Tuesday, October 23, 2012
What am I, Chopped Liver?
After reading my blog post on the Des Moines Marathon, my husband commented that I made it sound like I run by myself ALL the time and NEVER have a running partner and he pointed out that he actually runs with me in many races when he can (when the 1/2 marathon and marathon courses are together) and goes on short runs with me from time to time at home as well. He is indeed correct. I did not mean to imply that he doesn't! He gave me such hard time about it, noting that while we run and travel to races together frequently, I made it sound like he was just my chauffeur, or worse, chopped liver. (Which made me REALLY want to find a picture of chopped liver driving a car because wouldn't that be hilarious?) So this post is dedicated to him, because indeed he is incredibly supportive of my running, does run with me with some frequency and certainly I would not be the runner I am today without him. So here is my top 5 list of what makes him such an amazingly supportive runner-spouse.
#1. The Rockford Marathon. In May 2011, I had a great race, my marathon PR of 4:05:18. I wasn't fully trained for that race and I was definitely not very excited about doing it, especially when we woke up to a windy, rainy, cold morning. To make things worse, Adam had a pretty terrible cold, fever and all. But that did not stop him from joining me for the first 8 miles of the race (he ran the half). He tends to start out much faster than I (and holds the family half marathon PR) so I did my best to stick with him. Had I been running alone, I would have moved more slowly, I am sure. After he finished his race he joined my parents to spectate for the 2nd half, bringing me M&M's and running down the final stretch with me shouting encouragement. I would not have PR'd without Adam. There is no question that his support both running during those first few miles and then spectating along with my parents on the back half were huge factors in my special day. Even if I never have a sub-4 marathon (I will!) or qualify for Boston (I will!), I will always have this perfectly respectable marathon time in my history. Thanks Adam!
#2. Daily Mile. I have run at least 1 mile a day since late December 2010. That's 22 months or >650 consecutive days of running. I wish this was my idea but it wasn't....it was Adams. Streaking was something I toyed with on many occasions, but I just never committed to the idea. But when Adam decided he was going to run a mile every day, my competitive side jumped in and I decided I should do it too. While running a mile a day rarely gets in the way of other life activities (I mean really, it only takes 10 minutes), occasionally we will plan activities or travel or dinner around getting our runs in. It is easier knowing we both have to do it, especially on days when we really don't want to (such as post-marathon days like today!). Committing to run a mile every day turned running and working out in general from an on-again-off-again hobby to a lifestyle. And it is a joint lifestyle choice that has made our relationship stronger. I have Adam to thank for that.
#3. 50 in 50. Ever since I completed my first marathon, Chicago, in 2006, I've wanted to run 50 marathons in 50 states. But this is obviously a huge commitment. It is a time commitment both in daily life and in terms of vacation time usage and a large financial commitment. I did out-of-state marathons when the opportunity arose (Philly with my friend Bonnie, Whidbey Island because my brother lived there), but I didn't formally plan to get x number of marathons in x states in any time period. The main reason I didn't make this commitment was because I didn't want Adam to ever become resentful of my running. Extremism in any form can become a sore point in a marriage and I didn't think it was fair to commit Adam to spending our precious vacation time spectating races nor did I want him to feel I was neglecting him on weekend long run after weekend long run in training for the races. But when he suggested he was interested in running half marathons in all 50 states I jumped on it. This was PERFECT! If we did it together than it became a marriage strength rather than a marriage point of contention. (Not that it ever was a point of contention- he was always 100% supportive- I just worried that if so much of my life was dedicated to an activity that did not involve him, one day that could become a problem.) Within days of Adam suggesting he'd be on board with focusing on more races, I had registered us for the Maui marathon.....soon after was Madison.....then Louisville (his idea, his find)....then Med City.....then Des Moines. And we have the Outer Banks coming up in 3 weeks. I've loved our trips, our pre-race dinners, our mutual soreness and exhaustion the days of races, our painful one milers for the few days after the races. I don't know what made Adam come to the conclusion that he wanted to do this crazy 50 in 50 business but I am so glad he did.
#4 The marathon that never was. I've mentioned already that Adam has always been supportive of my running no matter my goals. I'm not the fastest runner out there. I'm not improving at any rapid pace, though I am improving. I do this for fun, and mental health, and fitness. No matter how fast or slow I run, Adam is supportive in equal measures. He's even supportive when I don't run. Last June, we planned to do the Ann Arbor Marathon. We packed up the car, drive out there, had our pre-race meal, got out our race gear and went to bed. In the morning I woke up absolutely not wanting in any way to do the race. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't bear the thought of running again in the heat (Med City had been only a few weeks prior). I was EXHAUSTED (nearing the end of first year of fellowship=chronic sleep deprivation x 12 months). I didn't have the mental or physical energy. But we got up. We did our pre-race preparations. And I burst into tears and said there was no way I could run it and I didn't want to do it and I'd be happy to just spectate but I was not toeing the line that day. Adam took it all in stride. He was amazing. He didn't harass me about the fact that we drove 4 hours (each way), that we paid for a hotel room, that we paid for race registration. He just said "You know what, you've had a hard year, you don't need to do this". Which was absolutely the right thing to say, because I didn't want to do it, I didn't need to do and I still to this day don't regret skipping that race because I was EXHAUSTED. I am so lucky to have such an understanding, forgiving husband.
#5 My triathlon future. This year, I did my first two triathlons. And, as I've mentioned before, the reason I want to get into triathlons is that I want to do an Ironman. I think Adam sorta knew this was coming, that once I had a bit of free time I'd fill it with more sports and more racing. But he didn't even flinch when I started rattling off the financial (and time) commitments required. A racing bike. Swim lessons. A wetsuit. A triathlon training group. The race fees themselves. It goes on and on. I'm sure deep down he's not thrilled. But he's never expressed these reservations to me. He's just been full on supportive, booking a hotel room for me before the Lake Geneva Tri, going with me to Lake Michigan for emotional support for my first open water swim. He barely flinched when I told him the Ironman registration fee. He knows how important this is to me and I hope he knows I wouldn't (couldn't) do it without his support, so his support means the world to me. He really is an amazing guy.
So, Adam, you are not chopped liver. You are not a chauffeur. I am so thankful that you are my best friend, my favorite running partner, my travel companion and my biggest supporter. I love you!