Marriage, Running, Transformation

Running Together Without Falling Apart

Hers and His

Happy New Year!  2011 ended with a really busy few weeks full of holiday preparations, a drama with the Navy housing office that resulted in a decision to move (this Friday!)  and I’ve really missed blogging.  So, what better way for me to start the new year than with a new post, first thanking you for continuing to read AND for the very kind words many of you have shared with me since I started this blog just a few months ago. You continue to inspire me with your stories and your desires to “Do Different” for yourselves, and it motivates me to keep going on my own journey.  THANK YOU!  2012 should be an interesting one for me on many levels — there are several challenging events already on the calendar and I can’t wait to share them all with you!

This past week has been heaven on earth for me – my husband, Brad, was home to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with us.   Our first year of marriage was spent living thousands of miles apart, and while we’ve both hated it, the end is in sight and we’re both so grateful for what it has taught us about loving and appreciating each other.  I can’t say I WOULDN’T have had it any other way, BUT if this is the worst that Navy life has in store for us,  I think the rest of his career will be doable!

2012 is all about “togetherness” for us – our family will be back together and Brad and I have decided to try and run together as often as we can.  The challenge?  Well,  I write all the time about how PERSONAL a sport running is for me.  I even shared the details of my first official running breakdown — err, breakthrough — but Brad and I have spoken so many times about wanting to make our ‘running relationship’ work, and because I really do want to find every excuse I can to spend time with him,  I decided to give it a try. THEN, we ran together a few days ago…and it was not without incident.  We both learned a lot from that run, and because I thought some of you might be considering partnering up this year with a spouse or a friend  I decided to share a few words of advice on running with a partner (from a pain in the butt, “novice” runner’s perspective):

  1. First, recognize before you begin that each of you have your own goals, styles, comfort levels, ‘brain training’ strategies and abilities, and talk about them!  We did this…or so I thought.  Hmph.  But let’s read on….
  2. Agree on a definition of running “together”.  Does this mean you’re running at the same time and it’s okay that one person runs ahead of the other?  Or does it mean you’re going to run at the same pace, regardless of the other’s ability to run faster than the other?  Remember that whole “talk about your different goals, styles, etc?”  Well, for this run,  we agreed in advance that we would run 3 miles and that we would run side by side, each taking turns pushing our baby in the stroller every 0.5 miles.  This went really well, except when the 3 miles were done, Brad felt good and decided to keep going, trying to convince me to go with him. How do I put this…well…I was PISSED.  But here’s what I learned about WHY.  I personally MUST set a distance or time goal in my mind before I run. I didn’t quite realize I had this quirk, but I do now. Call me weird, but I think my brain does some kind of voodoo on my body and says, “Okay – this how far we’re going, no more, no less” whether it’s 6 miles or 2 miles.  In my mind, I didn’t care that he “felt good”.  If you’re going to run WITH me, we’re going to set a goal together and that’s all we’re doing.  After having a ‘discussion’ about this, we both learned one very important thing…
  3. If you’re going to run together without falling apart (or beating eachother up), communication is KEY.  Isn’t this the truth in every relationship?  Well, it’s especially true if you have a ‘running relationship’.  I tend to be my own worst critic, and the act of running is SO ridiculously personal to me that I just don’t want to deal with anyone else’s spoken or unspoken (real or perceived) criticisms.  At least not at this point in my running life.  It’s MY run, and I don’t care what anyone else is doing at the time.  But, after thinking about it, I DO care very much about who my running partner is and what he does.  He’s my husband – I live for this man – and I want to share an activity I love with him.  He’s the one who inspired me to run in the first place, and it’s important for me and my ‘growth’ as a runner and as a person to let him into this part of my life.  There’s a lot of happiness to be had here, and now that we know that we MUST communicate well with one another about our expectations and goals, I think our runs will be great.

Today, our run went much more smoothly and we both really enjoyed being with one another.  He helped me find a nice comfortable pace where I could run without stopping the whole way and I was able to focus on how my feet struck the ground.  We finished our 2.5 mile run in great time.  Brad goes back to ‘work’ tomorrow, but in a few weeks (knock on wood), I’ll have my running partner back home.  2012, I can’t wait to see what else you have in store for me…and that cute guy I now call my running partner.

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