Tuesday, March 5, 2013

One Key to Happily Ever After

When you get married or start a long term committed relationship, you don’t always know what you’re going to get. What I mean by that is – as we get older, sometimes we change. Our interests diversify, we might become more or less spiritual/religious, our political beliefs might shift. Some of us might even adopt or reject certain morals and values. The sad truth is, we may not grow in the same way as our significant other, and that can cause problems. Distance. Separation.

When Ken and I met, I was fairly athletic – I wasn’t a runner, but I had become a cyclist in college and enjoyed long distance riding. Ken, for a lack of a better word, was a couch potato. He did drink a lot of orange Gatorade, but this wasn’t because he needed electrolyte replacement, he just liked the taste.

I fell in love with him the night I met him in the back seat of a car where we drank bottles of Budweiser and threw them out the window (yes, the truth – you always knew I was a wild girl). It never really occurred to me to care if he liked to work out. I knew he was adventurous, outdoorsy, smart, funny and cute. That was enough.

However, when he did buy a bike and started riding with me, I loved it.

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1996 - I like a crooked helmet

Then when we moved to Colorado from Virginia and took marriage vows. We acquired jobs, a mortgage and babies (in that order). And, we still liked being active together.

001

But, it wasn’t until 13 years into our marriage that our activity level bumped up a few notches. We started training for and running races together. Suddenly I realized that this was as much bonding time as a date night out with a bottle of wine (if not more so). I am convinced that one of the reasons we’ve remained so strong in our marriage for the past 18 years is that we share the love MOVING and SWEATING.

And, the love of farting, but that is another story.

Perhaps the place where our love of training and racing served us best was when Ken got laid off in 2011. He was unemployed for a year, and that’s when we decided to train for our first Half Ironman. As you know, the stress of unemployment and finances can wreak havoc on a relationship. Training kept us aligned, sane and connected. In fact, Good Housekeeping interviewed us for a story about marriage and job loss that I think will be in the April or May issue. So stay tuned.

bethrun2kenfinish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P1100646

Boulder 70.3 2011

I’m not sure there is one key or secret as to how to have longevity in a relationship. But, I do think having activities and interests you share (outside of the kids) gives you something to talk about, something to bitch about, something to (hopefully) laugh about (Ken has seen me squat in the bushes too many times to count), and gives you a way to spend time together. Plus, it helps you to speak the same language. If I tell Ken I didn’t PR but I sure as hell didn’t DNF, he knows what I mean.

Do you train or race with your significant other? How does it affect your relationship?

SUAR

58 comments:

  1. I am training for my first marathon and my fiance is nice enough to ride his bike along with me on my long runs. He's tried the running thing but has bad knees and can't go more than a mile. It's still nice to have someone with me, whether it be snow, ice, rain, or shine.

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  2. My boyfriend and I run together occasionally -he's much faster than I am - but I really enjoy it when we do. It's great to share a common passion for running. We even ran a couples' relay last week!

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  3. My husband was actually my motivation to get fit. Winters he's not as active as me, but I'm hard pressed to keep up with him all summer. Hes my best friend, fitness partner, and husband- and I can't thank him enough for it! Our time together sweating is absolutely priceless....

    Sarah
    www.thinfluenced.com

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  4. My hubbs has never run w/ me, but he supports me fully. He was the main one who would tell me to "JUST DO IT" and get on the treadmill when I first committed to running a 5k. He has gone to nearly all my races, and dragged the kids outta bed early, w/ the cheerios and bananas and yogurts, just to cheer me on at the finish and get a coupla pics. I appreciate that he humors me and how I think about it so much and how much it means to me. I appreciate how I can also get out and have some ME time alone, and go on a nice long run. I've always been a longer workout girl;)

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  5. Shared interests are key..yup.
    -paul

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  6. My husband and I love working out together -- running, biking, swimming and weight training. It is nice to have someone to keep you going, and a great thing to talk about how we are doing. It has brought us so much closer over the last couple years. I completely agree that these kind of shared interests are key to a great relationship.

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  7. Whoo boy! Loaded question. :) We both enjoy running, and understood that from the start. But we have *very* different approaches: I train hard, with focus, and through discomfort. He likes running to be "Fun!" and is willing to stop, slow down, walk, rest, skip, etc. as necessary.

