The Runner has been taking part in this malarky known as The WHW Race for 12 years. The very first time he did it in 1998 I had given birth to our youngest son just 6 weeks previously. Naturally I was excused from back up duties and he attempted to do it with a cobbled together backup of a group of fellow club runners and his in laws. Knowing what we know now, it was no wonder he didn't make it. Since then Beardie and I have been his back up team on every occasion.
Over the years I've been called many things by people. A saint, a hero, an angel, an idiot. I've been described and introduced as the fantastically loyal and supportive wife. But the best one recently described me as the long suffering wife.
My Collins Modern English dictionary has the following definition:
long-suffering adj. 1. enduring pain, unhappiness, etc, without complaint ~n. 2. long and patient endurance
Even though I don't actually suffer the the physical pain of a bad race I feel it deeply. To watch someone you love suffer so much doing something they are supposed to love is very painful. The ripple effect into family life is huge. It doesn't make me unhappy but right now I ain't exactly jumping for joy. And I certainly don't stand by without complaint!
Essentially ultra running is a selfish sport. Ultra runners put their training and racing before everything else. For example, we cannot arrange our social life without consulting the racing calendar first. Food and meal planning is a major issue. Training runs come before visiting parents/friends/going out/anything. And if you're lucky enough to have a job that gives you a defined end to your working day then maybe that makes family life a bit easier. Maybe your work/life/running balance is healthy.
I think what I'm trying to get at here is that it's not just the runners who are finding it tough this year. This blog is called You can't do it without backup! You can turn up at the start of the race ready to run but if you haven't got an ace team behind you then forget it. I know I choose to do this but frankly there are times when I struggle. And right now is one of those times.
So if you have a long suffering partner or an amazing friend who willingly gives up their time not just on WHW race weekend to help you fulfill your passion for running then don't forget to tell/show them how much it means to you. Go on, do it right now! Never mind your PBs, your splits, beating your pals. Without a back up team, you simply can't do it.