Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Feeling Like Sheryl Crow

My husband’s name can be found in the sports section of Sunday’s Huntsville Times. They wrote about his race and his win, and I felt famous just being the wife of this man whose name was in the paper. And then yesterday I realized something. I realized that I could do a much better job writing about him than they did.

So here I go.

My story begins Friday evening at Fleet Feet in Huntsville. Jason and I were there shopping for trail running shoes and he wanted to see if he could get into the Dizzy Fifties 50K. We had both wanted to run it a few months back, but we waited too late to register and it was full. Jason, however, was persistent and sure enough the night before the race he got in.

The next morning I awoke to arms encircling me at 4:30 a.m. “Why are you awake so early?” I asked.

“My alarm went off.” He said. I looked at the clock in sleepy confusion knowing I hadn’t set the alarm that early.

“No it hasn’t.” I replied.

“The alarm in my head.” He corrected.

I dozed until he left at 5:30 and then got up myself for coffee. My mom would be arriving at 6:30, and then she and I, along with my friend, Mimi, would be running 15 miles that morning. I knew I probably would not get done in time to make it up to Monte Sano to see Jason finish, and from time to time during my own run, I wondered how he was doing and prayed that he was okay and feeling good.

It was the perfect day to be out, and we had a great run. Upon returning home, Mom and I had a bowl of cereal and then she got in the tub to soak. I consulted the clock several times, wondering when Jason would finish and when he would call. Around 10:45 a.m. my cell rang and I jumped for it.

I guess I should pause in my story to clarify a few things. A 50K is 31 miles. And that is a long way. The Dizzy Fifties 50K is on Monte Sano, and while it is not the most difficult of the trail runs in Huntsville, it is still challenging. I realize that I am a brand new trail runner myself (and still not completely sold on the sport), but I’ve seen enough of the trails on Monte Sano to know it is not a jog down your friendly neighborhood street. And while it may be softer on the joints, a runner has to pay attention to where and how he or she steps with all the roots and rocks covering the trail.

So when Jason called and I asked him how he was – I wanted to know if he’d finished, if he’d turned an ankle, if he’d fallen, if he was hurt. My answer was that he had indeed finished and while he wasn’t feeling like a million bucks at the moment, he was okay. I was relieved. But the story gets better.

My next question was to ask how he did. This question usually refers to if he was satisfied with his performance, with his time, and of course, if he won. Now I personally do not like this question. When people ask me if I “won” the marathon I just ran, I want to laugh. My first thought is, “I FINISHED! OF COURSE I WON!” And my other thought is… “You obviously don’t know what it would take to actually win one of these things…”

But asking this question of Jason… well it is more valid. Because MOST of the time, he does, whether it is in his age group or overall.

He said he finished in 4 hours and 21 seconds. He said that was slower than last year, but that he’d gotten off the trail a few times, accidentally taking a wrong turn. So I popped my final question.

“Did you win?”

“Yes, I got first,” he replied.

“First in your age group?”

“First over all.”

(A pause)

“You were the first one to cross the finish?” (I guess I needed further clarification)


And of course here I started with my words of congratulations and excitement, telling him how great I thought that was and how proud I was of him. I hated that I could not be there, for I could only imagine how great it would have felt to see my very own husband finish first. FIRST OVER ALL! (I get visions of that red ribbon running across the finish line and the crowd going wild, with a little Chariots of Fire playing in the background).

So yes, I am the proud wife, and I know I’ve only been married 3 months, but I still wonder if I’ll ever get used to the fact that MY HUSBAND runs that fast, for that long. Maybe because I can’t. Maybe because I’ve never personally known anyone who can. Maybe because I know what it takes for me to do what I do, and then I see him doing it twice as long, twice as fast. It just amazes me.

I used to jokingly say that when I got married I wanted a man who could keep up with me. That didn’t mean he had to be a marathon runner – or a runner at all for that matter. I just wanted a man with a high energy level. So I chuckle now when I think of the man I married. He can indeed keep up with me. And much, much more.

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