My name is Rianna and I am a Runner’s Wife.

This blog is something I’ve been thinking about for a while but always told myself that it was a silly idea. Then I thought, what does it matter if no one reads it? and thought I would mention it to Brody, my husband. Well, as always, as my biggest support and biggest fan (as he likes to say), he thought it was a wonderful idea and said that I should go for it! So here I am…

I guess my journey really started with my husband’s journey and I know I am not the only one with this story. When Brody and I came back from a nine month trip through Africa, he decided he needed more fresh air, and an outlet for the frustration of settling back into life.

This outlet, turned out to be trail running.

Well, most people (including me at the time) thought this was an awesome idea! Until this turned from one day a week, and one small run here and there, to six or seven times a week and longer and longer runs.

When Brody said he wanted to start running about four years ago, I thought it was a great idea. He would get out of the house, he’d have a hobby, and would make new friends. Well, it certainly did all these things, but instead of getting him out of the house, it kept him out of the house. Instead of being a hobby, it became an obsession, and instead of creating new friends, it made me feel isolated.

As time went on, I decided that I would see what the fuss was about, get my sneakers dirty, and give this trail running thing a go.

I have always loved being outdoors, played many sported when I was younger, occasionally given a half arsed effort at running, and have always loved hiking. So I thought I would be supportive and try trail running. After all, surely if I loved hiking, I would love trail running?

This blog is a snapshot of a very frustrating and challenging, but also fun and often rewarding journey. So far we’ve had plenty of ups, downs, injuries and of course, every few months I still slightly lose my mind and spit the dummy at Brody for his non stop running chat …

Through this blog, I will explore aspects of this journey in more detail, and share with those who want to read it, the challenges that I’m sure many of us, as partners of runners, face.

This is a blog for anyone who supports (or puts up with) a partner addicted to running and the unique and often frustrating challenges this brings. Or alternatively, this may give runners a better insight into the perspective your loving and patient other half may have.

My name is Rianna, and to all the running partners out there, you are not alone 🙂

The Word “Just”

This is a post that I have always wanted to write; about my most despised word in any runner’s vocabulary, the word “just”. I know I’m definitely not alone in this post. This one is dedicated to the partners of runners who give this whole running thing a go, anybody starting out, or to anybody who will never be a ‘fast’ runner.

I found running really difficult to get into. I felt slow, heavy on my feet and every time I started running, I felt like I was dying (a little dramatic, I know). This was not the hardest part though, the trouble was being and living with an excellent runner… you can’t help but compare yourself to them and feeling inadequate or like an imposter!

I remember the first time I managed to run two whole kilometres under 8 minutes each! The kilometres had a 7 at the start of it and I was SO excited! But then I felt ridiculous celebrating that, because Brody runs multiple kilometres much faster than that all the time!

And here is where the word ‘just’ (or only) comes in.

I found myself saying things like ‘oh I just went for a 2km run’ or ‘it was only a 15 minute run’ and as I ran further, faster and longer, the word hung around like a bad smell.

The worst was when Brody and I would do an event together, because unless we’re doing the shorter distance together, he’s usually doing the longer distance. So when people would ask me what distance I was doing, I would answer with ‘oh I’m Just doing the 10km distance’. It even happened when Brody did a couple marathons and I did the half. I would say, ‘Oh, I’m just doing the half’.

In doing this I made myself feel bad and as it was pointed out to me, by Brody, I didn’t give myself any credit. I also realised, that when people tell me they went out for a run, I never care if it is 1km or 10km, 3minute pace or 9minute pace, I always think it is awesome they are getting out there, so I wondered why I couldn’t apply that mentality to myself!

Not only this, but when more experienced runners who run further than me use the unforbidden word to me and say ‘oh I’m just running the marathon’ then I feel really bad for doing a shorter distance. This means that if I use it to someone who’s just starting to run or is less experienced than me, then I will make them feel bad!!

I had a light bulb moment as well, which helped me a lot. I was doing what was meant to be a run, but I was so tired so had slowed to a walk. I felt slow, heavy and pathetic. Then this lady walked past who must have realised how I was feeling. She turned to me and said with a smile ‘you’re out here and much faster than the person on the couch’. To that lady, I have no idea who you are but I want to say a big thank you.

It still takes an effort, and constant reminders, but I’ve stopped using the words ‘just’ and ‘only’ to describe any of my runs.

