marathons · relationships · Running

To My Husband, Who’s About to Witness His First Marathon

My dear,

I’m so happy that you’re coming to watch me run a marathon. You’ve seen me run a few shorter races, but marathons, I have to tell you, are something else. As much as you’ve seen me run and as casually as I may talk about running, marathons are in fact a big deal. They’re not something I just breeze through, though some runners do. And marathons in general, especially one like the Marine Corps, aren’t just fun little ways to spend a weekend morning like the shorter races you’ve attended. They are EVENTS.

In light of that fact, here are a few tips from me to you. Also I love you.

DO expect my emotions to run the complete gamut…multiple times.

DO feel free to ask questions – about marathons; about the Marine Corps Marathon in particular; why I’m rubbing that stuff under my arms, etc.

DON’T worry if you have a hard time spotting me amidst the other runners.

DO wear layers. You’ll be moving around some, but there will also be a fair amount of standing around for you, and D.C. can be chilly this time of year.

DON’T use the on-site PortaPotties within the last 30 minutes before the race. Hold it and give the runners the right-of-way. Believe me, it’s better not to agitate a runner(s) who have a full bladder.

DO bring cowbells. Plural.

DON’T be shy about ringing them.

DO cheer loudly. It doesn’t even matter what you’re saying, as long as you’re making noise.

DON’T walk onto the race course unless there is a seemingly absurd amount of space between you and the next runner(s) coming along. As in, a quarter of a mile or so.

Did I mention cheering loudly?

DO feel free to talk to the Marines. They may not be very chatty, but sweetheart, you’re a military geek. Live it up.

DON’T be sad if I don’t acknowledge your cheers as I’m running along. Big races with lots of spectators are awesome because they have lots of spectators, but unfortunately it’s not always possible for a runner to pick out his/her support crew in the crowd.

DO keep your eyes peeled for cool D.C. landmarks – there are plenty of them on and around this course!

DON’T be alarmed if you see runners crying, slobbering, or vomiting as they finish the race. This is normal.

DON’T worry if I myself look…how shall we say…wretched…at any point during or after the race. If I’m on my feet, I’m okay.

DO expect a sweaty, staggering hug from me after I finish.

DO savor every moment. Seeing a marathon is seeing humanity at its finest (okay, I’m a little biased).

DON’T forget this: no matter how distracted I am, no matter what kind of race I have, I know that you’re taking time to be here with me and for me. Thank you. And I love you.

And I can’t wait for you to see this!!!

7 thoughts on “To My Husband, Who’s About to Witness His First Marathon

  1. Ahhh, I remember that New Orleans marathon – first time I watched you run a Marathon! Scared me – and was distressed your parents didn’t seem that upset – I was ready to call paramedics!! You bounced back quickly, though, and mom reassured me this was “normal.” Just listen for “RUN SHANNON RUN” and very loud cowbells from Texas!!

  2. Well said. Our’s is such a great sport – all the rest are games. As my dear old high school coach used to say, “You haven’t run well unless you toss your cookies at the end of the race!” Good luck and have fun!

    1. Yes, Chris, it would take decades, but I see no reason why that should make us throw up our hands in defeat.True, though I suspect money and effort would probably be more effectively spent trying to fix some of the more fundamental causes (eg iditteficanion and treatment of mental illnesses, people feeling extremely isolated in society) rather then trying to reduce the result of the problems. Even if you remove the guns, they’ll still be able to kill other people, just less in most cases.

  3. I literally cannot WAIT to run my first marathon, and hopefully I’ll persuade my parents (and a few friends) to come along for the ride and support. My dad was a runner in his days, so I think he’ll come! My goal race is like 2 weeks after the London Marathon; my athletics club always has a group of supporters go along to the LM, and I’m sure it’ll hit me then just what I’ve taken on!

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