Another weekend, another race. Saturday’s Whale of a Run in Silverdale, WA was the second stop on my four race summer tour. This 4-miler is part of the town’s Whaling Days festival. I’d tell you more about this annual gala and its origins but the website doesn’t have a lot of information about the event’s history and I’m way too busy lazy to research it further.
Going into this race, I looked forward to two things: trying to complete the 4-mile course in under 32 minutes and running the race sans wife. Mission accomplished on the first part, as I managed to finish in 31:44. As for the second part…
Initially, Adrienne was slated to spend time with friends on Saturday afternoon. (I won’t bore you with the details of our domestic geography, but suffice it to say, we live far enough away from these women that a morning race was out of the question.) However, when those plans fell through, she decided to sign herself up.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my wife and was happy she could participate. But there was a part of me that was really looking forward to going it alone. The race itself was hardly the issue, as we run at very different speeds and agree to simply meet at the finish line. It’s our conflicting pre-race priorities that occasionally cause friction.
Had I been on my own Saturday, I would’ve awoken around 6:30am, had a light breakfast, and headed to the race early; ensuring myself ample time for my pre-race ritual. This includes: checking-in/bib pick-up, hitting the porta potties, wandering around a bit to get a feel for the event, stretching and loosening up, jogging back to the car to drop off the goody bag of things I’ll never use while also making last minute clothing adjustments, hitting the porta potties again, and, finally, getting to the starting line with time to spare so I can relax and mentally prepare myself for the race.
My wife’s pre-race ritual includes: checking-in/bib pick-up, hitting the porta potties, and eventually getting to the starting line at some point.
Our usual custom is to split the difference as much as we can, leaving for a race a bit later than I’d prefer but earlier than she’d like. And while this seems like a reasonable compromise on paper, it doesn’t always work out for me. Inevitably, there are lines to wait in (especially for the porta potties), and if they move slowly (and they always do) things begin to unravel. I begin to worry about time and start getting anxious. And I’m no fun to be around when I’m anxious.
Unfortunately, navigating these differences in priorities is just a part of the never-ending marathon that is marriage. This type of give and take transpires on a daily basis between all couples and, as illustrated above, even invades your race running. So when I thought I was flying solo on Saturday morning, I was giddy at the thought of not having to compromise my schedule. I could wake up when I wanted, leave when I wanted, and be the first person waiting at the starting line… if I wanted.
It was going to be glorious.
Was I disappointed when Adrienne told me she registered for the race? Yes. But I got over it. And in hindsight, I’m glad she ran. Sure it would’ve been nice (awesome) to have gotten there twenty minutes earlier, but it all worked out. I was able to go through an abbreviated version of my ritual (despite the fact that the check-in lines were all backed up because of some horrible, computerized bib assignment system) and I didn’t get overly anxious. We both had great races and I truly enjoyed having her with me because, once we’d both finished, I had someone to talk to about the deficiencies in the course layout and the runners who annoyed me. (I’m looking in your direction guy running the race in a kilt and flip flops. I get it, you’re so good you can dress like a hippie and still kick my ass.)
And isn’t having someone to complain to really what marriage is all about?
So I look forward to running two more races with my wife over the next two weekends and many more races after that. But at some point, I’m going to get another opportunity to run a race on my own.
And it’s going to be glorious!