When our alarm clocks rang before 6 AM this morning, KMN and I both popped out of bed, threw on our running gear, powered up our Garmins, headed outside, and began to run. One block later, we separated: Me for one last super-long trail run (28 miles) before my 50K, and him for an 8 mile tempo run. As we parted ways, I said, “Happy Anniversary. Thanks for understanding. I’ll see you for dinner.”
Because, you know, any normal girl might want to spend a little time with her husband on their anniversary. A morning run together might be sweet, ya know? But I have a race. And a training plan. And paces. (So does he.) And most importantly? I’m married to a man who gets all that.
It all started It all became official four years ago today (more or less, give or take 12 time zones), when this happened:
I’m a lucky gal. KMN is one of the most compassionate, thoughtful (as in, he really thinks about things), gentle, hard-working, and insightful people I know. He supports, encourages, and inspires me every day. He believes in my dreams as much as – and sometimes more than – I do. And he makes me want to be a better person. I am blessed to have found such a terrific life partner.
But despite the above kissy picture, I definitely can’t fill an entire post with romantic mush and wedding photos (sweaty post-workout photos are more my style). *cue perfect segue* And so, as an acknowledgement of all that my husband puts up with from me and my crazy hobbies, I present to you all:
10 Reasons Female Endurance Athletes Are Just Like Other Women (Only Not Really)
[A Tribute and “Thank You!” to our significant others.]
1. We love spandex and tight fitting clothes! Unless, of course, we’re actually at home to see you, in which case we’ll most likely be wearing sweatpants and an old race T-shirt.
2. We need our *ahem*beauty*ahem* time in the bathroom. This critical time is usually within 10 minutes of returning from a run.
3. We’d love to tell you about our day. But be aware that 8 minutes of our 10 minute description may be spent dissecting the highs and lows of a morning workout that was over before 7 AM.
4. We like to smell good. It’s just that we define “good” as “not like soggy gym clothes, locker room, or even faintly of chlorine – as long as you don’t get too close to our hair”. Note: If we showered before we joined you for dinner, then we are considering our smell to be “good”, and we are ready to go someplace “nice” for dinner.
5. Our other hygiene habits are also excellent. We always use our shirts, arm sleeves, or gloves if we need to blow our noses while running, and if we pee while on the bike, we always check to make sure no one is behind us first.
6. We know how to party. If by “party” you mean go to bed before 10 PM so we can get up at 5 AM for a workout. And we definitely like fancy girly drinks, like Nuun. And those capsules of white powder scattered in any pouch or pack we might have on a workout? Salt tabs. I’ve got a great supplier, if you’re interested….
7. Sure, we’ll make you a meal. A bowl of quinoa topped with veggies is lunch, or dinner, or both – right? And the leftover quinoa with yogurt and berries is DEFINITELY breakfast. Domestic goddess-hood, people.
8. We love jewelry (that comes with a built-in GPS) and shoes (with laces and tread).
9. We sometimes “have a headache”. Except it’s usually some inconveniently painful chafing. Or an early workout the next day.
10. We love when you “spend the day with us”, especially when that means you get up at 4 AM with us, chauffeur us to a race site, carry and manage all our extra gear (including one emergency run back to the car because we forgot our Sport Beans/tire pump/swim cap/whatever), spend 3 hours navigating and waiting for three, 10 second glimpses of us (at least, you think it was us, but it was hard to see and everyone was moving so fast), then meet us at the finish line, where we unceremoniously demand to be taken. For food. NOW!!!!
Of course, while being our partner may require sacrifices on some fronts, I should also point out that there are plenty of advantages to being the significant other of a lady endurance athlete. We enjoy outdoor adventures and know how to take care of our bodies: You won’t usually have to carry our snacks, or remind us to drink, or cheer us up that last hill on a hike. We have endurance, and lots of energy (at least, on the days when we haven’t been on a five hour bike ride or long run or intense speed session or…). We are strong and probably a bit competitive: We make awesome moving partners, because we’ll want to move more, bigger boxes – faster – than you.
We are very good at occupying ourselves, so don’t worry if you have to work late/travel for business/go bowling with you buddies – we love a guilt-free session with our Garmin. We know how to support each other – a race is a race, but any other time (and even sometimes in a race), most of us want to encourage, assist, and lend a gel to a fellow athlete. We are dedicated and motivated – we know how to make a plan and stick to it. We understand the concept of delayed gratification (in fact, we rely on it!), and know how to work patiently and progressively toward a greater goal. And when the going gets tough (in a workout, or in life), we know that the most important thing is to just keep going.
Final Note: I can recommend the following as a really good way to make the endurance athlete in your life swoon when she goes out for a long run: Set the air conditioning to turn on about 30 minutes before she’s due home. Make sure there is electrolyte drink and watermelon in the fridge. Put a Nalgene of water in the freezer for her. Leave the water heater on, so she can jump in the shower whenever she wants. Told you all that my husband “gets” me!
*Obviously, I’m playing off lots of stereotypes in this post. There are all kinds of exceptions. This is only meant to be funny, so please don’t take offense.
What’s missing from my list?
What kinds of nice things does a loved one (significant other, sibling, roommate, parent) do for you when you go out for a long, hard workout?