer in five years? And what about all of the tossing and turning on his part cause he's on fire?! Is it wrong to state an opinion about when I [emphasis on "I" here] want to go pick up sandwiches for the race? That's the point though, I think the hours upon hours of training all add up to lots and lots of mental strategizing and planning that can't be reasoned with! So I succomb to the planning. I think my strategy going forward will be "yes dear" from now on. It doesn't suit me per se, however, I think I can grow from it. I take comfort in knowing that no matter what, I am a critical part of his race and part of his own little recipe for race success. I believe that he has a mountain of potential that he's only begun to climb. So I'll be there on Saturday - mixing sports drinks, offering words of support, tracking lap times, taking pictures, checking out his competition, giving him a kiss & telling him to get a move on and, most importantly, trying to stay warm!

The funny thing is that our cat Nala summed up for me yesterday morning what I have so grossly understated about this race here tonight:


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