I do NOT expect my family to be at every race I run.
Races start early.
Races are not always easy to maneuver through the course, let alone make it to the finish line.
Races require patience.
From the time my kids were little, they have been amazing troopers. They have cheered me on in Boston, spent the night for years in Detroit, and even ran with me at my first ultra. They go to my expos, make signs, and take pictures. We created "TEAM HARLESS" when they were little. We explained to them that we work TOGETHER as a Team. Sometimes we are on the side lines and sometimes we are in the spotlight. No matter what position we played, we were to encourage one another.
My kids understand this well. Especailly as they have gotten more involved in sports themselves. I have spent hours in sweaty basketball courts, I have sat watching them entire weekends, during holidays and even Mothers Day. But this is part of the Team: Sacrifice.
"Its is NOT always about YOU, We need to go and encourage....." I would recite or Andy would respond when one of the kids were grumbling.
My Team is bigger than just my immediate family. This was actually the first year mom and dad couldn't come see Andy and I run The Crim. They have come out and cheered for us for 10 years. They have shared hotel rooms with us, crewed me at my ultras and chased me all over courses.
And for that matter, My brother and sister in law are BIG supports all the way down in Florida. They both shared a room with me in Disney in January. My Brother got up at 3am in the morning to cheer me and Leeanne his wife on. And this year my sister in law, Deb was a huge support to me through prayer.
MY CREW: Team Harless
It is especially difficult as a spouse to crew you. But I think my poor mother in law was worse. Mom was a nervous wreck the entire time. You could see the fear in her eyes.
There were only 2 places that my crew could see me. Team Harless spent the entire day chasing and waiting for me to make it to the aid stations. And when I didn't come in at the time that they predicted mom had me fallen off the mountain, lost, raped and killed. Her mind went to the worst places.
Every time I saw mom at the aid stations I put my best smile on and tried everything to convince her I was doing GREAT! My family was not just waiting for me to cheer me on. They were chaperoning me to the bathroom, filling my hydration pack, removing clothing and dressing me. They were duck taping my blisters, feeding me and massaging my aching body. Andy was assessing me emotionally and physically. But Andys job didn't stop there.
Andy still had to pace me during the worst part of running Cloudsplitter, the last 15.6 miles.
I was exhausted. I had been running almost 14 hours by the time I had arrived at the Pound Gap Aid Station. I came in with David. Even though David had been pacing me for the last several hours, I was excited to pick up Andy to pace with us the final stretch to the Finish Line. I was glad that it was dark out, Mom and dad couldn't see how terrible I looked.
Andy was foot loose and fancy and itching to RUN. I can't say I felt the same. I just wanted to Finish. I really wanted to finish in under 20 hours, however; the 40 mile cut off resonated in my weakness as a good option.
This is where a good pacer makes all the difference.
I have never been babied by Andy. EVER. And I sure didn't need him to start now.
I didn't need him to coddle me.
I didn't need him to address my soreness and enable me.
I didn't need him to see me in my condition and run me that way.
WHAT I needed was what he gave me.
I needed him IN FRONT of me pushing me, leading ME.
I needed him telling me what I COULD do, what I HAD to do.
I needed him to accept me and work with me.
BUT don't BABY me.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."Andy was incredible.
"Your doing great Nita."
I didn't need Andy to pump sunshine up my butt, simple sentences, made a big impact.
"Stay on my heals, stay with me!"
I didn't need the reminder of what I was doing bad, which was falling behind, instead Andy was able to remind me what I needed to DO.
"Your almost there, just get to the top."
"You can run, that's it, pick it up."
"You are almost done, You have already ran ____ amount of mile/hours."
Andy didn't share a lot of dialogue with me, it was all in his timing. Being reminded of the victories that I had already overcome and the ones yet to come made all the difference. The last 5 miles David and Andy reminded me the finish line had a pork from the pig they roasted waiting for me. Like a rabbit chasing a carrot I couldn't wait to eat it. I craved it as part of my reward. It put a little pep in my step.
I have been reminded by my running partners that being a spouse as your crew is a hard job. I am not sure if it's being married for 20 years or if Andy is just "THAT GOOD", but he was awesome.
He waited until I finished to share what he was really thinking. "Anita, I have never seen you look that weak."
You run for almost 20 hours up and down a stinking mountain!
But I didn't say that, I didn't really say anything. Spouses often know you better than you know yourself. I was weak. At the end, my tank was empty. I was sick, nauseous, cold, fatigued, I couldn't even squat in the woods to pee I was so sore. I was filthy, dirty, smelly, after all due to the fact I couldn't squat I had peed on my legs and down my shoes. Weak was an understatement.
PHIL. 2:4-8 "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."
My in laws, they don't run, they don't even understand why you would punish yourself like that. But they LOVE me, The love me more than their routine, their comfort zone or their interests.
Even Andy, He make Facebooks posts, updates, he studied the course, he went without sleep, he even trained all summer just to be there for me.
Being a Team player is a SELFLESS job. You sit in the shadowlands of someone else. You do a lot of work for someone else to get the glory.
But TRUST me, there is something to be said about encouraging and helping others. If you want to feel happiness be a help to someone else with NOTHING in return.
Are you a help and an encouragement to others?
Or are you the kind who needs the spotlight?
Do you struggle being happy for others? Even comparing yourself to others?
Remember, There is no "I" in team.