Monday, 5 July 2010

The other side

OH has been buying his GB kit for the race in September. It's not a cheap business. One hundred spondoolies for a personalised one-zee. One hundred! But of course he has to have it so there's not really a lot of point in worrying about it. There's also the fleece to get, and the polo shirt specially inscribed with the details of the Hungary race so no one can resist buying it (I know OH has visions of himself wearing the damn thing at the gym after the race is over, I honestly don't think he'll even wear it at the actual Championships). It's like not wearing your University hoodie until a group of you head off to Alton Towers all wearing them once your Finals are over and you are no longer a student at aforementioned University (or was that just me?)

Anyway, the point of this post and where this is all leading, is that OH wanted to buy me a GB fleece that would match with his. I immediately and in no uncertain terms said no - there was no way I would wear something that I had not totally and 100% earned for myself (and also any one who knows me would fall about laughing if they saw me wearing it - the irony would be too great). He couldn't understand it. He seemed convinced that I deserved it. I ran it past my mother who agreed. Despite all the training and sweat and commitment OH shows, they both seemed to think that I deserved some of the praise and consequent sporting merchandise for sitting at home on my backside and being 'supportive'. Well, no, I'm underselling my supportiveness a little here: think back to the early morning starts at the lake and sitting in random pub car parks waiting for him to run up hills. But even so. I've hardly been cycling alongside him handing out water bottles a la Tour.

But it got me thinking about what role the other half of the OH (ie. me) plays in all of this triathlon business. OH's new nickname for me is Support Car. Which is quite cute assuming that he doesn't think I look like an actual car (unless it was a nice Carrera or something, they are quite sexy). I presume not. I guess it's just being that person who he can turn to for help in all matters triathlon. On race day I am: box carrier (this is the place where he keeps all the kit); list checker off-er (wetsuit - check, goggles - check, bike - check, you get the idea); time keeper ('honestly, the race is going to begin in 5 minutes, please start to get your wetsuit on now'); moral supporter; car driver; shouter of instructions during the race (think Capello pitch side); photo taker; spy and susser out of the competition; sustenance provider and general all round encourager. Wow. The list is seemingly endless.

And what about before race day? That's another kettle of fish. Probably the biggest thing I actually do to assist in these times is to let him get on with it. In reponse to the amount of time OH spends training we have devised a way to manage our lives. Wait for it. I am Home Secretary, leader of the Home Office and director general for all inward-facing home-related activities. I do the cleaning and the shopping and make all creative DIY decisions. OH is Foreign Secretary, and he looks after all outward facing tasks. Lawn mowing, sorting out the house insurance, speaking to the neighbours - these all fall under his umbrella. Which is handy seeing as they are all the jobs that I hate. And whilst they are the nastier tasks, they are also the ones which take less time and are more infrequent, meaning that he has plenty of time to fit in his training. I'm not saying that this approach would work for everyone, but it does for us and I'm sure OH would agree that this is my most worthy contribution to his sporting success.

Other than that there's the usual day-to-day 'support car' tasks:
  • advising on triathlon kit and co-ordination of bike to clothes
  • filming OH swimming at our local gym so we can watch it back later and analyse (that was actually quite embarrassing)
  • providing feedback as OH attempts to re-create the best swim stroke whilst lying on our lounge foot stool
  • going with him as he susses out the bike courses for never done before races
  • do you know, this list is going to get longer than all of the other posts put together so I may stop here, but you get the idea.

So when you put it quantitatively like this, I do do a lot! Maybe I should get that fleece after all. And the lady one-zee. And the shirt. And the tracksuit bottoms. And the swimsuit. Or maybe I just get an official looking T-shirt printed up with Support Car in big letters across the back.

Another PS

Oh, and before I forget, we found out last week that OH has also qualified for the full distance triathlon race at the Worlds - I am very proud...