How Running Improved My Marriage.

dk3In the Spring/Summer of 2010, Donnie signed up for a triathlon class at Fleet Feet. He has always been active, and had been trying several activities over several year.s He ran trails for awhile, he taught himself how to swim, he adopted a bike from my brother…and decided he’d try to combine several activities into one and try his hand at triathlons. Now, this was a year or so after my Dad had died and Wesley was two and I was jobless and basically I was a mess. I was about 30lbs heavier than I am now, inactive, sad, tired and just a horrible person to be around.

I mumbled and grumbled through his entire first triathlon season. I did my best to be supportive but struggled getting the kids to cooperate (True Story: Wes got swarmed by fire ants at Donnie’s first triathlon) and struggled to see Donnie’s efforts as anything else but a break away from us. I was bitter and angry and just about THE WORST WIFE EVER. Partly because I wanted a break from us! Partly because I need to get active and his fitness made me feel guilty.

dk2But then, in the summer of 2011, I decided to sign up for my own Fleet Feet class (I had lost some weight with boot camp and had started running small distances) to train for a half-marathon. While I had finished half-marathons years before, I never ran the entire distance and still kinda hated running. But, I wanted to give these classes a try since they had been so pivotal in Donnie’s life.

And I loved it. And we finally had something non-kid related to bond over. He and I would sign up for races together, and talk about training, and even started overlapping friends here and there. Even though he was more of a triathlete, he still ran the periodic longer distances and many local triathletes stick to running in the cold months. We had more to talk about and bond over than we had ever had before.

Also, I stopped being a raging bitch.

dk1Since then we’ve done several races together. Of course, he’s loads faster so really that just means we arrive and leave together, but still! Together! We did run a 50K together – actually ran it TOGETHER, he stuck with me the whole day causing himself a lot of pain as he had never run that slow for that long before – and it’s one of the best memories of our years together.

I even threw my hat in the triathlon ring a bit. I’m not as taken over by the sport as he is, but he’s also not as taken with trail running as I am. But still, we do enough together, and understand enough about each other’s challenges, that we have created many more bonds in our marriage than we had before. We compare courses and training methods. We discuss upcoming events and race opportunities. We volunteer for races and cheer each other on. I stand in the sun for his triathlons, and he freezes his ass off to cheer me on during my Winter races. We go to social events with our new running/tri peer group, we help out with the Fleet Feet classes we once participated in.

We just have SO MUCH MORE to share in our lives, now that we both have started building lives around running. We don’t train side-by-side as he’ll always be faster than me, but we go TOGETHER. Sometimes we’re both participating, but because of the kids, usually one of us is spectating for the event. We buy each other gear and we send each other informative links. We seek joy in each other’s successes and hurt with each other’s injuries.

Running has given me confidence which has made me an easier person to live with, but it has also given us something to share OUTSIDE of raising kids. Which, will still be there when the kids are grown and gone. I’m thrilled that we’re building this foundation now so that when our youngest leaves for college, we’ll already have things to do together to ease the pain of an empty nest.

Happy Valentine’s Day to my running buddy, my coach, my physical therapist…my husband.

2 thoughts on “How Running Improved My Marriage.”

  1. Wonderful story of succeeding, a little bit at a time, in marriage! Have been following your blog on and off for a few years. You do a great job here.

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