Why Crewing is Harder Than Running 100 miles.

Crewing is harder than running 100 miles. That’s right, I said it.  Look, you train for 100 miles (in theory). It’s you goal to finish, to PR, to win, whatever, but it’s yours. Then you rope in friends, family, whoever to spend day and night (and maybe day again) taking care of you. There is no training to crew (unless you count daily life with children). We are thrown into this crazy world that YOU chose and we play the hurry up and wait game. All the while you run, that’s it! You just have to put on foot in front of the other! How nice that must be…

I have 5 kids, I know how to handle little people, this makes me a great crew person. Every ultra runner pulls a Benjamin Button at some point in 100 (even front runners to a degree). They forget to eat and drink, can’t speak, and possibly have soiled their pants. They need a Mom. They need someone to think for them. They need help. As the crew person it is your job to know your runner. To know when they will make mistakes. To know when they need help. To brief their pacer even after they have, “now he said he won’t want you to tell him to drink more, but do it anyway”. So Mom you become, and being a Mom is hard.

Now lets add in the driving all over the place. Directions are great in theory, but when you are in the middle of nowhere with no cell service and directions that the race director came up with, “yeah that’s good enough, everyone knows where mount Timmy is and they will totally understand the aid station is to the left most corner of the right face”,  it’s stressful. What if you are late? You have everything they need! What if this messes up their entire race? It’s a lottery race they will never get in again! YOUR race lies in MY hands and I’m in the middle of nowhere…. Heart attack time.

And now it’s dark. Yay. I really don’t like the dark as it is, and I’m tired. A little nap? No time for that. All those splits they gave you? yeah they are totally off them now. You have been trying your best all day to predict when they will come in and they screw with you every time. Don’t they know this is messing with your game? No nap, push through, light will come, shit I haven’t ate or drank anything all day…

Eventually they finish. You are elated for them. Now they want to relive EVERY second of the race with you. While you try and pin your eyelids open and convince then you aren’t sleeping through their exciting tales they decide they need EVERYTHING from the care parked nearly 20 miles away (or 50 yards, whichever). You feed them, change them (maybe just bring them a change of clothes but it’s all the same), and get them warm. Sleep? I would love some… Then they ask about your day, how everything when for you ALL day long. The moment you begin sharing they beginning snoring… Sigh…

Now if your runner drops it’s even worse! All you will hear about for the next 2 months is the “shoulda”, “coulda”, “woulda”… There is no winning. You will agree they shouldn’t have quit and they will be upset that you didn’t push them. You will tell them they could have kept going and they will convince you they couldn’t have walked another step (although they did walk down to the car to leave, but who’s counting).

Alas, the panic attack, Mothering, stressing, multiple runs to the car, driving, getting lost, lugging huge bags, planning stuff, overthinking, organizing, reorganizing, life of a crew person is hard. You silly runners putting one foot in front of the other for 100 miles have it pretty darn easy.

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