First, I am not an expert about anything marriage. I have never received a counseling degree; so I am not claiming to be able to solve another couple’s problems…I’m speaking solely from a personal POV.
The point of this blog post isn’t to divulge into the details of my marriage, somethings I consider sacred. However, I can shine some light on what it is like to take something you love, turn it into more than just a hobby, and how it has affected my marriage/spouse.
I married young, (well at least in my opinion). I was 23, just out of college, moved to a new location with my fiancé, and a month later was married and submerged in a life as a “team” ever since. Have we been a team the entire time? heck no. In fact, I believe your 20’s are for self-discovery, finding out who you are and what makes you tick…add another person into the equation doing the exact same thing….I like to refer to being married in my 20’s like walking blind-fold in a mine field…you could potentially make it out of the situation unscathed…but, chances are….you’ll hit something as some point that will turn your world upside down and challenge you as a couple.
I ran in my 20’s, but it was more of a way for me to hold onto my “eating disorder” without starving myself. I was going through the trials and errors of my twenties and running was a way for me to have some “control” in a very out-of-control period of my life. Running didn’t detract from my marriage, but it didn’t add either….it was one of those outliers that was present, but inconsequential.
Fast forward our moving to a new state with a new babe as well as finding a new home was a huge step for Ryan and I. I began to fall more in love with running as I found it a way to get aquatinted with my new surroundings. Running after I had my boys became less, (if at all) about my eating disorder and became part of my identity. Finding what made me happy and not what made us happy as a couple ended up benefiting us greatly…turning 30 did something magical for my psychi…I started to really understand that my happiness depended on my actions alone, no one else. I was in control of wether or not I felt happy and running was a huge part in that equation.
This last season, when I really started to see my potential as a competitive runner, was the turning point from running being a “hobby” to part of my every day life that would require team work and support from my other half.
I qualified for Boston after running the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN. Ryan was immediately insistent I run Boston and has been incredibly supportive ever since.
Before I give Ryan a hero’s story…I will say this; I am an incredibly independent person. I realize now, (after getting sick one too many times) that I cannot do it alone, but asking for help is not something I do often. Case in point, Ryan didn’t get beckoned for labor support until I was 2 hours (in a 12 hour labor) away from birthing Trout….
Back to running. Ryan has been incredibly supportive. Ryan also works an insane amount of hours, so during the week, it is up to me to make running happen. However, he is always asking how my run went and is there to boost my ego when he can tell its lagging.
On the weekends he is on boy duty for the early morning long run. Again, I have accommodated him greatly by making sure my run is done early, (most of the time I am finished before 9 am). However, his help is greatly appreciated! It is so freeing to know that I can go out, focus on my run, and have zero worry about wether or not my boys are happy and well cared for..Ryan is a great Dad, (nothing is better then showing up at home and discovering all 3 boys snuggled in bed asleep).
How has training with a more intensive training scheduled affected my marriage?
It really hasn’t. I read about runners having less time with their spouse, feeling significantly less energetic when they are free to spend time with their significant other, or obsessing too much about the task-at-hand and forget that there is another person in the equation.
I have found for me, personally, that marathon training has added to our relationship. Ryan enjoys watching me find something to claim my own, he values my individuality, (and vise versa).
Because running takes up more time, I have also been better about managing my time. I am insistent that Ryan comes first. If he were having a bad day, sick and needed my help, or something came up and he needed me…my long run could be moved to another time. I also don’t go to bed ridiculously early…time spent with just my husband is invaluable….I will take the hour less of sleep to spend time with Ryan.
Ryan doesn’t make it hard for me to do what I need to get my training done. He encourages me to go to hot yoga after me Saturday long run, he drives me to a coffee shop when he can tell I am fighting a bad case of lack of sleep and “hangry” all at once, and he doesn’t ever forget to tell me how proud he is of me.
I’m sure this is a huge let down for those who have many an argument over training and fitting in their spouse…but I can honestly say that marathon training hasn’t ever been a point of contention for us, (as I curse myself 😉 ).
One more point, and then I promise I’ll stop… Ryan and I have taken turns having our “time to shine” in our relationship. Ryan has had moments where he has had a huge hunt planned and I needed to accommodate or a fishing trip up the Smith River that required me to forgo a trip I wanted to take. Training for Boston and taking running on in a more involved manner has been more of my time to shine. Ryan has graciously taken on the role as the more “supportive” spouse while I have had to feel more “selfish” in my endeavors. We both have realized that to make it work for us, it requires a balance of being supportive and requiring support.