    I always say that negotiating our running styles is one of the biggest compromises we worked through making, as a couple.

    Honestly, I think dual athlete couples are great - there's extra understanding, accountability, and levels for engagement. However, I think each one has to find the right mix: training alone, with friends, with each other, etc. to keep things harmonious and happy. VERY individual!

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  8. I'm fortunate to be with a runner so he fully understands when at a dinner I talk about negative splits. We don't run together road races but we run trail races together. We normally choose the same races so we can travel together and have the training cycle in the same period ecc.
    I think I'm lucky to stay with an active person, I was previously in a relationship with couch potato and it was a huge problem...

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  9. My husband has been running with me since the beginning when I started the C25k program. And thank goodness, because {even now} my confidence lags and he is always there to get me going. We are opposite Holly KN above - he's the competetive focused one, and I'm the one taking it easy, skipping, resting, etc.

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  10. My experience is almost the opposite of yours. When we met, my husband was FAR more active than I was, though his interest was team sports rather than running or cycling. Now, he's one step above couch potato and I run/ride regularly and have a real love for distance events. It's fine with me for him to not enjoy the same activities that I do, but not only do we not train together, he never goes to watch my races and shows very little interest (well, he'll ask how my run or ride was, but whenever I leave for a race I've been talking about for weeks he'll ask, "Now is this a run or a ride?" which is a pretty clear sign that he really hasn't listened at all.

    It makes me sad bc I think it puts more distance between us, but I'm not going to go back to sitting on the couch watching movies all the time just bc he wants me to be like him.

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  11. Sweet post and I love the topic! My hubby and I race together all the time now and I agree, it is such a bonding experience. I couldn't love him more when he collects me from a finish line :) I usually run the longer race for an event, he's the speed guy and likes the fast and quick races whereas I'm the endurance runner. At least he always has fresh legs to drive the car home then :)

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  12. My husband used to be an athlete, but after 5 knee surgeries and the onset of middle age (he's 10 years older than I am), these days there's no running or rugby in his daily life. Occasionally, he tries to tell me what I "should" do with regards to my running, but since we have very different view points, I tend to just smile and nod. I wish he could run with me, but on the other hand, running is my "me" time, so maybe it's best that it's a solitary endeavor!

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  13. I "trained" my husband for his first marathon and we practically got divorced. I kid.

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  14. My fiance and I started running a year before our wedding to help me lose weight to fit into my moms dress. I successfully dropped from a size 10 to 4 and the dress fits, however, the closeness we have gained in the last 11 months is so much more than we had before we started running. Running, especially long distances, has taught us both to be flexible, understanding, supportive, a little pushy, encouraging, and loving with each other. I dont feel our relationship would be anything like it currently is without running.

    Now our wedding is exactly 1 month from today!

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  15. How awesome that y'all train together!!
    My husband and I don't run together - he is more of a jogger (stays in shape for his yearly fit test in the military). We tried to run together the first year we were married but it wasn't really a great experience for either of us. He has always been supportive of my running/fitness goals, though. In fact, he is the head of my crew for my ultra! (equally as important!)

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  16. Lucky you! My husband "tolerates" my running, but is not as supportive as I'd like...as a matter of fact, was very angry with me when I signed up for Chicago a few years back. He did come to the finish line and pose for pictures with me. It's tough. He's such a good guy in so many other ways, I just don't understand this. But I accept it and keep doing my thing.

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  17. Outside of training for a specific event, I still run 3-4 times a week and workout 5-8 times a week. Unfortunately, my husband is not as fitness-minded. I wish he was. It would be nice to have company at the gym.

    The Kidless Kronicles

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  18. My husband doesn't care for running much unless we are camping in the desert and go on trail runs and then he only cares to run less than 5 miles. But, he will ride his bike along with me and we do hike, explore and xc ski together. I am fine with him not running. We have many other activities that we do together.

