Sound Familiar? - Orange Mud, LLC

Sound Familiar?

I’ve spent plenty of time over the past few years at ultramarathon events; from packet pick-ups to aid stations to finish lines, and I’ve gained an appreciation for some of the shared experiences of those of us left behind when the starting gun sounds.  I’ve met some wonderful people along the way and have relished in the chance to laugh, cry, worry, and celebrate alongside one another as we support our runners.  In addition to sharing food stuffs and first-aid supplies, we have learned that living with our runners means we tend to hear the same questions over and over and OVER again! 

Regardless of your runner’s level of experience or running community involvement, I have a feeling you’ll be able to relate to at least a few of these.  And if, by chance, these questions haven’t yet been uttered by your runner, consider yourself forewarnedJ

Honey, where’s my butt cream?  No kidding.  This question never gets old, and my immaturity gets the best of me. Every. Single. Time.  It’s really awesome when he hollers this in front of family and friends, or in a public place!  I can’t even describe the expressions this question garners.  Our youngest child has been out of diapers for approximately 14 years now, but here I am, still venturing down the baby aisle, picking up butt cream.  Worse yet? He can never seem to find one of a dozen partially used tubes when he needs it most!  

Sound Familiar

Have you seen my head lamp?  Yes, as a matter of fact I have.  It’s in the pile of gear on your nightstand.  Oh, wait…no, it’s in the kitchen junk draw along with all your extra cords, chargers, shoe ties, and abandoned headphones.  On the other hand, have you checked your gear bag? Car? Bottom of your closet? Under the bed?  How about your tool box?  Ummm, on second thought, do me a favor.  Take your hand and touch your forehead…there you go.  Found it!

Are we out of pickle juice?  Ahhhh…the magic elixir!  The power of the pickle juice!  Not just the ultimate cramp reliever, it’s become his go-to and in some cases, the ONLY thing that he can keep down during a race.  Therefore, we are NEVER out of pickle juice.  If I had the patience or time to learn how to can (sorry for not listening to your wisdom, grandma!), I’d be jarring and canning and pickling like a mad woman!  As it stands now, we always have at least 2 large jars of pickles in our fridge at all times and more often than not, we have pickle juice pops on-hand in our freezer. Don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried itJ

Are you talking to me?  I’ve had entire conversations with him, only to find out he either had his ear buds in or he was so focused on reading/watching a new post by one of his favorite fellow runners, he didn’t hear a word.  I’ve also had many a conversation while he bear crawls across the floor or as he hangs upside down from the door frame.  I’ve found that sometimes, he is most able to focus when he’s doing repetitive work-out routines.  Planking, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, bear crawls, wall sits…all great times to get in his face and grab his full attention!  Some of our more serious decisions have been made while I’m holding his sweaty feet in the air so he can do handstand push-ups.  No lie!

Did you pack the beer?  Of course I did.  Silly boy.  There is a well-documented relationship between ultrarunners and their penchant for beer.  The brands vary, but there seems to be a stronger than average following for classic old-school (PBR, Miller High Life, etc.), as well as craft and IPA’s.  Whether the race ends with celebratory cheers or commiserating tears, beer is both part of the ceremony and part of the recovery (or so I’m told!).  This holds true for him AND me.  After chasing him around the woods all day, being at his beck and call, I think I deserve a little indulgence as well!

What do you think about (fill in the blank) for our family vacation this year? Insert any number of God-forsaken places with names like Bad Lands, Death Valley, Salt Flats, Tombstone, Devil’s Den, Bloody Springs, or Satan’s Kingdom.  The question is innocent enough, but don’t let that fool you!  There is most certainly a race in the vicinity which they are either considering, or have already signed up for! The race names are even more reassuring that you are headed for a fantastic time; Blood Rock, Hurt 100, Devil Dog, Lost Soul Ultra, Sinister, and Hell Hole.  I mean, honestly, who doesn’t want to spend a week in Slaughterville or Gnaw Bone checking out the sites??!!

Can you help me with my manbun?  Okay…this one makes me giggle.  It all started on a lazy weekend afternoon when I casually glanced over at him and said, “You know, I bet I can French braid your hair!” “No way!” he said.  Not one to turn down a challenge, I quickly went to work.  And, it looked fabulous!  He was shocked, but admittedly, he liked the fact that it kept his hair out of the way.  That little experiment led to teaching him how to use hair bands to create his very own manbun.  Having only manchildren in our family, little did I know my first hairstyle tutorial would be with the hubster.  Now we’re adding hair ties to the ever-growing list of packing needs for race day!

Does this look pretentious? As he stands here shirtless in bike shorts, sporting what seems to be the obligatory facial accessory better known as a trail beard, a sexy DIY manbun, and sunglasses, all while striking a pose.  No, love of my life, you don’t look pretentious.  You look confident.  Strong. Fierce. Manly.  Powerful.  Prepared.  Fearless.  But your humility and willingness to encourage others to unleash their best selves, leaves no room for pretension or conceit.  So, own it, live it, and just do you!

Why do you put up with me?  Because I love you.  You’re all kinds of crazy, but you’re mine…all mine! I was there when running was just a once-in-a-while way for you to blow off steam, and I’m here now as it has become a huge part of who you are and who you want to become.  I’m watching as you make your dreams come true, inspiring myself and so many others along the way.  I’ve even managed to find my own space within this zany community; embracing (and defending) the long-distance trail runner stereotypes of long beards, manbuns, beer talk, gear envy, taper madness, and trail-hoarding.  I’ll continue to document our journeys, offering glimpses of hope, humor, and insight and loving you more every step of the way!

So, if you see a short blond in a baseball cap wandering aimlessly in a grocery store baby aisle, elbow deep in pickling juice, or carrying a 30lb, triple-decker, all-you-will-ever-need first-aid kit across a grassy field, feel free to say, “Hi!” After all, we’re all in this together.  Sound familiar?

Sound Familiar