July 26, 2009 marked a day of firsts. It was my husband's first marathon and my first time running a marathon with him. From the time we started training together, it was like getting married all over again.
About a year ago, my husband decided it was time for him to start running. We started running together whenever our schedules allowed. It provided many wonderful opportunities for quality time with each other. It was a time to check in with each other's thoughts and feelings about the day's events or week's past. We have two young boys so it was very nice to have that alone time again.
Two months into the training, my husband decided he wanted to run his first marathon. So, we both signed up and entered the San Francisco marathon as a commitment to train with each other. The 6-months of training was fun because we were passionate about running. It led to many engaging conversations.
The Rehearsal Dinner
We devoted our day to mentally preparing ourselves for the marathon. We feasted on pasta as we strategized for the big day. The night was filled with excitement and nervousness.
The Wedding Day
Race Day! It was the moment of truth. The question was would we run together the entire race? My husband had been battling IT band pain throughout his training. He had some good days and some bad days. But at the starting line, I vowed to stay with him the entire race. Besides, it was his first so it would be special to share the monumental occasion with him. "In sickness, in muscle cramps, in blisters, and in health; till death do us part..."
The first several miles were bliss. We enjoyed the scenery of the waterfront, the Marina, and the Golden gate bridge. We exchanged encouraging words as we basked in our runners high.
My husband's IT band gave him pain at mile 13. As the mileage added up, his pain intensified to the point where we had to stop at every half-mile to stretch his muscles. As his pain increased, his confidence decreased. It was mentally challenging for him, to say the least. I tried to offer him encouragement, but it seemed as if there wasn't anything I could say to make him feel any better. It was like, "shut-up already!" He didn't actually say that, but I know he was thinking it. Hence, quietness for the rest of the run. Like in any marriage, sometimes it is best to keep quiet and just listen.
The Daily Grind
This is the point in the race that got tedious- lots of running, lots of walking, and lots of quietness and reflection. By this time, we were in our own world waiting for time to pass. The miles grew long and the hours even longer.
As we neared the end of the race, hope was regained. This is the corny, lovey-dovey part of the race. My husband thanked me for being there for him. Even if there wasn't anything I could say to make my husband feel better, he said my presence, alone, made his run bearable and gave him something to fight for. He didn't want to let me or himself down. So, even if we had some turbulent moments, it was made all better in the end. I told him how happy I was to be able to share the special day with him.
Alas, the finish line! All the months of preparation and training had paid off. Even if our run didn't go as planned, it was a still worthy of a celebration. We did it. We crossed the finishing line together! We've been through some good times and some bad times on the 26.2 mile journey. But that journey confirmed our love for each other (sappy music in the background). It reminded me of how important patience and understanding is in a relationship. (I was going to add communication but in this case, it wasn't so. It was the lack of it that helped us to survive the run.)
In the end, we celebrated the 26.2 miles that we ran and finished as a couple...and still be on speaking terms!
"Most people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts." ~Steve Prefontaine
Congratulations, Running-guy, for having the guts to run your first marathon!