Married to Your Running Partner

runners1My running partners had always been females. I had nothing specific against running with boys; I just couldn’t keep up with any of my guy friends in high school – and then they couldn’t keep up with me after college. I always thought it sounded dreamy to have a boyfriend as a running partner, but I never even dated a runner. My now-husband told me soon on in our relationship that he thought it was “awesome” that I was a runner, and he would happily support me at my races, but he hated running and never wanted to do it recreationally – so don’t ask.

I didn’t. Really, I never asked him to run with me. He lived up to his word about attending my races and loyally lugging around all of my crap, while cheering from the sideline, and always having an excited hug for me at the finish line. That kind of support was amazing. It was plenty good enough for me. But it only lasted about a year.

One day, seemingly out of the blue, my boyfriend told me he wanted to try running. He said he was tired of always watching all the action from the sidelines and wanted to see what racing felt like. I tried not to let my eyes visually bug or choke on my food. I played it totally cool – like it wasn’t a dream come true for me.

“Oh my God! I mean…that’s cool. You can join me anytime. Uh, you know, if you want a partner.”

He didn’t. At first.

He went for a few short solo runs, just to test out his legs. He’d played soccer his entire childhood up until college and was an avid boulderer, so he was definitely in good shape. It didn’t take long until he was up to 4 and 5-mile runs and asking me for route ideas. Trying a new tactic to nab him as my partner, I explained that my routes often went off roads (they didn’t), so they were all really hard to explain (they weren’t).

“Maybe you should just join me a couple of times to see them,” I suggested.

He hesitated.

“We can go your pace. Promise,” I added.

He finally agreed. Yes! I’d done it! I not only had a male running partner, but he was my favorite male in the whole world! I already knew I’d marry this guy someday.

runers2Six years later, we most certainly are married, and we’ve come a long way as running partners. We’ve had long runs, short runs, good runs, and bad runs together. We’ve gotten lost together, ran hills, walked hills, laughed so hard we have to stop, gotten so annoyed that we’ve decided to take different routes home, and offered plenty of running advice – solicited and not – to each other.

The only thing we’ve never done together is race. At our finest and fittest, our pace is pretty comparable, so it’s entirely within reason to think that we could race together. However, due to injury, pregnancies, and other life events, we’re rarely in our finest and fittest shape at the same time. We’ve run many of the same races, and often start out running the first few miles side-by-side, but we always end up deciding to just do our own thing and meet at the finish line. Sometimes I beat him, and sometimes he beats me.

We’ve seen each other fail miserably at races – even fail to finish, but we’ve also seen each complete our first marathons, ultramarathons, and achieve PRs (personal records). Whether I am having the best or worst run on any given day, there is only one person I want sweating by my side, only one face I search for in the crowd, and only one man’s arms I run into at the finish line – my husband, my running partner.

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By: Audra Rundle