Ha, ha, ha! My "life partner" and I used to train with each other when we were first dating. Now, after 10 years together, have discovered that it is not always the best thing for our relationship. :-)
From the October 2010 issue of Runner's World
"Mother nature," my husband said through a clenched jaw in a tone he'd never used with me before, "is fraught with conflict." When your spouse utters this kind of comment, you know it's best not to respond. It was 90 degrees. We had bugs stuck between our front teeth. We had been running for five hours, and I had just chirped for the millionth time that the woods were so beautiful and wasn't it nice to enjoy the summer like this?
We were on our first trail run together, a 50-K. Weeks earlier, Peter had run his first half-marathon, and he was game for any adventure that promised sweat, woods, and sunshine. That is, until we got to mile 20.
You see, Peter and I love each other a lot. We love running a lot. We have discovered in our six years of marriage that we don't love running together or doing many other sports together. A lot.
He loves to row. On my first lesson, shortly after Peter sculled by, yelling, "Hi, Honey!" so proud of his wife and future rowing partner, I slipped on duck poop, landed on the boat, and split my ear open. Too hysterical to interrupt his workout, I drove myself to the ER. When I passed him still on the river, I honked with the hand that wasn't holding my bloody ear. He waved and smiled. I burst into tears. I needed 22 stitches.
We were in Vermont celebrating our second anniversary when we tried cycling together. I trudged up and down the rolling country roads as he zoomed effortlessly into the distance. I couldn't understand how he could go so darn fast. He couldn't understand why I lumbered along so slowly. By the time I caught up with him, both of us were huffy, puffy, and completely out of patience. "What happened to you?" we both demanded.
As much as I like the idea of us running in lockstep, I know that this just isn't us. When his pace slips, I ask if he's okay, and he hates that. When I fall behind, I hate that he doesn't ask. We've learned that we function best as athlete and crew. He loves to watch the Boston Marathon, and be at mile 17 with water. I love to watch his regattas, and be at the end with a fleece.
Peter's races are mostly close to our home and over in a matter of minutes. He, on the other hand, got to spend our fifth anniversary watching me run around a one-kilometer loop at the 24-Hour World Championships in Italy. Beforehand, I was an irritating bundle of nerves. Afterward, I was a moaning pile of sore muscles he had to push in a wheelchair.
When we got home, I reviewed our wedding vows. We promised to love each other through every bounced check, dirty dish, and every body part that surrenders to gravity. Nothing in there about watching your wife run in circles for 24 hours and then celebrating your love over a family-sized tub of Tums. He cleaned the blisters on my shredded soles and even encouraged me to show them off to my friends. "That's pretty hard-core," some said. He replied, "That's my girl."
Who needs a training partner when you've got a love like that?