What’s it like to be married to an ultrarunner?
No Boundaries: One of the first and most important lessons I’ve learned after being married to an ultrarunner is that whatever boundaries used to exist in our relationship, were thrown out the window once she became an ultrarunner. Running 100 miles has taught my wife a lot of things; patience, focus, tenacity. However, you’re never likely to hear words like polished, proper, elegant used to describe her. And that’s ok. So many relationships are founded on unrealistic expectations where we see each other in our most refined state (clean, relaxed, well dressed). When things start to get tough or suboptimal, thats when you really know if your relationship will sink or swim. I’m reminded of Good Will Hunting and Robin William’s speech that we’re never going to find that perfect someone because they don’t exist. Ultrarunning quickly forces us to accept that we’re not perfect and we’ll eventually see each other when we’re not at our best. Instead of taking away from the relationship though, this has only enhanced the love and compassion I feel for my wife. Plus, it’s given us a ton of funny stories and great memories.
Food & Supplement Education: Not surprisingly, an integral part of running 100 miles is eating food as fuel, rather than for pleasure….and lots of it!! Friday night dates have transitioned from restaurants and movies to trips to the grocery store. Traditional dinners have been replaced by smoothies (with avocados and beets?!), foods with lots of garlic and turmeric (for recovery and inflammation) and chips and guacamole barely stand a fighting change to last more than a day. While I can’t say that I have adopted the eating habits of my wife (algae anyone?), I enjoy learning about the scientific properties of foods and supplements and how they impact the body. I only wish I had this information in college when trying to espouse the virtues of drinking beer to my parents.
Appreciate the Time Away: Finishing an ultramarathon is a huge accomplishment but the race and especially the training leading up to it take quite a bit of time. When my wife first started running long distances, it was hard not to feel like running became her secret affair. However, as any of you know when dealing with a spouse during a taper period, I would prefer her to exhaust her energy during a run then save it up and wreak havoc around our house. I’ve learned that it’s ok to enjoy the time apart; in fact, it can be pretty fun. The time apart has allowed me the freedom to catch up on my TV (Archer, The Fall, Mad Men, Luther) and movie (Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Her) queue. It’s also nice to get away from talking about running by spending it with other non ultrarunner friends (or “normies” as we like to refer to ourselves) doing trivia or playing recreational sports. This time apart has allowed for a level of independence in the relationship. We have been a “WE” since age 19, so this has reminded each of us that while we’re a couple and fully committed to each other, we’re also individuals with our own interests, goals and personalities. That way, when we do get time together, we’re able to focus on each other and share our respective experiences. It also opens both of us up to experiences that we otherwise, on our own, wouldn’t have been able to.
More to follow…