Tuesday, September 20, 2016

If you want to go far, go together

Power couple.
This past Sunday, my husband and I ran 10 miles together. It was my husband’s first double-digit run. Ever. EVER!

We’re signed up for the Detroit Free Press International Half-Marathon. I’ve done 7 marathons, and one half-marathon at the end of the 70.3 I finished two years ago, but I’ve never actually run an open half.

He’s the one that convinced us both to sign up for the Freep Half. Before he got more serious about running this fall, his longest run was probably around 6-7 miles, so I tried to talk him out of it. But stubbornness runs in the family and he said he wanted to try. Oh, the irony, considering I started and finished in a respectable time the full last year, after IT and SI joint issues sidelined me for a month before the race. If I could try, he could too. It was only fair.

He has really committed to doing this race and we have been doing a lot of our runs together. I’ve forgotten about the “newness” of preparing for your first big race and all the excitement that goes along with it. It’s like being a little kid experiencing Christmas for the first time again! The emergency bathroom breaks – what a story! The gel taste testing – which flavor will reign supreme! The blisters and chafing – I didn’t even notice the pain at the time! The planning your running routes based on drinking fountain availability – gotta stay hydrated! The runner’s high – I am amazing!

I forgot how exciting it is when every one of your long runs is a new personal distance record. And how you feel like a complete badass for running double-digit miles before most people drag their hungover selves out of bed. More than once I have been out for early miles and ran past people coming home for the night.

I forgot how awesome you feel when you COULD use your long run as an excuse for a face full of nachos, but you decide to keep making healthy choices. (Not that my husband has ever talked me out of ordering fries from the local BBQ joint. Ever. Certainly not two days ago.)

I forgot how satisfying an afternoon on the couch can be after you rocked a 16-, or 18-, or 20-miler earlier that day. Or how delicious pizza tastes after a training run. Or how wonderful that nap feels.

However, I did NOT forget that feeling when I stood at the start line of my first marathon 6 years ago, listening to the national anthem, goosebumps on my arms, thinking, “This is what real athletes feel like.” In four weeks, my husband gets to experience that feeling, too.

He had to remind me once a few years ago not to be a snob about running after I made a snide comment about someone excited about finishing a 5K. He was absolutely right. It wasn’t THAT long ago that finishing a 5K was a big deal for me, too. And I want him, and everyone, to experience how awesome running is, whether it’s a mile or an ultra. He only gets to experience these “firsts” once and I want him to enjoy them.

Before I get all emotional, here’s my favorite running quote:

“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” -John Bingham

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