If you are an average runner you may run 30 min, 3-4 times a week. This means you’re out running up to 2 hours a week.(You are not yet one of those crazy people who run 2-3 hours per run). It may not seem like a lot of time; 2 hours is easy enough to burn through mindlessly sitting in front of the TV. But you aren’t doing that. You are out running, exercising, and spending time away from others.
These others may be your children, your spouse, partner, significant other, roommate, etc. If you are in a running relationship there is someone else involved. There is a person who is not there running. They are ferrying kids, or making breakfasts or shuttling soccer players — while you run. It’s a relationship where your ‘disappearance’ is not so much measured in time, but in how many miles long your run will be.
I run those 2-3 hour runs, usually on a Sunday. I leave before anyone in the house is awake, I am out for 3-4 hours (with commuting) and then I get home. It’s usually close to lunch. I need to eat and shower. As our distances get longer and the training is more intense leading up to our goal event in October, I am also more tired. I sometimes try to sneak in a nap after my run. So my 2-hour time allotment per week for the average runner has turned into half a day from just one run.
If I was competing in ultra distance events (events covering distances longer than the marathon’s 42.2km/26.2 miles), I would call my husband the ultra man. He knows how much I love and crave and talk about (and sometimes complain about) running. He knows it is good for me, in more ways than just being active. He has watched me struggle, he has heard me get up before dawn too many years to count, he has seen me improve. He knows my elation at actually beating my own time in an event, especially when I didn’t think it was possible. His reply is often, “I knew you could do it.”
He is supportive, but he is also everything else as well. While I’m out putting in miles he is home. He bends his schedule around mine. There are my “run days” and nothing changes that. I’m learning to be flexible (I’m more flexible about my swim days), and he has always been accommodating.
He says he’s inspired by what I do and seeing what I do. He runs as well, just shorter distances, and we had a few great runs together recently while on vacation (the kids stayed with grandparents). This is something I’ve always wanted — something we both enjoy doing and can do together. So far, schedules and small children have not allowed us this, but we still aspire to being able to get out together.
I am far more stubborn and competitive about my running than he is, but I couldn’t do it without him. This post is my suggestion to those of you who run, who have that other someone who stays home, to perhaps just thank them once more today. They do a lot and are often not with us as we are out enjoying ourselves.