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  19. Running with my husband always improves my performance... It is a wonderful experience to share. Funny though, I typically run with my music (helps regulate my breathing), so occasionally, I will start singing... This seems to help him run faster!!! ; )

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    1. If I started singing while running, it would make EVERYONE run faster - to get away from the awful sound! ;)

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  20. You're very lucky. My husband and I have different approaches to running. He runs only on the treadmill because he doesn't want people to see him (I don't know why, he's hot!) and he doesn't get the whole "distance" thing. He just barely supports me, although I did make sure he was totally on board before I signed up for my first half. He has come a long way in his own running, tho, since I started a couple of years ago. I think I might even be able to talk him into a 5K with our boys in the very near future.

    Running together would be wonderful! However, with 4 kids (age 3-10) there's no way we can go at the same time. I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm trying hard not to wish away their babyhood. Someday, though.

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    1. We also have four kids (all girls) ranging in age from 3 to 12. Hang in there! Just this year we have been able to leave them at home in bed while we go for a long run on the weekends. It's wonderfully liberating to know we can get a couple hours to ourself and they will be just fine!

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  21. this was a lovely post to read. I'd guess your sense of humor is probably another great connection in your marriage.

    When my husband and I started dating, I would out right refuse any exercise of any kind. But after a pretty serious accident, I was told exercising would help. So my ultra fit guy would plod along beside me and encourage me. Somewhere along the way I fell in love with running (or maybe it was the evening conversations with him).

    Now we are running 50 races in all 50 states before we turn 50.... we still run local races separately (he's still much faster) but we also love to jog together. He called me from work yesterday just to hear my 7 mile time. Its definitely been a great connection between the two of us.

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    1. Yes, you are so right. Sense of humor is big around here. I think that is also part of the glue that holds us togehter: being able to laugh and not take everything so seriously, even when things are tough.

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  22. I would love it if I could train or even have a occasional casual run with my husband. Before we were together he used to run on the treadmill some but that was to burn off steam. Now, he is not in the least bit interested in long distance running, or even short distance running for that matter. He's into fitness, which is a big bonus for me because he gets that I like to stay in shape and he understand the struggles.

    We have a 2 year old son so it would be difficult to run together even if my husband was willing. I have dreams of talking him into it in the future but I have a feeling that will never happen. You never know though!

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  23. I love this post! My husband was athletic in high school and I wasn't, but now I'm the one begging him to go on runs with me. He's so supportive and even when he doesn't want to run, he supports me and encourages me to go out and push myself.

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  24. My partner is a couch potato- however she goes with me on my runs. She rides her bike along side of me. I enjoy this time with her. She cheers me on when I need it, and stays far away when I’m hitting a wall and tend to curse her out. Ha! (poor girl) It’s also helpful because she can carry any supplies we might need- water, band-aids, gels- whatever. She has a cheap-o bike that she loves -with a silly basket on the front- sometimes Paco, our Chihuahua, has to share the basket with the running supplies. LOL. I know that the exercise is good for her even though she’s not always crazy about going- but she does it for me. We laugh together and talk on these runs/rides. We were just laughing the other day recalling a time when she had to stop in the corn fields to go pee- and hope that some Amish person won’t come along and see her crouched there. (We live in an area with a high Amish population.) During the winter months I am on the treadmill more than outside- but I look forward to our times together out on the trails. It’s definitely bonding time- and time we enjoy together. She isn’t “running” with me- but since she’s with me for the long runs she knows all of the blood, sweat, and tears it requires- this means everything to me. I make an effort to go with her to the casino or to the flea market. Places I enjoy but not places I enjoy spending HOURS at like she does. It’s a compromise- and I think we do that well together.

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  25. My husband hates running,but will join in very rarely. He is super supportive and at every race cheering me on.

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  26. My husband works all the time so competing or running just isn't in his vocabulary. I'm training for an Ironman right now and it's been tough. We have more good days than bad days but he understands that riding a bike 112 miles is no joke and drowning wouldn't be fun either. My cooking is too good for him to let me die out there. HAHAHA.

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  27. My husband will do the 'fun runs' with me. Spartan, Color Run, Med Runs ect....as for just street running he wants no part of it. He is supportive in that he lets me register for over 70 races in a year and lets me travel to some if needed. We do not have kids and we both have good jobs so it works. I did I have to ask him to be at the finish line of my first half marathon or he would have slept through it but he was there and I know he was proud of me. He does also make me food and let me relax if I have a tough run. Do I wish he was more a part of this with me, yes and no. Yes because I would love to share it and not toe so many start lines and post race food lines alone but No because I like it to be mine :)

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  28. So, I was never a runner, but frequently thought I wanted to try. My EX-husband was a bit of a runner, so I asked him to help me out and run with me. Always took off shortly after we'd start and leave me to flounder on my own and I would always give up.

