Living Out Loud
April 1st, 2024

Wonder Woman

At the end of a 50-miler
At the end of a 50-miler

I've been calling my wife Wonder Woman for so long that people who've never met her call her that too. She gets that name because she's a miraculously fit endurance athlete (and 13X grandmother). I long ago lost count of the number of marathons she's run or the number of 100-mile bike rides she's completed. When we met (at a cycling event I organized), I too had my endurance bona fides. Our honeymoon was a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. We covered 2,189 miles in 156 days. That was eleven years ago. In the interim, I've had two total knee replacements and she's taken up ultra-marathon running.

Her first year at the longer-than-a-marathon distances, she won a 50K, a 50-miler, a 100K and a 100-miler. She has some seasons better than others, as most athletes do. 2024 has been pretty good for her so far. She dipped down in distance and ran a local 5K for one reason only. It has a cash prize, and she wanted the dough for a new pair of running shoes. It's not like she can't afford them otherwise. She's associate vice-president for finance and controller at the university where we both work full time.

Next Saturday she's signed up for a 100-mile race, The Umstead 100 in Raleigh, NC. She's been training for the race for months, getting up on workdays at 4:00am to run and completing long, long training distances on the weekends. I've served as her crew since she started running ultras. I mix her sports drinks, keep her food sorted out, remind her to change her socks, apply bandaids, give hugs - whatever the situation calls for. Luckily, my sister-in-law, Maria, and my 8th-grade grandson, Aiden, are joining me for the next race. We will be on the course for at least 24 hours.

To top everything. Wonder Woman messaged me today right before quitting time to let me know about a last-minute business trip she has to make. Her plane leaves for San Antonio on Sunday, just hours after she completes running 100 miles and staying awake for God knows how long. I doubt she will even be able to get her swollen feet into dress shoes on Monday. There's Type A personalities, and then there's Wonder Woman. I won't even get a chance to baby her after her ordeal and I'm feeling kind of robbed.