Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On The Topic Of Support

Support is a strange thing. I need it just like anyone else needs it. No matter what you're doing - running, going to school, living life - without support, things get complicated quickly.

I could not be the runner I am today without having had support from my running club, the Lopers; from my running friends I met with the Lopers; from the countless, nameless people who have helped out during all the races I've ever ran; and of course from all of you blog readers who take time every, uh, day/week/once-in-a-while to read my blog and peruse my thoughts.

The one person who has supported me the most has been Mrs. LB. Now, she hasn't pushed me to do all the races I've done; she's helped keep me grounded and has helped temper my zeal because otherwise I would probably have signed up for more races than I've run and that may have been a bad idea. But she supports me and I know that if I sign up for a race, she'll be behind me.

But the rest of my family... well, not so much. This actually sounds more harsh than it is, but that's the truth. Not so much. I mean, they all realize how much I run and how running has helped me do certain things previously thought impossible. But Mrs. LB has been the only one in my extended family even that has been to my races. She hasn't been at all of them but she's been to at least one of my 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons and has been to all of my marathons.

My brother Jesse was at my last race, at the Diamond Valley Lake Marathon. He jumped at the chance to go with us to the race and was cheering me and other runners on, supporting his brother and the random strange runner in front of him as well. And that was great, knowing he was in my corner and supportive of my racing.

Now, I'm not necessarily complaining. I'm not having a sob-fest here, nor do I want to change the name of my blog to Weepy Runner. But I do find it a bit curious that there's been such little interest in just going out to one of my races. Distance running is such a difficult thing, and if all it takes to support me and my efforts during a race is just showing up, why hasn't anybody done that?

I've seen fellow runners' race pictures, mostly on FB, of races and some of them have this huge contingent of people out there with them, supporting them, cheering them on with signs and such.

Now, I get why some races wouldn't be that fun to attend. Crowds, traffic, the time commitment involved. A race-viewing experience that consists of an hours-long wait to get one glimpse at a loved one and swim upstream amongst the other salmon to find them after the race doesn't seem so appealing. I understand that, and in fact I've told and will continue to tell Mrs. LB not to go to certain races, such as the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, because it would be a big hassle for her to go - the only exception is my marathons; she's stuck having to support me at my marathons whether she likes it or not :)

As with everything, it sounds a bit rough in writing. "My family doesn't support me - waaaa!" Look, they support me, they back me because they are my family and they love me (I think, I hope, maybe not if they read this...). But I'm just struck at the disparity in the support some runners get and others don't.


Kerrie T. said...

That's why it's been really nice to get to know other runners/bloggers in my area. Built-in support system. I don't live by any family.

It's awesome that Mrs. LB supports you and I know your girls do, too. I just think non-runners don't get it. They don't get how hard running is because they haven't done it since the PE test in high school (or whatever). I bet it just doesn't occur to them. Have you told them you want them there?

Blanda Amania said...

Mrs. LB is a wonderful spouse to be behind you with your girls. I love that picture of your girls finishing your last marathong with you. My husband and children are pretty much my fan section for anything I do, really.

I totally understand where you're coming from. Some members of my family have even said that I'm crazy, and "Why?!". That alone has me keeping anything about my running to myself at family gatherings. No one in my circle of friends is willing to run more than a 10k. Running groups schedules don't work with mine. It was a lonely training session for my 1st marathon, and a lonely run, but having the Mr and kids at the finish totally made up for it all! I think in the end it has made me mentally tough and more disciplined than I would be otherwise. :)

Blanda Amania said...

Oh, geeze. That's marathon, not marathong. How embarrassing.

Detroit Runner(Jeff) said...

Your family sounds like mine. My Dad has been to a couple events, my aunt one, my kids two and my wife two. My wife will be at my first marathon. All the reasons you stated is why people are not there. Too long to wait, too early to get up, don't care about the running, boring, etc. I've come to the conclusion that the running is important to me but my family really does not care about it. Just like I don't care about something they might have an interest in. It is nice when they are there to support me at the beginning and end. I've tried to get my wife to find me in the middle of races but the effort is not there. I know pretty much where I'm going to be based on my pace and having that support in the middle would be nice too. So I rely on the crowd there to help get me through. Waaaaaaaa!! Haha!

R Hacker said...

I agree with you! My sister surprised me at my first half marathon and it was the best feeling ever! However, no one else seems to care - which is fine, I guess, so I just don't talk about running.

When I first started with Couch to 5K and was so excited, I told my aunt and uncle and my uncle cut me off to complain about how runners are so self-centered, talk about running all the time and never let up until they turn everyone around them into runners, too. He made it very clear that it wouldn't happen to him, so I shouldn't bother talking about it.

From that day, I haven't told anyone else about my running endeavors. I'm surprised with the lack of support, but I guess just used to it.

I can sob, too :)

tahoegirl said...

Um, yeah. We have had this discussion before. Leo is the only one who has gone to any of my races. My family was even visiting during last year's 25K and decided to go visit friends while I ran. No interest in it whatsoever. For the marathon I practically begged my mom to go and she declined. It would have been a free trip to Chicago for crying out loud. Have I shed tears over it? Yes. Do I care anymore? No. I know the most important person who I want to be there will be there (except this years 25K as he has to work. crap.)

Anonymous said...

I see what you mean... I am quite unlucky in the support department. I don't have any family nearby and my friends think that I am crazy just for running. I tried everything, but they will not come at the crack of dawn to see their friend running. Not even beer bribery worked... I have run almost all my races alone and without cheering support. Thank goodness that runners are a pretty friendly and cheerful bunch, so I always find some people for motivation and support during the actual races! :- ) And I have tons of virtual friends who support me remotely through the internet! :-)

Oh, and @Blanda, this marathong thing does exist! They were selling it at the Surf City expo this year. Ask Luis if you don't believe me!

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

I pick my battles when asking for support. I've ran so many shorter races, there's no point in my husband getting out of bed. I dragged him to one marathon, and the one ultra I did, but I don't expect him to show up at anything else. I'm slow, and I know it's boring to sit around waiting for me. Thankfully, I usually have people running with me, and that's good enough support for me.

But, I do get a little bit jealous at the people who have cheer squads at every race.

I guess I shouldn't be. I rallied about 12 people to come support me during my ultra, and that was AMAZING.

Amanda said...

I'm hoping to make it out again for the SF Marathon, but as a spectator/supporter and not a runner. I haven't gotten to do the whole spectator thing and I think it would be fun...maybe more fun haha