Support Crew

I received an email yesterday from a new runner. She wrote about the difficulty she is having with her friends and family supporting her goals. Physical support, someone to watch your kids for the 30 minutes you need to run or someone to come out and cheer you on as you complete your first race, is not always easy to come by. But the best support is not necessarily physical support. The best support is having someone believe in you, a support crew that is always there to encourage you, especially when you start doubting yourself.

I am lucky that my support crew lives with me. My husband and my children, especially my 7-year-old who thinks mommy is the bee’s knees, always believe in me. Last year when I decided a week before the Marine Corps Marathon that I would complete the marathon despite having hardly run in months, my family wondered why I would do that to myself but they never doubted that I could. There total belief in me made it easier to head out the door race morning and run for the finish line knowing that it might not be pretty but it would get done.

Having a support crew for my training and racing is important but in a houseful of athletes it almost comes naturally. We understand what it takes to get out there and what we need for ourselves so we are able to give back to each other as well. The harder part of being a support crew comes when one of us is really struggling just to get back out there.

Yesterday, I missed yet another run. The truth is I have not run in almost two weeks and I have beaten myself up about this almost everyday. But when my husband called yesterday afternoon and I confessed that I had missed yet another run, he said the perfect thing. He gave me a break.

“Ann, my jobs are laid out for me. I know what I have to do on any given day. But you do all the rest. You pick up the slack for everybody. You will get back out there but it makes sense you didn’t run today. You will get back out there. Don’t beat yourself up.”

Sometimes a support crew brings a backpack full of all the things you need for a race. Sometimes they sign up for a race to help pace you. But a true support crew does the most important thing of all, they believe in you.

Who is your support crew? What is the best thing they do for you throughout the year?