So to all of the runners starting out, or partners giving running a go, don’t compare yourself, and be proud of yourself, no matter what the speed or distance is. And to all the runners out there, please try not to use these words to describe your runs, because someone out there would kill to run at your pace, no matter what that pace is. As a general rule, encourage those less experienced than you and know that those with more experience are there to help out and offer advice.

Be kind to each other out there.

The Alpine Challenge

In my last post, I spoke about crewing trail runs, so I thought the only logical follow up post would be The Alpine Challenge. This was by far my husbands hardest race to date, and also the hardest race I’ve had to crew. So strap in everyone, because for a race so epic, this post is also going to be epic (sorry!).

The Alpine challenge is a race in November that starts and finishes in Falls Creek. It has 4 distances, of which Brody was tackling the longest – 160km. It tackles 6 major climbs including Mt Feathertop, Mt Hotham, Mt McKay, Spion Kopje, Mt Nelse and Victoria’s highest mountain – Mt Bogong. This accumulates to over 7000m of elevation gain. This absolute monster has the tagline of the toughest mountain trail run held in Australia, and was Brody’s first attempt at the 100-mile distance.

I think Brody decided about 18 months in advance that he wanted to tackle this event, but even then, it took months of going back and forth of whether or not he was actually going to do it. Once he’d finally pulled the trigger and registered, we booked annual leave and began having hundreds of conversations about the logistics.

It is safe to say that any race of this size and magnitude have a huge number of things to consider, plan and organise. Everything from the best training strategy, who we should ask to crew, how to get there, where to stay, how much leave we need to take vs how much we have. Every tiny aspect has to be thought out and planned (as this was an interstate race) in advance and Brody has many skills but planning is not one of them. So I became his idea backboard, every thought about the race he had, he bounced off of me….. every single one, for months.

This was possibly the most challenging aspect of the entire race, surviving the training and planning aspects of it. So spouses beware, when your partner mentions wanting to run a ‘bucket list’ or ‘big ticket’ race, prepare yourself to know every detail and help planning all of the nuances.

But back to the actual race weekend:

Brody’s aunt and uncle have a house in Bright so we arranged with them to stay there a couple nights before and the night after. We also worked out that the crew team would include our friend Sally, as well as Brody’s parents. Brody, Sally and I would take one car down (Car One) and Joy and Ian would take another (Car Two).

We made it there on the Thursday, and the race was Saturday/Sunday. First regret for the weekend was how we spent Friday. It was consensus (from Car One), that it would be a good idea to visit every checkpoint, to avoid getting lost on race day. This turned out to be WAY longer than anticipated, unnecessary and we were all absolutely exhausted by the end of the day. We would have been much better to play tourist for the day, suss out a few of the harder to find checkpoints and check out a bit more of the area.  Lessons for next time: don’t drive 250kms on windy mountain roads the day before having to drive 250 kms on windy mountain roads.

Friday night involved race briefing, registration and gear check at Falls Creek with a very nervous Brody. Then it was back to Bright where we went through the plan for next day again, made sure everything was ready to go, and then went to sleep (or tried to in between the epic snoring from the other room).

Car One was up at 4am to get Brody to the start line; fun fact – big races start at unfortunate times. It was an amazing atmosphere with so many nervous runners setting off for an alpine adventure, with both the 100km and 160 km races starting at the same time.

After a short race briefing, some last-minute racing to the toilets and very little fanfare, they were off…

Sally and I decided to get our day underway and made our way to the first checkpoint. We were exhausted from Friday and the early morning, so we had a strategic nap in the car before we started the hike to the first checkpoint. Did I not mention that to some of the checkpoints you have to hike to get to them?

We parked with the other devoted crew members, and then hiked the seven kms to the first checkpoint carrying any gear Brody thought he might need. We arrived a good while before Brody might have got there and begun ‘the wait’. We snacked, we cheered on other runners, we waited… and then our man came!

He was 20km in by this point and looking kind of ok. When he checked into the checkpoint I overheard the following exchange with the volunteer and thought we might be in for a long day

B – “this is the hardest thing I have ever done”

V – “yeah it is pretty tough race, it gets worse before the end”

B – “no, that was the toughest 20k I have ever done, I hope it gets easier from here”

V – “oh…. Umm”

The plan was for a quick shirt change (he had started in a long sleeve thermal as it was so cold and early), get some food in and get him back on the course ASAP. But he needed to sit down and take a few moments to recentre himself. I know that he was already beginning to have second thoughts about what he had gotten himself into. After about 5 – 10 minutes he realised how much time he wasted and got out of there, before realising he hadn’t changed his shirt. The next section of course included two more of the big climbs, two river crossings and about 30kms before we would see him again.

