Sunday, January 16, 2011

So, You're An Endurance Athlete...and...Your Spouse Isn't - What To Do?

So, I've asked Jen for her input here. I've been a runner for the last 30 yrs. doing races up to 50 miles long. Been competing in triathlons for 18 yrs. Jen is one of the most amazing, talented people on the planet. She's selfless, generous and kind and I love her...but...she is not an endurance athlete.

Over the years she has put up with water bottles all around the kitchen sink drying out, sweaty running and cycling clothes laying around, my bike IN the living room for a few years (no time for that story now), listening to my woes about injuries, aches and pains, not to mention splits, pacing, race reports and how I should have beaten so and so. I once even burned a hole in the family room carpet cycling indoors (no time for that story either.)

She had been incredibly supportive of my training and racing and they've never been a sore spot in our marriage. How have things worked out this way when, the divorce rate for triathletes is much higher than that national average, which, is about 50%? Here are a few things we came up with:
1. Jen just informed me that the reason this has worked is because I'm married to an amazing women who has the patience of Job. OK. Agreed...for sure! Jen, you rock!
2. She said I was good to not let my training and racing get in the way of our children when they lived at home.
3. Based on # 2 - I've tried to always train when it doesn't effect the things in life that are really important = faith, marriage, children, work, etc.
4. I've worked hard at becoming really good at time management. I don't waste time and I multi-task whenever possible. Like doing core work on the floor while watching the news with Jen on TV (this is where her patience comes in.) OK...she's laughing right now as I just read this to her.
5. Jen understands that this is a gift and a passion that God has given me. Just as I support her in what she is "into" like real estate, so she supports me in my endeavors. I believe in her and she believes in me. We're each other's biggest fans - a mutually supportive relationship.

6. Jen just said that she thinks that due to my priorities, I'm willing to train far less than other guys that race at the same level as me. If I put in the hours some triathletes do...well...things might not be going so smoothly on the home front.
7. Jen just said that she knows that if something comes up or she needs me, I'm there - planned workout or not. I'll drop a workout in a heartbeat if she needs me - that sends an important message to her for sure.

We've been married 33 yrs. and they've not all been smooth sailing. Don't want to give that impression. Marriage is hard work. Being married to an endurance athlete...makes it even harder. But, every married person must send the genuine message that their spouse is the most important person in the world. When that message is sent...and and racing can work quite well.

Finally, when Jen comes to a race I'm in, I tell her that I race faster, feeling like I'm back in high school, trying to impress my girlfriend. I think she likes that. OK, she's now telling me to get off the computer and grill some Little Red Barn Beef steaks. My response? "As you wish." (A great line guys - happy wife, happy life :)

1 comment:

Terri said...

I think those could be applied to make any marriage work better, endurance triathlete or not. And good things to think of as I go into my marriage shortly! Thanks for posting Linc!