Monday 19 August 2013

Guest Blog: Confessions of an Ultra Running Widow

Well bless her cottons! My lovely wife Jen has decided to write a little blog post about what it's like living with an insufferable idiot. Enjoy!

I am a runner. Correction; I was a runner, back in my teenage years. But I was a proper runner; a fast runner; a sprinter. My favoured distance was 200 meters. I was once encouraged to try my hand at long distance and step up to the 400 meters, but as my dad often likes to remind me and my husband I replied with "why would any one be stupid enough to run more than 200 meters?". How interesting that I now consider a 'short run' to be anything under 26 miles. Not for myself you must understand, that's when Sam does it. I got sore shins for 3 days when I 'jogged' 1/4 mile home to save Sam from our screaming child the other evening.

I have tried to find a piece of the enthusiasm that Sam so obviously has for running. I downloaded an app which proclaimed to be able to get anyone running 5k. I decided I would do the training and surprise Sam by entering us both in a 5k race. So I used to take our dog Max for a walk up to the field that is near our house. I would put on my iPod and listen to the little voice encouraging me along the path from fat to fit. I didn't make it. I got bored. Running just isn't my thing. If the race isn't over in less than 30 seconds I'm not interested in competing. (And I don't believe for a second that I could cover 200m in less than that now.)

I must admit I like the idea of being involved in a sport with the tight knit community that Ultra Running seems to have. Sam is forever on Twitter or Facebook chatting to some runner from somewhere that he knows through someone who he once chatted to at an aid station for 2 minutes. Otherwise he is crunching numbers and stats about races or running. Or compiling a blog post. How wonderful to enjoy something so much that you want to eat, breathe and sleep it?

What Sam sometimes fails to remember is that not everyone shares this all encompassing infatuation. You probably don't understand this concept either as you are currently reading a blog about Ultra Running. But if we didn't discuss running I'm not sure what we would talk about. My day at present is full of baby and to be honest she is only just starting to get interesting at six months of age. Even when I was at work our jobs are so different there is no common ground, except moaning about our bosses. Maybe that's a bit unfair - we do have other interests in common and things to discuss. But Sam's enthusiasm for running often means it's a primary topic of conversation.

I have learnt to love Ultra Running from afar. Sometimes I have the mad idea of getting more involved, coming to a race, making a weekend of it. I hear Sam talk of other WAGs that dutifully drive their partners to races and crew for them, finally cheering them on at the finish line. I have crewed for Sam before. When he 'ran home' after the 2011 London Marathon I was in the car meeting up with him every 8 miles, restocking his bag, giving him words of encouragement. It resulted in me throwing up at the side of the road in a little village in the early hours of the morning as the lack of sleep and the feelings of worry got to me. I won't be repeating that experience anytime soon thank you very much. 

I do think that I should really get involved in the scene more though. Now we have Lottie I think I should at least come to a finish line sometime so she can cheer her daddy through the line. The last time we tried that it resulted in us standing in the centre of Oakham on Easter Sunday evening for the best part of 6 hours waiting for Sam to come in for his first race win at the 2013 Viking Way. Unfortunately his 'Sam Nav' went wrong and he ended up coming in second, but at least we were there. Now Sam just has to actually finish another race and I might consider standing around a bit more

Harsh but fair I guess... For more amusing insults of her doting husband (*sniff*) you can follow Jen on Twitter 


  1. Great post Jen. If it's any consolation, my wife feels the same as you - although less inclined to trek half way across the country with the kids and sit around for a day while I traipse over the fells.

    Also, as a former Long Jumper, I always felt 200m was always too far for me for a long time. But I think I started displaying the same sense of masochism and self abuse that drove me to ultrarunning when I found I was regularly doing 400m Hurdles as well.

  2. Great blog Jen - at least you don't have arguments over who got to run more in a certain week with the enduring suspicion (mutual) that the other half is trying to sneak in miles around small person duties :-)

  3. It sounds to me as though you are hugely supportive. It's difficult to combine running and a young family (I have 2 boys 3 and 7 years) and only recently have been able to prioritise running a little more and a littl longer.

    My wife is also not a runner and it's important for us that we each let the other have some time for their own activities. We know that the other person is happier and nicer to have around when they've been able to get some own-time. And the occasions that my family do show up at a finish line or cheer me on during a race are that much more special.


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