Friday, March 03, 2006

Rodeo and Running

Before I start talking about rodeos, first let me tell you that I had a successful run at the track last night. I ran for about 50 minutes, and as has become usual, felt sick two or three times. I've learned to either stop and walk a couple minutes till it passes, or if it is mild, run through it. We had a great turnout at the track last night - at least eleven runners from the Y and a couple of more from the Fleet Feet team. It made for a very fun night - lots of trash talk and silliness.

So, are you wondering what brought on an urge to talk about rodeos? My good friend (and the coordinator of our department) Wynette, is a barrel racer. Her husband is a roper, and her daughter was a professional barrel racer - she now races for fun. Wynette and her daughter also put on racing clinics and train horses. A couple of weeks ago, Wynette ended up hospitalized for a full week with a raging infection. It was pretty bad, and she is now home with intensive IV antibiotic therapy. Consequently, some things at work needed some attention. I drove out to her place today to work on a project with her. The college is once again working through the accreditation process, and we still have to produce our final document. Anyway, visiting her home, seeing her horses, got me thinking again about rodeos and running.

In September of 2004, I got to go with Wynette to "slack" - a preliminary round of rodeoing. This was for the PRCA rodeo at the Puyallup Fair. As I sat in the stands listening to the cowboys and cowgirls around me discussing the action, I had to chuckle to myself. They sounded just like a group of runners at a race. They commented on form, speed, training, injuries and placement. Other than the fact that some of the terms they used were horse and rodeo related, I could have been sitting in the midst of my own running buddies. Over the years, Wynette has questioned me closely about running - especially about Eric's marathon training. She'll ask me a question, and then after I've answered, she'll say sit back with a satisfied look and say "that's what we do with horses too". They train and ride their horses every day, no matter what. We've discussed pre-race meals and pacing. We've talked about icing and rest, warm-ups, intervals and cool-downs. And that's just the discussion about the horses! When it comes to the rider, they've got to have endurance and be physically strong to ride. Many of the cowboys Wynette introduced us to run to stay in shape - though for them, it's exercise, not a love. I think hauling tack and feed keeps them pretty well toned and strong, not to mention the leg strength that riding requires.

Anyway, it's interesting for me to get a glimpse into another world, and into someone else's passion. When other people suggest to me that maybe I should give up running, or think I'm nuts for running in foul weather, or can't understand why we go to so many races, Wynette understands. She does all the same things to rodeo. She even gets the injury thing - about wanting to get back to it, about not giving up. Last spring, her horse stumbled during a race and Wynette was thrown into the wall. She broke six ribs and punctured a lung, plus other assorted injuries. She chafed at the wait, it drove her nuts not being able to ride and she got right back into it as soon as she got the okay. Oh, I forgot to mention, she is 63 years old!


robtherunner said...

When I read the title I was thinking, what is this woman going to talk about now? It is funny how many people have something just like running, but yet they cannot realize the similarities between hobbies, obsessions, whatever you want to call them. It is nice when someone gets it, like Wynette does.

olga said...

63! May she have a speedy and full recovery.
You guys are lucky with a big group getting together, working hard and gossiping even harder:)

Anonymous said...

What an interesting analogy. We have a great deal more in common with most of the human race than we imagine. So why do we see the differences instead of the similarities?

Sarah Elaine said...

Your friend sounds like a spunky lady. In my experience, many "horse people" are... (and runners, too.)

Living in Calgary, the biggest event of the year is the Calgary Stampede, which includes, interestingly... many rodeo events... and our city's biggest marathon/half-marathon/10K... all during the same week.

You may be onto something with the running/rodeo thing...