Tanker the Wonder Sherpa

Train as I might, there's no way I could do all of my stupid human tricks alone.

Enter the unsung hero of my endurance life (as well as my regular, everyday, just-a-human-trying-to-have-a-decent-go-of-things life): Tanker the Wonder Sherpa.

Total rockstar.
While I'm out sweating and scarfing down sugar-laden goo, he's taking care of all the real things that need to be done. He drives us to our far-away jobs and home again so I can nap in the car. Our kitty gets fed & his litter cleaned out; the dirty dishes (which I am a bloody champion at creating) get washed; the endless heaps of nasty, sweaty laundry are replaced by baskets full of clean, fresh clothing that has no idea what horrible fate is about to befall it. He's absolutely fearless when it comes to the assortment of horrible stenches the creatures with whom he shares a house create with appalling regularity.

Clearly, since he'll actually remove a pair of shoes I just ran 6 hours in for me when my feet are too far away to reach.

When I want to do a point-to-point run, he has endless patience for dropping me off and picking me up wherever I need, and never complains about the incredibly late dinners and lack of sleep that come with my preference to train in the evenings after work. He's also dauntless when it comes to the weird ideas I get about "fun things to do" - he'd never been backpacking or canoeing when we met, let alone done backcountry trips in rain and sub-freezing temperatures. Yet, he's the only one I know who doesn't look at me like I'm off my rocker when I suggest we go camping over Christmas, exploring new trails after dark in a howling snowstorm, or climbing a mountain in 65kph wind gusts. He's always up for a new adventure, and over the last few years he's become the person I trust most to take into the wilderness in any conditions.

Even when there's rough water ahead

Or on a backpacking trip with rain, frost and even a little snow

Or just doing a relay with me on a ridiculous off-road course

Apart from being my companion in the great outdoors, he got his nickname of "Wonder Sherpa" for being the best racing asset I could ask for. He's come out to every single race I've ever done, regardless of how far away, ridiculously early, or otherwise stupid it was.

Chipper even with a windchill of -42c!

He totes the huge bags of the multifarious crap I bring along for me from the car so I won't expend energy that could be used for racing, and then packs it all back away afterward when I've worn myself out. In between he's filling my water bottles for me between loops, getting my trekking poles or race vest ready, handing me fresh gel flasks (or chunks of cookies) to make sure I get calories in, and always acting as my tireless cheering section. He tells me I look strong when I feel so very weak and tired, and constantly tells me that he believes in me both on and off the course. When I'm filled with doubts about my fitness, my abilities, and my own sanity, he's always there to tell me I can do it...whatever stupid thing "it" may be.

This guy, I tell you..

You might expect that a guy would go out of his way to make his wife's life easier, but he's even more amazing than that. Whenever we show up to an event, he's always finding ways to help out either with the race itself or just the other competitors. I couldn't possibly tell you how many aid stations he's run single-handedly or how many people's races he has facilitated or saved through his selfless engagement with those around him. Whether it's getting someone's bottle out of their cooler; refilling it and handing it off to them; helping someone stave off cramping or nausea with a critical handful of salty snacks that he personally brought to the race to munch on; or just endlessly refilling cups with water & sport drink on a table, he's there to help. Neither rain nor sleet nor blistering sun & heat shall stop him from giving everyone the best possible race experience he can offer.

Even if he's freezing his butt off while still indoors!

Keep in mind that we had been married for more than 5 years before I ever ran a single step, let alone started racing. This is not the life that he signed up for, but he has always been incredibly supportive of the ridiculous goals I've set for myself and has never uttered a word of complaint over the absurd things I've done (and spent) on this journey through the endurance racing world.

Not to mention the wide world outside of sport.

So that's why I call him Tanker the Wonder Sherpa, and why I (and so many others he's helped along the way) will always be grateful for him.

Solid as a rock.

Love this guy.

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