It’s crazy how perspective can change just over a few weeks….
It is a very hard thing for people to understand why I love to run. Why I sacrifice sleep to maintain at least 40 miles of running each week, on top of being a mom and teaching fitness classes. I don’t really try to explain myself because it really is hard to explain. I have always been grateful that my husband just gets it. I know that we are seen as being ‘crazy’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘irrational’ by some people. We just have to not let that negativity in, and hang on tight to the people that give us positive support. I don’t think I am better than anyone else because I love to run. I also don’t believe that everyone needs to run to be happy. But I do know that it works for me and my family, and that my husband and I both love it.
Oddly enough, running has strengthened my relationship with my husband in more ways than just the bonding during runs together. We have had to learn to make sacrifices within our own training plans to ensure the other gets the time they need. It has strengthened our communication skills. I used to get upset that my husband got longer time for his runs then I did. I seemed to be strapped to the running stroller, or the treadmill. But I was playing a martyr role. Once I sat down, and calmly communicated my needs/wishes to him, then we were able to make some changes. Many things he was unaware that I even felt. Ladies, men truly can NOT read our minds (I am STILL learning this). Now, we sit down at the beginning of every week and work out a schedule that is as fair as possible. We both have had periods where we wish we could’ve had more training time, but we knew the other person had a big goal on the horizon so we sacrificed for a few months. It got to the point where it didn’t feel like a sacrifice because I was so happy to helping him reach his dreams. Open and consistent communication is KEY for me so that I don’t become jealous or resentful. I gave up a lot of my training time last summer in order for Nate to be ready for his first 100 mile trail run. It ended up being one of the most memorable experiences for us as a family. Nate gave the majority of the spring to me when I was working on PRing my marathon time and training to get under a 3:35. After years of us both trying to hit killer training weeks, raise our young boys, and balance work/school responsibilities; I feel we are finally working out the kinks in communication to find that balance.
|Nate at the start of Aravaipa's Hypnosis 60K|
…back to how my perspective has changed. Nate and I were both signed up to race a 60K last night. It was 40 miles, of crazy terrain, pitch dark, in freaking hot Arizona weather. I did not even consider all of that to be ‘crazy’ when we signed up together. It seemed like a perfectly sound, and acceptable thing to do on a Saturday night. Even while knowing we would be racing until about 3am. Yesterday morning we had a Birthday Party for my oldest son, Kade, who just turned 5. Nate was up early getting things ready, feeding & dressing the kids. He did the majority of the work because I could barely take care of my drugged up, gimpy self. We were in the sun from 10:30am till about 1:30pm chasing kids, setting up decorations, shade tents, and lugging coolers full of cold drinks. My sunburned husband came home, unloaded all the party stuff, and let me lay down to ice my foot because I really overdid it (while in my mind, I hardly did anything). He tended to the kids’ needs, and started packing all the necessities to be ready for an Ultra Marathon. Now it takes a butt load of prep for Ultras. You never know what you are going to want or need. You also have to be prepared for all types of weather. We have learned the hard way many times. As Nate was loading up his gear, I had some pressing thoughts on my mind that really bothered me. I thought he was crazy. He was going to be running all night, to just come home and hope for a few precious hours of sleep before having to be at work Sunday afternoon! I wondered why he was doing this. I even suggested he drop down to the 20 miles instead of the 40. He would be going out there alone. No friends or family. What? Why couldn’t I understand? I tried to tell him he had nothing to prove! Duh!!! Of course he has nothing to prove! Is this why other people think we race, because we are trying to “prove something”. I am supposed to be the one that “gets it”! I haven’t been running for 3 weeks since the injury. Am I already that withdrawn from what running long distance does for you that I didn’t understand why he would want to do this? I truly hope that I can get to the point again where I WANT to run 40 miles, all night, with no sleep, with no crowd cheering, and with only maybe 30 other runners. I want that to sound fun instead of “crazy”. I finally understood the pull that trail running is. I was a road runner for 10 years. I liked the hype, the big expos, & crowds. I never EVER wondered why someone would want to go longer than 26.2. It was all about running pace, getting PR’s, and my split mile times. The past few years I learned to really understand and LOVE trail running. I can’t even compare the two different venues. I still really do enjoy road running. And hope that once I am healed that I will continue to do both. But what I really hope for the most is that I come to understand, again, why ultra marathons really are not crazy.