Couples Running = Couples Therapy?

There’s nothing like running with HH to make me feel like a running fraud.  Yep, the man is back from trial, not having exercised for close to 5 weeks, and I made the mistake of heading out with him for a run on Sunday.  I should have known better.  Joint runs never go well for me as a runner or for us as a couple.

Our problem begins, as many married problems do, with clashing expectations.  HH doesn’t run much, and when he runs he likes to go at one speed:  painful.  He hates to run, he wants to get it over with and he wants an intense workout.  If we are running together, that’s great, but his goals don’t change.  He’s like Salt n Pepa, and he’s gonna push it real good.

I, on the other hand, want my weekend runs to be lengthy, and if the day is nice, I want to my run to be the biscuit that sops up the gravy of the whole experience.  Bring the man I’ve been missing for six weeks along for the ride, and I’m giddy with thought of us running side by side, paces in sync, listening to our tunes yet chatting periodically, one with nature and our run and our complete wedded reunited bliss.

Bliss went out the window at around the 4-minute mark when asshole HH edged in front of me single file to get past a car.  I rolled my eyes, because I knew what would happen next.  He took off all skinny-assed and 6’2″ with long legs gliding along effortlessly.  He looked like the real runner.  

I hobbled along behind with my bad jammed quad and cursed him.  How does he do it, I wondered?  Why do I follow him when it’s not what I want to do, I fumed?  This was not wedded bliss.  I was not running well, but I had to admit that I also just don’t like following someone else’s pace and that my preferences are not his problem.

I caught up to him, and we stayed together for the rest of the first mile, one gazelle and one lumbering tortoise.  Then he picked up the pace and stepped in front of me again.

I wanted a running divorce.  Irreconcilable differences.  His pace was pissing on my biscuit.  

He bounced ahead for about one more mile, then looked back to see me waving goodbye for the sake of saving hundreds of dollars in marriage counseling.  I set my app to start on my own run and tried to give him my “It’s ok, baby, do your own thang” smile.  This is the smile that usually hides gritted teeth and a determination to leave endurance running behind and focus solely on speedwork so that I can one day kick his skinny ass and stand over his exhausted body victorious.

Somewhat like this…

Image

 

Now, what happened next provides great insight into how we’ve stayed married for almost nineteen years.  He turned around and came back to me.

I’m not saying he always does that.  He doesn’t give in when I pout or always capitulate to my wishes.  Neither do I for him.  We have our fights, and we don’t always match up perfectly.  We run at our difference paces and we have our own style.  Sometimes we clash, and sometimes those clashes and differences don’t get resolved.  Sometimes, he just hacks me off.

But on Sunday, he turned and sprinted and found his way back to my side.  He slowed down just a bit (maybe peaking after so many weeks off of exercising?), and I put in a little extra to keep up with him.  We ran together for about two more miles, in sync, largely in silence, but together, until he was ready to call it and was happy with his run.

We sopped up that gravy.  We were that biscuit.

Honey, I’m so glad you’re home, and not just because you’re blog fodder.  I missed you every day–and I love you, even when I’m chasing your skinny ass and you’re not looking back.

And readers, I’d just like to add that once he quit, I went on by myself and rounded out my run to a beautiful 6.6 miles.  At my own pace.  To my own endurance goal.

 

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