Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Who loves ya baby?

How many of you remember the show Kojak? It was a detective show from the 1970s starring the bald headed Telly Savalas. I'm really dating myself here, aren't I?

Anyways, his signature line was "Who loves ya baby?" That's pretty much all I remember.

The whole point of this is, who supports you and your hobby/passion/obsession with running?

I started running about 20+ years ago to deal with debilitating anxiety attacks. I didn't want to take meds and found that running was a great outlet for all the negative energy I carry inside. Initially, my husband embraced my new habit. He was happy to see me become a calmer, functioning adult again.

But as I became more confident, I started to run races. Nothing big, mind you, just 5ks and 10ks. He didn't go to very many with me, and I was ok with that. He never stood in my way and let me do my thing.

Fast forward to about 5 years ago, when, after taking time off from racing to focus on raising my kids and pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner, I took up racing again. I always kept running--it was my me time, my sanity time. But once the boys got bigger, I needed to set some goals for myself. I loved/hated the anticipation of the race, the training, and lining up at the starting line. But no more 5ks and 10ks for me. I decided to run a half marathon, the Door County half marathon. My husband, my boys, and my parents were all there for that race. Crossing that finish line was a personal victory for me, because I had never run that far in my life.

I liked long distance running so much, that I planned for another--the Disney half marathon the following January. My husband knew it was a "bucket list" item for me, and actually suggested it, combining it with a family vacation. I trained for it and was equally excited and nervous. The morning of the race, he got up at 330 with me while I ate breakfast. But during the race, he and my boys were no where to be found. I was kind of sad, seeing other families with signs along the course. After I crossed the finish line, I called him to tell him I was done. He and the boys were up and ready to head to Epcot, to get a start on the day. I told him I'd shower and meet them there. Inside, I was pretty sad. I tried not to let my disappointment show because I didn't want to ruin the rest of the trip for my boys. I wore my medal proudly that day and received lots of kudos from park employees and other runners. But I didn't forget that he wasn't there.

After that, I made the monumental decision to run the Chicago Marathon. I didn't tell him until after I signed up. He was not happy. "Don't expect us to be there", he told me. I asked him why he would act this way, and brought up Disney. We got in a huge argument about it and never did resolve the issue of why he wouldn't come to watch me run. He played the mom guilt card, that all my running was taking away from attention I could be giving the boys. My argument was that I was setting a good example for them, pursuing a goal and achieving it.

Regardless of what he said, he and my boys were at the finish line the day of the marathon. The night before the race, my parents held their 50th wedding anniversary party. I overheard him proudly tell several people that I was going to "knock it out" when he was asked about me running the next day. So I silently smiled to myself. With this guy, you take it when you can get it.

I've run plenty of other races since then, and I haven't asked him to come to any of them. I've gone to quite a few by myself. He always calls me on the way home, to see how I did. More recently, I've developed friendships with other mother runners and now I make plans to connect with them at my races.

And then there was my race this past weekend. When I first signed up, he told me I was going to ruin our vacation running this race. I pointed out to him how this was one I had wanted to do for a few years. I forged ahead. I know him now, and I knew he'd get over it. And he did. I had planned on driving myself there, when he came up with the idea of staying at a hotel close to the race. He drove me there, and when my boys wouldn't get up, he came back by himself and watched for me to cross the finish line. I thanked him and told him how much it meant to me for him to be there. 

I can't figure him out. I could analyze his childhood, his parents' marriage...but is it worth it? I believe at this point he's accepted my running as important to me. I take what I can get. I bought him this bumper sticker:

Which he proudly put on his car! And he's gotten a lot of attention for it, a lot of laughs, which is all good. Marriage is, after all, a compromise, right?

Does your significant other run? Support your running? Or is he kind of indifferent?


  1. Great post as always, Wendy. My husband, hmmm. Not sure what I would classify him as. He has run 2 5K's...2 years apart. Now all of a sudden on a whim he signed up for Fox Valley half. I truly believe he does it to make me happy and it does. However, running is my ME he will have to accept running with me during OUR time. I will be coaching him and crossing the finish line with him for FVM and I am proud of him.

    1. I think its great that he's going to tackle a half! I'll be curious about your progress training him. Gotta love that he's taking an active interest in your passion!

  2. What a great post. At least he seems to be coming around a bit! I honestly can't imagine being with a partner that doesn't run or isn't active in some way. My hubby and I met at a marathon training clinic and I am ETERNALLY grateful for him and everything he does to support me. He comes out to all my races, even though I tell him he doesn't need to. He knows I like it when he's there so that's what he does for me.

    1. We've been married for 25 years...I didn't run when we first met, so I'm ok with him not being active. You're lucky to have such a supportive spouse! And I can't wait to hear all about your destination race!

  3. We've definitely reached a point in our marriage/life where my husband pretty much never comes to my races. And I'm ok with that. Usually instead of being at the race, he's carting a kid some place or another (game, practice, etc). So that frees me up to race. In addition, I go to almost all my races with a pack of friends so I'm never alone. If I were to express to him that I really wanted him there for a particularly special race, I know he'd come. I guess in whole, most of my races just aren't such a big deal to me anymore! I'm glad you're at peace with where you are in this situation.