Passing the 5 Mile Marker… of Marriage.

My husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary this Sunday of Columbus Day Weekend. Five years ago, it was a blistering day in the upper 80s in Massachusetts and we all sweated through our formal wear.

Still, I’d take that day over the driving rain and damp cold that descended on the eastern seaboard this weekend. With our two kids in tow we headed to Cape Cod to avail ourselves of Nana’s childcare services so we could enjoy a night out alone (together) and some dinner and drinks at the Wequassett Inn in Chatham, MA.

Saturday night was bumpin’ at the Wequasett Inn

Mission accomplished! The Wequassett was great. Excellent anniversary celebration (even better marriage).

It got me thinking. The hallmarks of a successful marriage could also be the keys to successful marathon running over time.

Like people who marry their first loves, there are plenty of runners out there that click with running at an early age, find their groove, and “keep it up” their whole lives (see what I did there?). For other people, the relationship with running starts off casual, gets increasingly serious, until one day running is down on one knee and you’re saying “Yes. YES!” to signing up for your first marathon.

In many ways, the first marathon is like the wedding. As in marriage, a marathon runner must navigate the highs and lows of a running life without calling it quits. This is a lot harder and far more potentially significant than training and completing a single 26.2 mile race. Furthermore, no one gives out awards for the number of consecutive years you stick with running. At least if you manage to stay married for 25, 50 years, or more, you get a party, maybe a write-up in your local paper.

Where many marathon runners go wrong is the singular focus on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. An admirable goal, no doubt, but statistically speaking very few of us can qualify for Boston. Every attempt to qualify is the penultimate experience. The longer it takes, the more frustrated you’ll become with running. You’ll hear yourself complaining behind running’s back that you feel cheated and banged up. Overlooking running’s many other virtues, you’ll question if it’s all worth it. Eventually, you’ll look elsewhere to soothe your aches and pains (Yoga, that saucy minx).

Now imagine this same attitude applied to married life. What if your spouse was never satisfied with your accomplishments, always pushing you harder, always reaching for some shiny object just out of reach? You would be running headlong into a brick wall, that’s what. While you’re dating yoga on the side, running is back at the bar with his buddies saying, “We used to have so much fun together. I don’t know where I went wrong.” Running just wants you to love yourself, be happy, and see the big picture. Running just wants you to show up, log some miles, and spend quality time together.

It’s not you, running. Or, at least, it’s not ALL your fault. Running is like a flashy boyfriend that wines and dines you in the beginning. There will come a point in time when running ought to take some personal responsibility for the intoxicating allure and the drug-like high that permits the just-OK runners to dream of ascending impossible heights in the sport. This is a precarious time in any runner’s relationship with marathon running. Runners that make it through this point have come to recognize and accept their limitations over time. They’ve learned to love running for running’s sake and not what it has done for them lately.

Running can at times cut you to the core and force you to confront some unpleasant things about yourself. But what partnership worth your time doesn’t have the potential to do that? And aren’t we all better for it? A good partner in life will make you a better person than you otherwise would be without them. My husband, hands down, is that person for me. Running can be a great partner in life, too, if you let it. It doesn’t ask much more of you than putting one foot in front of the other. The rest is up to you.

How do you keep your relationship with running going?

Have you ever broke up with running?

Has your relationship with running changed over time?

5 thoughts on “Passing the 5 Mile Marker… of Marriage.

  1. Running and I are kinda “meh” — I got busy with work and kids and have been neglecting it. Got out for a few decent stroller jogs in recent days, but as I’m sure you can attest, when you add a kid to the mix, it’s never quite the same experience. Hoping to devote some more quality one-on-one time with running soon. (And OH WAIT, MY HUSBAND. Five years in November.)

    Also, that picture at the end is the most amazing thing. You look gorgeous and the family is so cute. I hope you frame it and love it as a reminder of this wonderful, crazy time.

    Congrats on your anniversary!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Get back into it, girl? I’m not playin! You’re too talented to ride the pine, lol. I did intervals last night and I thought of you and all my speedy friends. Speed versus distance… maybe a good blog post topic in the future. It’s like speedy runners are these powerhouses of strength, but distance runners have the fortitude and focus of zen monks. It’s nuts. And when you can combine the two… like all those BQ people… that’s something. 5 yrs for you too??! We are leading parallel lives. Me on the coast and you land locked in the Midwest. Come back for a visit! We can go running on the north shore!


  2. Congratulations and happy anniversary! Love the pictures – as the other comment noted the last one is really cute, and very real!

    We passed our 24th anniversary this year, and I really feel like marriage – and having kids, a career, pretty much all of life – is a great analogy for running a marathon. There are ups, downs, joy, sorrow, all of it. We’ve just started a new ‘training season’ – being empty nesters, as our older son is a sophomore in college and younger son is a freshman.

    Fortunately we had several years before we got married, and four years before we had kids to build the friendship that is the foundation for our entire life. Pretty much like building a base of training.

    My relationship with running – which started about 6 months out of college – is nearly 28 years old, and has had hills and valleys and plateaus … and dead spots as well.

    Congrats again on five years, and here is to another happy 5 … and another, and another, and …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thanks for the note! It’s so nice to hear happy tales from the “other side” so to speak, lol! You made it, man! Kids in college, empty nest, still married and still RUNNING. I don’t know if you’d call it living the dream, but from my vantage point, it sure seems that way… 🙂 thanks for the follow! Do you have a blog I can check out too??


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