Our plan was to wait at the checkpoint as checkpoint one was also checkpoint three. As we waited though, we began to freeze, it was a very exposed spot with nothing to do and no shelter to sit under. So after holding out as long as we could, we eventually just got too cold and made the decision to walk back to the car. Seven kms later we were back at the car and warmed up with some tea from Sally’s thermos (kudos to her for a brilliant idea!!). Lesson Learnt No. 2: Pack warm tea for checkpoints, don’t plan to stay at checkpoints if you can’t easily get in chairs and things to do.

In between the car and the checkpoint was a lovely alpine marsh, some serious hills and some pretty rough track. After a short stay at the car to warm ourselves, and a walk through the marsh to ‘use the bush facilities’ we started to worry we would miss him if we didn’t start the trek back, so back up we went.

When Brody did eventually come back into the checkpoint, he was about 50km into the race and I wish I had a photo. His hair (which can only be described as a lion’s mane at the best of times) was out and in fine form, his vest was still on, but his long sleeve shirt was off (he was overheating in the valley), and he’d found a long stick to hike with. He honestly looked like a wild man who’d been lost in the bush for a month. I ran down 100m to meet my jungleman. He was in serious struggletown…

So began the start of the same question… “What should I do? Should I drop?”

My answer.. “I’m sorry my love, I can’t decide that for you..”

He also tried to ask the others, but they too would not make the decision for him. With this race, you have to decide by the 80km mark if you’re going to drop your distance, from the 160 km to the 100km, and it was clearly weighing on his mind already.  

Its heartbreaking watching your loved one go through this.

They’ve trained every day for months and months, only to be in so much agonising pain both mentally and physically. When Brody asked me what he should do, there was no way I had the right to tell him what to do. I encouraged him, told him that I loved him, and said I would be proud no matter what he decided. I told him to listen to his body, push as much as he wanted, and this is what he did.

So after hiking 28kms for the day, and being up since 3:30am, Sally and I finally made it back to the car at about 3 pm. We were sore, exhausted and ready to go back to the house. However, the house was an hour and a half away and Brody was only an hour or two away from his next checkpoint; so it didn’t make sense to go back. This brings me to Lessons Learnt No. 3 stay as close as you can to race, so you can pop back home to recharge your own batteries.

So instead we made our way to the next checkpoint. By this point it was late afternoon, and Car Two met us for the next couple checkpoints. The idea being that they would then take over for the night shift. As mentioned in my previous post, they always pack lots of food and I remember going to town on a huge packet of chips, where the salt was very welcome.

As Brody came into the Checkpoint Four (65kms in) it was clear he was getting more and more wrecked, was in a world of pain and wanted to throw in the towel but ever the trooper, he decided to keep pushing forward. He got a bit of a lift in his spirits when he saw his parents and I know he really tried to be positive and look alright, so they didn’t worry, but I don’t think anyone was fooled.

Dropping to the 100kms was obviously still very much on his mind but a few of his friends had been through Checkpoint Four 10 minutes before him and they said if he could catch them then they would stick together through the night and get the race done as a team.

I don’t think I realised what this would do to Brody in the state he was in, obviously such a kind gesture was not lost on him and he broke down and cried a bit when I told him, he was truly touched that they were thinking of him. So he determinedly marched into the encroaching darkness with the hope of things turning around and catching them.

We decided to surprise him between Checkpoint Four and Five as it was at Checkpoint Five he would have to make the decision on whether to drop to the 100km race or not. When he shambled up to the car along the side of the road it was clear that things had not turned around for him.

As both cars were there he let us all know that he had decided to drop down to the 100km race and was going to try and finish it. He was devastated and apologised a number of times for “dragging us all of the way out here, only to fail” but promised that he would get the 100km race finished and wouldn’t DNF it. I think as discouraged as Brody was, he knew he made the right decision. I hated seeing it though.

Brody tromped off into the alpine fields, and the encroaching thunderstorm, and Car Two went off to meet him at the last checkpoint before the finish line. We were well into the night by this stage and Sally and I were completely exhausted, so we drove to the finish line instead of attempting the long trip home (through the dark and in bucketing rain making it was impossible to see any road lines).

