I was going to write this next blog about both the night before races and crewing, but as I started writing it, I realised there was actually much more involved in pre-race preparation than I thought!
For the shorter races, Brody sometimes decides in advance that he will do them, and others are more of a last minute decision. For the longer races however, it can take months for him to decide to sign up, and even once he’s signed up for it, there’s still months of discussions whether it was a good or bad idea, and then there’s the training schedules and the race logistics that need to be figured out.
By race logistics I mean, looking up where the event is, is it a point-to-point or an out and back, will I need to crew and do I need to request that day off work. I must admit here that I work shift work and occasionally when I’m getting really fed up with the whole running thing, I have been known to roster a late shift on days that Brody has a race (or more so request to work the day after) just so I don’t have to deal with his post run groans of pain. I do usually request the day off when Brody has a run though, because I really do love supporting him and being his crew captain, despite it’s unique challenges.
As you get closer, as the race details / logistics are discussed a thousand times and then finally sorted, you get to the week before race day. The dreaded taper week, and home of the taper tantrums.
I don’t know about other running partners, but mine often finds himself suddenly getting sick, or old injuries might flare up and then there’s the crankiness that occurs because he’s tapering and can’t run as much that week. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard ‘I’m a bit worried, I think I’m getting sick’, or ‘my knee (/hip/shin/foot) is getting this weird ache’.
My answer (with a true lack of sympathy and a healthy dose of tough love) is along the lines of ‘you’re not getting sick and your knee is fine, you think this every time’ and of course it’s always said with a sigh.
It’s just that, every race, he genuinely believes he’s getting sick or is injured!
As you get closer and closer to your partner’s race, you learn even more about your partner’s little pre-race habits and quirks. Over time, I’ve slowly learned about Brody’s (night before) pre-race rituals.
He needs time early in the evenings (always before dinner) to start preparing his gear. Everything will be laid out on the floor ready to go and sometimes I’ll call out items to help make sure he hasn’t forgotten anything or we’ll triple check the mandatory gear list.
He’ll also sometimes get a little jittery, and sometimes he may even get just a teeny tiny bit snappy (read, he’s being a dick), but I’ve learned that this is just nerves coming out and nothing to do with me (so I’ve stopped being a ‘broomstick’ in response now – the word Brody and I use for bitch) and instead understand that this is part of the process.
Meal prep is also required to ensure we don’t have anything that might upset a certain person’s stomach and we also have to make sure that we don’t eat too late either. This ensures the food can be digested before the race (has your running partner ever mentioned how many pre-race poos they’d like to get in? our lucky number is two).
Then, when everything is prepared, we’ll sit down and go through the plan for race day. We’ll talk about what time our alarms will be set, what time we need to be out the house and if it’s a longer race, we’ll talk over (for the thousandth time) the course. This includes the checkpoints and out of them, which ones I’ll meet him at and what time he thinks approximately he’ll get there.
I must admit, this part is mostly my fault. I’ll explain in a future blog about the fun and stress of crewing, but for now I’ll just say that it’s definitely me that gets more stressed about where and when to meet Brody throughout his races, and really, it’s because I don’t want to let him down. I will say though, the more races that Brody has done, the more relaxed I’ve become, the more fun I’ve had, and the more I’ve learnt what to expect, which allows me to go more with the flow a bit more (and nod along as Brody goes through his pre-race phases).
Once the pre-race rituals are complete, then the race day fun begins (hopefully with a double poo if your partner is as lucky and happy as mine), but more on that next time…
After 15 big races, and probably double that in smaller races, we are definitely getting a better feel for what needs to be done the night, and week, before a race. Normally my role mainly includes some hand holding and gentle assurances that he is going to be fine and cross both the start and finish line. I also occasionally have to remind him to pull his head out his ass, with a cheeky smile and touch of love.