There are plenty of bad habits in the world. Lord knows that I partake in many of them. One of the worst habits is running. I can attest to this personally because I’m married to a woman who’s idea of a good time is chugging up a mountain for 16 miles in 90-degree heat or chugging down a pre-fabbed 26.2 miles in rain that’s coming down in sheets.
She gets into her rituals of donning skin-tight running clothes (that part I don’t mind at all) or greasing up her nethers with Vaseline so she doesn’t chafe (that part I actually offer to help with, or at least get a good seat for), getting her water bottles straight and filled with Gatorade (she prefers the regular as opposed to the more exotic colors), downing a banana, kissing me goodbye and then setting off on a run that’s roughly the distance of China’s Great Wall.
Come competition time, it’s getting up before dawn, getting all the gear, finding the goddamned safety pins so she can strategically place the bib on her outfit so it’s not in the way. Then it’s a car trip into the teeth of 10,000 – 35,000 similarly-obsessed freaks, some of them who are so thin as to be akin to AIDS patients. I’ve personally seen full-grown dudes who could be the Olsen Twins’ stunt doubles. It’s then waiting for up to 90 minutes before the race is actually due to start, getting a peck on the cheek goodbye before the gun sounds and the streets of whatever city we’re in are awash in a sea of humanity checking heir heart rates and syncing up GPS watches.
Then comes the waiting.
My wife averages roughly 3 1/2 hours to run a marathon. In LA you can’t even drive that far in the city in that amount of time. So that’s a very impressive time, especially for a woman. But it’s still 3 1/2 hours of looking for something to do, sometimes in a foreign city, with nothing open because you’re usually up earlier than farmers.
In New York it wasn’t a problem, because, well, it’s New York. In Santa Clarita, CA it’s more problematic. You thank your lucky stars that the local Coffee Bean decides to open early, and you’re pretty much ready to kiss a bible when the Target opens at 8:00. Few can make a trip to a Target last as long as I can. In Boston last year, the Noreaster hit the day of the marathon and the entire city was pretty much like New York was in The Day After Tomorrow. Yet the wife still strapped on her gear and we went out into the maelstrom and she ran the damned thing. That was my first trip to Boston and all I saw that weekend was the convention center, some park and the finish line – which was in the same area as the convention center. Oh, and I saw the local supermarket across from my hotel and a bowling alley.
I haven’t even gotten to the financial aspects yet. The woman goes through shoes like a kid in puberty. There’s race fees, running gear fees, and my own self-entertainment expenses during the duration of the races.
If you’re going to try a bad habit, might I recommend something more reasonable – like booze or cigarettes, snoring or farting silently in public or around your loved ones. Your friends and family can see you through those. There’s even support groups for many bad habits, but I’m on my own for supporting my wife’s.