    Fast forward to my wonderful partner, Rick. When the running bug bit me again, he didn't hesitate to get out there with me - especially during those early "run 1 minute, walk two" days. He coached me through it all and never gave up. He's my biggest supporter and is always running with me at every 5k or at the finish line to take my picture and hold all of my crap. Now we're working on my first half in August!

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    1. @Judil2344 don't forget that i also turned you into a Shut Up and Run reader. just want you to know how proud i am of your progress. its always a pleasure holding your stuff and waiting with the camera to get that foto finish. as soon as my ankle heals (haha) i'll be back to chasing you. (only at first tho) thanx for making my life with you wonderful.

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  29. Just wondering if you have any advice for handling a spouse's unemployment. My husband was laid off almost 6 months ago and even though he's a competent and capable employee (with a great education), the job search has been a lot harder than either of us anticipated. He is handling it pretty well (at least on the surface) but I am a bit of a basket case, being the Type A planner that I am. How did you give him support him without nagging him? Any advice? Thanks in advance!!

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    1. It can be very challenging - this is a lot of what they asked me about the article. I think it is tough to manage the stress you are feeling w/out putting more pressure on your spouse. I had quite a few sleepless nights. Mostly I just tried to support him in his decisions and to let him know I had confidence in him. I tried to be in touch with when he was having a bad day and to think "what is the best way I can support him today." I did not do things perfectly at all and I got frustrated sometimes. But I think if you have a strong foundation as a couple, that goes along way. Humor and working out helped a ton too. I wish I had a better answer...just try not to shut down.

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  30. We train, travel, and race together! It really brings us together, and lets us spend time together even when we're both very busy!

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  31. Wow! my husband likes to work out with me and is great shape, however, weight lifting, basketball and laps in the pool are his only preferences. Once and awhile he will do a three mile run with me, but when it comes to the long distances, or yoga, its like pulling teeth! His excuse? "I ran enough in the israeli military!" and with yoga...oye! But we are very active so I am grateful we get to bond over common interests like weight lifting, hiking and cycling.

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  32. My idea of a vigorous workout used to be 20 min. of walking at 4.0 on the treadmill :) My husband was always the runner, but in 2006 he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and suddenly could barely walk. I realized then that the ability to workout is truly a gift and one that I was squandering, so I picked up with running where he left off. A little over a year ago, my husband's R.A. improved to the point where he was able to start running again as well, and while we can rarely train together (our kids are too young to be left at home alone) we both are passionate about health, fitness, and most especially running, and have a much greater bond than we used to because of it. We ran a half marathon together last year, and are going for 26.2 this fall!

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  33. I've seen a lot of marriages or relationships fall apart when one person got really into training or running or triathlon and the other one didn't. Because it just made a whole part of their world that the other wasn't involved in.

    That being said, I don't like doing many workouts with my husband. I like doing some things with him and knowing that he understands, but there's too much stress in doing lots of workouts or races together. Races and hard workouts have a lot of stress inherent in them and you don't necessarily want that pushed on someone else too.

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  34. Over the many years (26) of marriage, we have worked out off and on at the Gym, walked together, played tennis etc. But nothing was as bonding as when we started running together. My husband had been a recreational runner for several years... never ran a race... and had hinted on several occasions that he would love to run with me. When I decided to try running last summer I warned him - "If I'm doing this, I'm going all the way!" Since then we have raced almost monthly, and both finished our first 1/2 marathons. Because of injury or personal preference we haven't always raced the same races, but neither of us would ever dream of missing the other's race! No matter how I do, he always makes me feel like a super-star! Plus, during recent economic hard times, going for a run or even racing is a lot cheaper than dinner and a movie! We do not usually run side by side (he is much faster than me), but just sharing a common activity and goals is such a bonding experience. I am so thankful that I gave running a try!

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  35. Great post! Thanks for the advice, will need it since we are getting married in May! We are not working out together, my fiance is a real couch potato, but he is extremely supportive of my running and we travel together to all races. I think it is very important that both partners have a hobby.

