There's a learning curve.
First of all, you have to know how to convert kilometers to miles, otherwise your spouse comes home and tells you they signed up for a 5k or a 10k and you won't know whether to be impressed until you Google it when no one is looking.
You'll act thrilled but secretly wonder why they pay to run, as if running was actually an enjoyable way to spend your leisure time and not the self-punishing activity that it is. But you will nod and smile because it makes you happy to see your spouse happy.
And then it's race time.
This will be totally new to you. It's a world you didn't know existed.
For starters, the men need to put Band-Aids on their nipples during long races so their T-shirt doesn't rub them off, which should tell you just about all you need to know about how weird this is going to be.
You'll arrive early so your spouse can register. The race people like to set up shop in a school, which is good because you brought your kids and they couldn't care less what's going on and just want a playground, dang it.
In the cafeteria, volunteers sit at long tables handing out paper numbers to the runners. If you're lucky, you'll be entertained by some hippy-dippy sayings painted on the walls, meant to motivate the rising generation to "think interdependently."
The volunteers staffing the event are really nice, and they even throw in free safety pins to put on the paper numbers you essentially paid $35 to receive. (Note to self: look into bronzing the numbers because they were pretty expensive as far as pieces of paper go.)
Your spouse will disappear to do whatever kind of warm-up it is that he does, and you'll corral the kids at the playground and secretly gawk at all the other runners around you doing strange things to get ready for the race: skipping, hopping, running on tippy-toes, doing crane yoga poses, and bouncing around like Rocky before a fight.
There will be a few people running in very bizarre outfits, who you'll casually take pictures of in the starting line while pretending you're just photographing your spouse. Even if it isn't a themed run, you'll likely see someone in drag. Just a heads up.
Since it's your first race, you'll have no clue what's going on. You don't know where to stand or at what points you can see best. There are no signs and no maps, you just have to follow the crowd and remember it for next year.
You'll have to learn to estimate how fast your loved one runs so you can figure out approximately when you need to be at the finish line or the other view points along the trail, and if you have kids with you you'll probably miss it anyway because you're trying to contain a meltdown over a troublesome flip-flop when your runner goes by.
People will bring cowbells to the finish line, and even though you had no idea noisemakers were a thing here, you'll still be covered because you brought your kids.
|Lining up the kids for high-fives as Phillip crosses the finish line.|
When your spouse finishes, you'll be insanely proud of them. But you do not, under any circumstances, want to give them a hug of congratulations or let the children touch them: they are dripping with sweat.
Next time, you'll remember to bring a towel for them to sit on in the car on the way home.
Like I said, there's a lot to learn.