We thought we’d have a sleep in the car… LOL. I think Sally managed to snatch a bit of sleep but I was too sore, tired, emotionally drained and definitely a little delirious by this point as well. It didn’t matter how exhausted I was, I could not get comfortable, and I could not sleep. When Brody messaged to say he was almost there, we got out the car and met Brody’s parents at the finish line. At this point, it was between midnight and one am. Where we had to stand in the cold, stare into the darkness and wait to see his headlamp, little did we know that he was lost in a bog about two kms from the finish line. Eventually we saw a light appear around the corner and the shambles left of my husband began the slow 200m trot down to the finish line. 

The finish line was a little disappointing if I’m being honest. It was the middle of the night, no one was around (except the one person who enters the finishing times in and gives you your medal) and nothing was open. So the usual stalls, cheering and crowds were non-existent. So Brody had only us to cheer him down the hill and celebrate as he crossed the line.

He was wrecked.

It was a mixture of emotions as he finished. I don’t think he realised just how tough it was going to be and was mentally and physically completely spent by the time he crossed the line. To say he had nothing left in the tank would be a serious understatement.

When your partner doesn’t finish a huge goal that they set out to do, it can be the hardest part of crewing. Having just completed (arguably) the toughest 100km trail run in Australia, he was still disappointed, upset and a bit ashamed. He also said he felt silly for having all of us travelled that way for him when he couldn’t get the run done. This is almost gut wrenching because none of us thought that at all! We all wanted to be there for him, he could have pulled out after 10km and it still wouldn’t have mattered!

Once Brody got his medal, we found a room with couches (why couldn’t we find this earlier?!) and a bathroom with showers. He couldn’t walk, he could barely talk, and was absolutely spent. I helped walk him to the bathroom where I showered him and helped him get changed after. Once with the others again, we all climbed into the cars where it was back to Bright to all collapse.

The recovery from this race was HUGE, it took him more than a week to recover any sort of semblance of physical normality and emotionally much longer to get over it. If you ask him now I am sure he will tell you that it was a great race, he is glad he did it and is proud of his efforts. But he is my husband and I see through his polite white lies, he still has an axe to grind and wants to get back out there and settle the score. And when he does, I will be his crew chief, I will support him through the months of training and organising, and I will be there at the finish line when he smashes it.

I would love to finish this massive blog with an equally massive thank you to my amazing in-laws for making the trip over with us and to our amazing friend Sally who supported Brody and who was there by my side the whole time. I definitely could not have crewed that one without you all!

And to my superman, I still can’t believe he finished that race, you make me so proud. Physical strength aside, the mental strength he showed was amazing. He’s done a few 100km races since then but nothing compares to the Alpine Challenge.

Like lots of you out there, who have partners that have gone back to give a race another go, I’m sure my husband will do the same and one day will finish what he started all those many months ago.

It’s Crew O’Clock

After all the prep, discussions and planning, we’ve finally made it to race day!!

A very stressful, but fun part of being an ultra runners partner, is crewing them on race day.

Some races definitely need their own blog entry like The Alpine Challenge (for those that don’t know, this is a 160km race through the Falls Creek alpine region), but for this blog post, it will be more generalised post on the races I’ve crewed.

Crewing a race involves three main areas; Pre race morning, Aid stations and the Finish line.

Race morning usually starts with Brody’s alarm going off, and him “sneaking” out the bedroom and me trying to get back to sleep while he stomps around in the other room. This is all done at stupid o’clock in the morning because Brody insists on getting to the start line WAY before he needs to.

For some of the colder or earlier events, like Tower Trail in Mt Gambier, I don’t bother getting changed out of my PJs; this is trail running not a fashion show. I just put on Brody’s dressing gown over my pyjamas, and drop him off like that. In fact, you may have seen me at the start of a race or two before dressed like that (and luckily, I’m not always the only loving spouse dressed like this).

So after a quick kiss for good luck, you see them off and then what do you do?

You start your very long day…

Your day now revolves around timing every aspect of what you are hoping to fit in around some very lose time windows (“I might be here at this time if things are going well, or much later if they have started to go badly”). As Brody has gotten more experienced these time windows have shrunk considerably, but they can still vary by over an hour. I’ve also stopped getting to the checkpoint quite so early (having used to be at each checkpoint at least half hour to an hour early). With this, I am getting better at working out travel time, aid station time and what can I actually do in between.

Now, if a race is closer to home and, depending how far apart the checkpoints are, you might be able to come home for while. However, usually its not feasible, or just not worth it. This is where it gets tricky because as I said, it all comes down to timing.

