Over my not particularly lengthy running career, I have acquired a lot of stuff. I do believe in the sentiment that running can be an inexpensive hobby. That whole, “Just you, your running shoes and the road,” quotableness (yes, that’s a word) can be true. But I think for many distance runners who have been in the game for a while that saying goes more like, “Just you, one of your 5 pairs of running shoes, your Garmin, your fuel belt, your iPhone, your compression socks, your pretty matching running outfit (for the ladies at least), the road, and a date with your foam roller post-run.”
Yes, I do own all of these things… and I love them. But probably my favorite running accessory is FREE – and who doesn’t love free stuff!?
Now I am going to get all cheesy, though, and tell you that I am talking about my beloved support system. While I have done without a lot of my superfluous running gear in the past, and know I still could, I think one of the most valuable and necessary things that I have had for every training regimen and race so far has been my family. And they are amazing.
Running, and in particular distance running at the half marathon and marathon level with high personal goals, requires an immense amount of time, energy, and devotion. It requires me to be completely lame a lot of Friday nights, going to bed early in order to wake up early and squeeze in long runs. It doesn’t require me to talk to people non-stop about the state of my training schedule but, let’s be honest, I do that anyway.
I could go on and on, but essentially the point I am trying to make is that when running obsession reaches a life-altering level, it is so helpful to have the support of the people around you. I am fortunate enough to have a great support system and wanted to go ahead and brag about them just a little bit…
Jeremy was one of the first people to get me into running. We ran our first half marathon together (and by together I mean he ran very far ahead of me and we were together in spirit). To this day he is so supportive of my running and I love him so much for that. We joke about our bizarre grocery list during my training time. (I go through about 8 bananas, a bag of spinach, the greater part of a jar of peanut butter, and a package of English muffins to name a few per week… by myself.) When I am dwelling over something like selecting a training schedule, he offers to look at it with me and give his two cents. He may think the idea of running a marathon is a little crazy, but he doesn’t hold my desire to do it and put so much into it against me. Instead, he asks me how my runs go, celebrates my successes, and talks me through my setbacks.
My parents and brother are great because they always show an interest in my running. My dad used to run marathons and is a great source of advice and support. I can count on my parents to always double and triple (and sometimes quadruple) check to make sure I am not “over-doing it”. At the slightest utterance of an ache or pain over the phone parental concern mode engages. Both of my parents drove all the way to the Outer Banks to watch me run my first marathon and having them there along with Jeremy made a world of difference. They had plotted out 4 different places along the course to watch me pass by. If that isn’t expert cheerleading, I don’t know what is!
My brother is always asking me about my training and I always feel like his desire to know about it is genuine. He runs a lot and is also into mountain biking. If I ever have questions about injuries, shoes, other gear, or speed training, he has been my go-to source. I don’t know where he learns all this stuff, but I’m sure glad he knows it.
Since my whole family is in Virginia, I am so excited that they will all be able to be there on marathon weekend in November!
I am kind of joking, but kind of not. Juneau is always there to greet me at the door and promptly attempt to lick all of the sweat off me when I return from a run. Ew, thanks but no thanks. Juneau even attends races! She came to the Outer Banks Marathon and was an amazing cheerleader. The plan is for her to come to Richmond!
I don’t know what I would do without these amazing people. My goals are all the more in my reach because they are here, concerned, and involved. So, if you’re reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Who is a part of your support system? How do they show their support?