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  36. While both of us enjoy being physically fit, we don't really train together. How did you do it when your kids were younger? Between both of us working full time out of the house, and two younger boys, it seems challenging to run together. Especially with no family around, it is hard to justify a babysitter when we will be missing out on our family time. We rarely get babysitters at night, but at least if we do, we are mostly away from the boys while they are sleeping.

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    1. That's a great question. We didn't do it when the kids were really young. We also had no family out here. In fact, I didn't exercise at all when they were super little (don't recommend this)! When they got older but not old enough to be left alone, we took them out in the jogging/biking stroller thing. Truth is, we started training much, much more when they were old enough to stay alone.

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  37. Awesome post! My husband went from saying we (my run club and I) are crazy to becoming someone who "NEEDS" to run now. It's been great running with my BFF during the last 2 years. He understands how we need to schedule dinners around nightly runs and breakfasts around Sunday long runs. Now we plan vacations around half marathons and 10Ks! This year we are attempting our first marathon together and I hope to cross the finish line holding hands. It's been great now that the kids are grown and on their own. I think running together has made us a fun couple. :)

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  38. We've only done one mud run and one 5k together. We didn't really train together at all. I think I like him better as a cheerleader. :)

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  39. This post just makes me smile!! Love you guys!!!

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  40. I run with no one. It's MY time. Me and my dog and the rest of the world can stick it. Its my therapy. You can tell I need the therapy. ;-)

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  41. I haven't been able to get my wife active in quite a while. When she was walking/ running, we would do it separately as we had young kids and didn't have a walking/ jogging stroller. Once I get her going again, we'll have the kids on bikes once in a while to go as a family and then run together for our date nights, too!!

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  42. I love this!
    My marriage early on was met with some troubles off the bat, mainly for adjustment pains I think. I took up running solo to clear my head. One day after a big fight, I was getting ready to run it out and my husband quietly asked if he could come too. We ran, we talked about our run, then we planned to run again. Since that day, we have tried to do as many sweaty activities together, or at the very least provide encouragement for our various health and fitness goals. Plus endorphins on both sides = no need for murder . :)

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  43. I love this! Just yesterday my fiancé commented on how much happier we both are when we are running, in general, and running together is just icing on the cake. We are both very active, but since we started dating 5 years ago he has started running more "for fun", and I love it. I cannot wait to continue our running dates for years to come :)

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  44. WOW!!! unbelieveable.. thanks for sharing

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  45. My S.O. is the reason why I began running. He has been running for many years and was my inspiration and first teacher. So yep, we move and sweat and talk crazy run lingo to each other and understand. Night runs with each other is one of my favorite things :)

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  46. Love it! I did that Ride the Rockies (that's the ending in CoSprings, right?) But not with my husband, instead I was with an ex-boyfriend and father. But my husband and I have done plenty of bike touring now. And hey, I did that half ironman too.

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  47. Hubby tried running after I started. He does not enjoy any part of it and after 2 years of trying is now walking. But, he is so supportive. When I did my first relay race he was the driver of one of the vans. Stayed awake 36ish hours to drive our smelly sweaty butts across FL...then did it in So Cal and then back in FL again.

    He goes to all the races, is out on the course chearing for me and my friends. We've made a lot of great friends running which is a fabulous bonus. Not all the spouses of my running friends support like my guy does. He is what he likes to call "On the dark side" - he gets to play and have fun with everyone but not get up at the butt crack of dawn to be at the starting line.

    We celebrate 30 yrs of marriage in August and we are headed to London in June to celebrate!! Yay us!!

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  48. My husband and I have just started being athletic in the last year. We've gone from barely talking to each other to planning our weekend adventures and having a great time!! It's freaking awesome!!

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  49. My husband and I run Warrior Dash together; this will be our third year. We also spend time hiking, bicycling and snowshoeing together. We find that our greatest conversations and best problem solving come from a long hike in the woods; it's an activity we started doing together right at the beginning of our relationship and it's "our thing." That first winter, we added snowshoeing and that's why we got married in one of our favorite local hiking spots ....in the winter....outside...in Minnesota. Yeah, we're crazy like that!

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