Western States Widow asks: It’s Western States training season again. That means glimpses of my husband are becoming as rare as cougar sightings. Entire weekends are consumed with training runs. And when he isn’t running, he’s sleeping on the couch instead of pulling his weight around the house. When he’s awake, he pours over stats from previous years, reads countless running blogs, and talks incessantly about training and race strategies until my eyes go crossed. While I can appreciate his passion for the race, I have grown to resent how much it impacts our lives. What should I do?
First of all, be sure to pursue your own passion. If you think you don't have time because your spouse takes all the spare time, figure out a fair way to make it happen. That will take prioritizing and dividing up responsibilities. What things around the house must be done and what can you live without? I personally gave up dusting years ago, vacuuming is not too frequent, and clean dishes are over rated. If you don't water the lawn, you don't have to mow. If there are children involved and the tag-team parenting isn't equitable, find a sitter so you can both do the things you love. Tell him that you will listen to him talk about his passion, provided you get to share yours with him. Learn to support each other. If you deny him his passion, then he will likely be resentful as well. I won't say it's about moderation, because there is nothing moderate about training and racing for 100 milers, but I will say it is about balance, respect, and fairness.
Now I'll go beyond the idea of developing your own passion and ask you to entertain the idea of being part of his team. Not as a by stander, but as someone truly involved with his race and therefore his success. Learn how to be the best crew ever. When he goes on long weekend runs, try to spend at least part of the day crewing for him. It is a great way to get your kids outdoors exploring nature, getting fresh air and exercise, and learning about the environment. Remember, while as insane as the distance seems, it is fostering a healthy lifestyle.
Finally, consider becoming an ultra runner yourself. Train your kids and parents to crew you. Family vacations will take on a new meaning entirely, and you might even up being faster than your spouse.
The infamous Anderson-Abbs Family
M@ asks: I’m a runner in my late thirties, returning to ultras after missing a year due to a torn calf and related injuries. I’m building up mileage for my 2nd hundred, this September, near a 2-bit Southern Oregon town known for cougar sightings and men in tights. My question has to do with core stability. Why does my "crew" have, at most, 2 or 3 pictures of me running, while our pc’s hard drive is full of photos of young, buff, shirtless, male ultra-runners with shaggy hair, dreamy eyes, and more ab muscles than I can count? Should I be doing some sit-ups or something?
Recognize that your crew is busy doing their job when you come in. If they are taking pictures of you then they aren't giving you full attention and tending to your needs, which from the sounds of your so called success, you can use all the help you can get. Certainly you know the answer to your own question on core strength. The real question is how do you get started? Kelly Woodke, licensed massaje therapist extraordinaire, swears by P90X, although with the rug he has on his front side, it's hard to say how effective it is at obtaining the desired 6-pack.
Kelly Roy Woodke
Monkeyboy asks: What advice would you give for prospective parents who want to make signs to leave on the WS course such as "Dan O, the quads are evil and they must be punished. love, Mom and Dad" when doing exactly what mommy and daddy say could lead you to an extended stay in the Auburn Hospital?
I would tell them they should be careful what they wish for. Besides the obvious danger, landing their son in the hospital can result in said son questioning the sanity of his parents, forbidding contact with grandchildren and from the Western States course. Perhaps more appropriate signs could be left, such as "Dan O - beware of the downhill trauma!", "Don't forget your hat!", "Are you getting your salt?", "Pace yourself!".
This is the third in a series of synchroblogs leading up to the 2010 WSER. Other posts include: