I know hate is a strong expression of feeling, but damn I hate the effort required – whether real or just perceived – in staying healthy for raceday.
I know it’s a common and much laughed at feeling among endurance athletes to be extra vigilant about staying healthy approaching raceday, but that doesn’t make our largely anti-social behavior any more palatable to our poor family and friends that must endure it during that time.
I feel like the resident village grinch. I’m OCD at the best of times and not that fond of engaging in close quarters with people I suspect to be ill, but that paranoia is dialed up to a 10 on the Richter scale one week out.
Just a couple of my laughable personal behavior changes include:
Turning handshakes into fist pumps.
Hugs – only if I feel absolutely necessary are executed with head tilted outwards to the side.
Cutlery taken from a communal rack is closely inspected and sometimes rinsed in a mug of boiling water if I feel its cleanliness is at all questionable
Trips to shops and the necessity to use cash or card machines are my worst. Just imagine how many sickly human hands may have potentially handled those mediums of exchange? If at all possible I hold items up to the cashier and let them scan them in my hands. Tap and pay cards, Zapper and Snapscan are my current best friends.
Where I can’t engineer the situation to avoid any contact, the application of anti-bacterial gel follows immediately I’m out of sight of the individual I’ve just interacted with so as to be polite and avoid casting aspersions on their personal cleanliness. It’s ME afterall, not them, and lastly
Hand-washing frequency is off the wazzoo
I often chuckle to myself as I carry out many of these ridiculous practices but console myself that if they give me just a 10% better chance of getting to raceday healthy, then the relatively short period of odd behavior was definitely worth it.
My absolute worst though, is not being able to kiss the beautiful faces of my wife and daughters. Gabi – our seven-year-old has been carrying a cold for the last 3 weeks odd. I’ve worked hard at trying to get her better with regular saline nose washes, multi-vits, a nebulizer for her cough and other assorted meds. But despite those efforts the little tyke still has a snotty nose that has forced me into less physical contact and many blown kisses.
My lovely wife also developed a nasty cough which had me sleeping a few nights in a separate bed in the cottage – just to be safe.
Somehow the people you love most often get sick during this May month and changing of the seasons making it just that much more difficult.
When my Mum said to me last night “I hope this is your last Comrades (it will be my 5th) so your long-suffering wife doesn’t have to endure your ridiculous anxieties again”, it did highlight to me what a horrible part of ultramarathon events the last few weeks are.
So just 9 more days of this stupidity, and then maybe even more gratifying then my medal, will be eating with my hands, shaking hands with everyone I see, and kissing those lovely faces until they beg me to stop.