My Husband's New Obsession: Ultramarathon Running
"It's a good thing we have life insurance"
This was my response when my husband asked me if it was cool he enter a 200 mile race. This was just after he finished (and won) his first 100 mile race in Big Bear. I remember seeing the competitors stagger up to the podiums, their bodies beat, when my husband decided to spring up onto his like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. A man turned to me and asked what his secret was. "Beer and Swing Dancing?" I responded. And with that exchange I knew my husband was not done pushing himself. You see, I think he has a scratch to itch. The scratch being this drive to see where his bodily limits are. I guess 100 miles is not enough. So obviously 200 miles is the next step right? And that's what he is doing right now: just passing the 50 mile marker for the Bigfoot 200 in Washington.
Being married to an ultra-marathon runner can be tricky. It's a world, similar to the Swing Dance world I belong to, with it's huge community, traveling competitions, and famous runners. And these dynamics can push a person from hobbyist to obsessive. When my husband goes for a run, it means I'll see him in at least 4 hours. There's lots of coordinating (not easy with two kids), lots of 10pm texts, "If you don't hear from me in a hour, be worried", and lots of witnessing your bruised, sore husband, shuffle around the room like an 80 year old man.
And you know what? It's totally fine for me......under a few conditions. And I've made sure to lay them out for him, respectively.
1. As much as possible, don't affect bedtime with the kids.
I'm all for following your dreams and doing what makes you happy. Just don't skip out on being a dad and a husband at the time of day your wife tends to lose her mind.
2. If this is the thing that makes you happy, you better come home happy.
Once, I remember him taking off for most the day to get a big run in. My main motivation to watch the kids alone all day was that this is one of the few ways that he can truly relieve stress. Releasing stress is important for the whole family. Especially for an HSP like me, I need peaceful people around me. So you can imagine the drama that ensued when he walked in the door angry.
3. Stick to one big run a year PLEASE.
Doing these runs can take their toll on the body and wallet. I just honestly will start to get stressed if he starts doing these several times a year. I want him alive and healthy for as long as possible.
Supporting the things that keep your loved ones happy is vital. Protecting your limits is also vital. Which reminds me of a recent conversation we had:
"Would you ever want to do a marathon with me some day?"
"I'll stick to birthing babies, thanks.."