In Run Like a Mother, in the Marriage chapter that’s excerpted in the just-out issue of Runner’s World, I wrote that my man, Jack, doesn’t exercise. I was convinced he was firmly entrenched in the sedentary camp. But as those perky kids on Glee remind us: Don’t stop believin’. After more than 12 years of sitting on the sidelines while I exercised, Jack has finally started moving. Two months ago, he joined a gym, and he’s been working out regularly ever since. (Sing it with me: “Don’t stop believin’/Hold on to that feelin’”)
And now that he’s discovered fitness, he has new interest in my workouts. Before this year, I could count on my toes the number of times Jack asked me how my run went. Now it’s almost any everyday occurrence. I’m entirely grateful for his burgeoning commitment to exercise and his interest in my active life, yet I can’t shake the feeling he doesn’t understand my passion for running. When he asks, I give Jack a brief synopsis of my run—sometimes just tossing out a “great!” or “it was tough going after about mile 8”—but I don’t chew it over with him.
I’d been mulling this over when I got an email from Shelly, who also blogs about running. She pretty much summed up what I’ve been feeling. “I have found so many inspiring people that seem to understand me in a way my many of my friends and family do not. Running and motherhood are a lifestyle, not a hobby or recreation. This drive within me is hard to explain to those who do not feel it.”
I know, though, I have to give Jack a chance to understand me and my running better. Case in point he has a ways to go: On Saturday, I was on what was supposed to be an 18-mile run. At about mile 14, I realized it was going to be more like 20 miles. Borrowed a cyclist's cell phone to call Jack, asking him to pick me up at mile 18. No-go. His response: "It's only two more miles. Just hurry up." Uh, yeah, like I said... I’m hoping our book will help him.
Do you feel your spouse or partner “gets” your running?