I have found that often getting out and going for a walk nearby the checkpoints is a great way to see a little bit of the course but still feel like you aren’t too far away from the action in case you need to race back. But even when you’re walking, you’re constantly stressing about time, how far you can walk for, what time you need to get back to the car etc. So usually if I can fit in one walk I’m doing well.

Thinking back to Tower Trail Run, I remember going for a walk, panicking that I wouldn’t have enough time, hooking it back to the car (despite being injured), only to actually get back with over an hour to spare… Also on Tower Trail, it was so cold that I ended up walking a total of 15km in between checkpoints just to stay warm! I was surprisingly sore the next day, but because Brody had run an ultra, I really didn’t feel like I could complain!

Crewing when you don’t know a lot of people can occasionally feel a little lonely, but as I’ve crewed more events (usually I have to introduce myself because Brody is terrible at introducing me), I have met more people and am slowly coming out of my shell. This has been hard, because I’m naturally quite a shy person. I’ve often felt like I don’t fit into Brody’s running world either, because I’ve never considered myself as a runner (now that’s another blog post). It’s also hard, because everyone is constantly telling me how amazing Brody is and how much they love him. And I get it! I think he’s amazing and love him too!

However, now I know a few more people, I love cheering everyone on as they go past, and have even had a few people come up to me at the finish line to thank me for my encouragement. This is why I really love trail runners; they’re all so friendly!

Now, getting to the checkpoint at the right time is one thing, but knowing what your partner will need at the checkpoint, is just as important.

This I’m pretty comfortable with now because I’ve done this quite a few times. I’ll always have two soft water flasks ready with dirty water (this is what Brody calls his electrolyte water) so that he can give me his empty two and I can give him two fresh ones straight away. I’ll also have a few gels ready, a few lollies and depending on what checkpoint I’m at, I’ll also have salt tablets ready (in case he’s started cramping). Then in the boot of the car, I’ll spread out a few miscellaneous items that Brody might need so that they’re ready to grab if needed. This might include fresh socks, muesli bar, sunscreen, Band-Aids or a fresh t-shirt.

I must admit that initially I thought that Brody would want to stop and chat, sit, have some food and I got quite upset (?) when he would be in and out like a flash. It wasn’t until I did a long hike one day and Brody met me at checkpoint (the one time he needed to crew me instead) and I just wanted to grab a couple of things, and then be off as quick as I could, and I think that moment helped me a lot.

Your runner will often be in pain when they get there or in a rush to get out of the checkpoint as quickly as possible. This means they will be grumpy, short and often not very considerate that you have been waiting 2 hours for them to turn up. Unfortunately this is part of the gig, they don’t mean to be like that and will return to themselves either at the finish line or when they can walk normally again.

My mum (such a bloody good egg) has also come along to keep me company for about 5 races and I really love these days. We get to spend the day together; we might have a coffee or go for a walk together. As she is an avid hiker, if the race is in an area she is familiar with, then she’ll often know where the checkpoints are, how far apart they are, and I don’t have to stress quite so much.

Brody’s parents have also crewed about 3 races with me and these days have been fun too. Usually I’ll do the start line and the first couple check points and then they’ll join me for the next few, which is great, because I know I’ll never starve! They pack food, a table and chairs and we’ll often play cards or games at the checkpoints while we wait for Brody.

With all the parents, we’ve got a system down pat and have worked out it’s much better if I’m the one who organises what Brody will need and am the first point of contact when he comes in to judge just how poorly he will behave.

Once you’ve done the final checkpoint, its finish line time! There’s still some stress about when to get there, but finally you can take your tired body (although you can’t say that aloud because your partner has been running all day) to your own finish line. Usually it’s wet (don’t know why) or at least cold, and I’m rugged up in all my layers waiting for my superman to finish.

You get nervous about what physical and mental state they’ll be in, but being at the finish line makes you feel like you’re really there for them and I know it means a lot to Brody when I am at the finish line. I like to think the other runners appreciate the partners being there as much as he does and usually you can see a few tears on both sides of the fence at the finish line of an ultra.

Usually I have no idea what to say to Brody at the end, and I’m pretty sure there’s nothing at that point that can help, so I just give him a big hug (yes, he’s sweaty and disgusting at this point but I don’t care), point him in the direction of the brownies (or let him collapse) and tell him that I love him and that I’m super proud of him.

He is after all…

My Superman

Pre-Race Rituals

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.