Hi, Jenny here! David and I have been talking about starting a shared blog to chronicle our experiences with running, working out, camping, hiking, clean eating, and adventurous-full-on-joyful living in general. After David shared with me his idea to name it “Running Our Pace”, I’ve been thinking a lot about what that meant to me, and to us. During our run this morning I began to piece it together a bit and wrote the following. But first we want to say welcome, and thank you for taking the time to read about our little (mis)adventures. We look forward to sharing with you.
We have all seen, and most likely shared memes and quotes that remind us how running is a microcosm of life. You get out of it what you put into it, etc, etc. I find that to be so true. That’s what I love about both running and yoga. What I practice mentally, physically, and emotionally on the pavement/trail and on my mat help me to become a more centered, well grounded person off the mat and out of my running shoes (the few times you find me in such places – HA!) I believe this is all the more relevant when you run with your life partner. Your journey as running partners is a magnification of your relationship in general.
I’m reminded of words shared with me by my mother a long time ago. To sum it up, Mom told me that a good relationship is like a bank account. You make deposits and withdrawals. She suggested that you do everything you can to make deposits first. And frequently. To quote Maya Angelou, “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” So in that same vein, deposits made by taking thoughtful and purposeful action that create meaning for the relationship are what we should strive for. Having our partner walk away from our action feeling as positive, upbeat, and hopeful as possible is wildly important. She said that withdrawals tend to be weighted more heavily than deposits as people consciously remember the bad more than the good. As the builder of relationship wealth, you have to make considerably more deposits than withdrawals. That said, she reminded me that we all have “good” days and “bad” days. We have days where one might shoulder a little more of the burden, and days that that dynamic reverses.
Running with David is like this. Many times our runs are smooth for both of us. We each feel positive and strong and it is simply a success. We share fist bumps afterward and go on with our day. And much like my mother’s advice indicates, these runs are oddly enough probably the most “forgettable” of our runs. There are also times when one or the other of us struggle. And that has certainly gone both ways for us. I have been the encourager, the cheerleader, or the one to finish and go back in the car to pick David up on an off day. Running is like life–there are good days and bad days. He’s walked with me when I bonked, and vice versa. I remember runs when I felt I could take on the world that were allergy attack exercises in just trying to breathe for him. And sure, there have been one or two times where a small spat may have led to a silent run while we each used the pavement to move through feelings.
In fact I feel that has ultimately been the biggest lesson for me. My mental state determines my running state. Once when I pushed my pace from a negative place, I pulled my hip flexor a little and it stayed aggravated for more than a week. On the flip side, when I focus on encouraging David I often feel stronger and enjoy my run all the more. This same lesson is true in all aspects of our relationship.
This summer my running was waylaid by a few things. I stayed very active. I was not injured. Running just took more of a backseat than it has in the past. So now I am working to get my speed back. In much the same way that we tend to remember withdrawals, I think we as humans tend to forget the bigger picture of training at times, too. Whatever is going on now is somehow the apex and always of who we are as runners and what we can achieve. But to quote my mother again, “always and never are never always right”. I have not always been who I am as a runner today, and I will not always be. I might be slower than I was last summer, but that is in no way a final chapter. I can simply remember big picture. I couldn’t run for years after my car accident. But flash forward a few years and a lot of yoga…and I was (am) stronger and faster! I ran several half marathons, a marathon, and two ultra marathons. So. I know I can not only get to where I was last summer. I know I can surpass it. But I forget that at times out on a run when David has to wait for me to catch up. The same way that in the midst of a fight one might be quick to say “You always” or “You never”; it’s this lesson of bigger picture that is so important. Sure we all make mistakes. In a long term relationship we will rub or annoy each other on occasion, but we must be careful to not judge the entirety of our relationship, or our partner by one bad moment or day. That is a harmful withdrawal.
Those bad runs, or bad days are actually what make it so wonderful to have someone out there with you, supporting you. That person having a good day, pushes and inspires you a little bit. That perfectly timed word of encouragement is sometimes just the deposit you need to go on. And the more we do that for each other on the pavement, the more we function as a team and do that for one another during the normal day to day “stuff”.
Today I got the most perfectly timed, sweaty hug. And it made all the difference. When I shared some of these thoughts about my current state of running with David, he said “I’m not sure how to help you.” But what he doesn’t know is he already did, and he already is. I’ll get faster by chasing him. I’ll get wealthier by all the deposits he is making in our account. And, while I never hope for it, I know one day it’ll be me there for David. That’s the way it goes. And that’s what I love about Running Our Pace.