Chronicles of an Endurance Athlete's Wife

Married to an Ultra Runner

All in Good Time


When your husband has just come home from a 5 day photo shoot in the Australian outback and leaves 3 weeks later for a transatlantic flight to the Middle East, it’s hard not to feel like Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing.  My husband is Patrick Swayze (with, surprisingly, slightly less spandex), and here I am like a subpar backup dancer, trying my best to keep 3 small children alive, eating dinosaur nugget tails for dinner and using wet wipes as a pseudo shower (who has time for standing under actual hot running water anyways?)

“Nobody puts baby in the corner,” I say to no one in particular as I sit slumped in a leather chair after all the kids are finally in bed- an inordinately large chunk of 85% dark chocolate in one hand and TIME magazine in the other.  But who am I kidding?  I’m likely going to stay awake just long enough to stuff my exhausted face with chocolate and fall asleep upright before even feigning interest in grown-up reading material.  Yes, all I will learn today from literature is what Baby Bear saw and maybe, if I’m lucky, who Doc McStuffins fixed in her toy hospital.

When you’re partnered with someone who is so fully living their dream, it’s difficult to not feel left behind.  I know I’ve written about this before, but it seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life as my propensity to pop out offspring increases parallel to my husband’s success as a professional athlete.  Right now, my husband is in Qatar to race on Team USA at the 50K World Championships.  He is greeted by a man holding a golden pot offering freshly brewed tea each time he walks into his hotel’s lobby, and I’m over here like I brushed my teeth today, can I get a hell yeah?!

Not that being a mother isn’t the most fulfilling and important job I’ve ever had.  It is.  But, it is an inarguable fact that there is nothing sexy or glamorous about motherhood, and that truth is even more starkly apparent when compared to a jet-setting partner.

But what I’ve come to realize is that there is nothing to resent.  My husband’s success is not dumb luck or serendipity but rather the result of years of calculated determination and hard work.  And anyways, what would I get from being aggrieved by my husband’s accomplishments?  Being jealous (because let’s admit it, that’s what resentment is most of the time) wouldn’t motivate me to pursue my own goals and dreams.  It would only serve self-pity.

I often scroll through Instagram and see self-made entrepreneur mothers standing in pristine kitchens laughing in reckless abandon as if their toddler has never pooped his pants or eaten a preservative in his short life.  I see them living their dream of being a famous blogger, or fitness guru, or foodie, or fashionista while being in the midst of motherhood and I think “how the hell do they do it?” and “why not me?”

It’s so easy to allow others’ success to make us feel inadequate, or to feel as though the time has come and gone for chasing dreams.  But just because now isn’t your time doesn’t mean that your time will never come.

And so I’ve decided (over and over) that instead of interpreting others’ success as a fountainhead of jealousy, I will use it as a source of inspiration for me to go after my own dreams.  Okay, maybe not right now (unless I categorize “dreams” as taking a pee without a toddler sitting on my lap or sleeping for more than 3 hours at a time.)  But just because I’m not currently traveling the world as a famous journalist or a prize winning author doesn’t mean my time has passed. As a very wise friend once told me, there is a time to live our story, and a time to tell it.

So don’t be discouraged if you haven’t achieved your time-oriented goals.  Sometimes life throws us hurdles and detours  to getting to where we thought we might be.  Don’t see those detours as obstacles- instead, learn to see them as contributors to your own story, and fuel for your future success.

For now, I’ll be Baby in the Corner- but this Baby isn’t sulking in despair waiting for a young Swayze to lift her from despair.  No, this Baby is enjoying the quirks, triumphs and joys of motherhood while carefully dreaming about all things that are still to come.

Because right now, when all’s said and done, there is no backup dance I’d rather be doing than sitting on my living room floor blowing raspberries and gluing feathers onto a paper turkey with my 3 kids.


  1. I always loved how real (and kind) you are, Steph. You’re always a pleasure to read and follow. Keep being an inspirational mom and person to many of us, it’s appreciated more than you know. Xox

  2. I have been there. Four children. Sitting at home gluing the proverbial feathers as my husband pursued his dream. The kids are a little older now (the youngest is 4, oldest is 12) and my life is opening back up to me again. You’ve got some time in the trenches left – but your time is coming and you will appreciate it like the incredible gift that it is. There is nothing like a hard climb to help you appreciate the view at the top.

  3. Thank you for the reminder Steph. I know I’ve made a conscious decision to put some things aside in life, for now, to raise Viola and be with her as much as possible while she’s small, but I still find myself envious of moms who seem to be living their career dreams. It’s important to remember that I have time for both. xo

  4. Hey like your blog and feel like my wife probably has a lot in common with you.

    Michael Wardian

  5. I have no issues with being supportive of my husbands dedication to Ironman…. but I don’t think I could be as understanding as you are if I were not actually along on the ride to some of the locations he goes to.

    I am to the point where I will no longer go to some races, mostly because I don’t like the location (boring) or the fact that we’re in and out of town so quickly you cannot appreciate the locations. While we don’t have any children we do have three businesses and truth be told…. everything seems to go to hell when we’re both absent.

    So I commend you on your “I’ll get mine later” attitude…. but you need to know that it’s totally fair to ask “when do I get mine?” too. I believe that when people have children then everyone makes sacrifices…. even the husband. So I hope your husband realizes he has the tiger by the tail if he can run off and do as he pleases while you sit home with 3 kids…. it would not be that way in my home. Ever.

    • scatudal

      December 9, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      I completely agree with you. In the second year of our marriage, my husband took time off running and school in order to be the stay at home parent while I completed my graduate degree. Afterwards, I worked full time as a university professor when all I really wanted to do was stay home with my kids (I never thought I would be the type of woman to say that, but having kids changed me…) Now, I feel I get to do exactly what I want to do, which is stay home with my babies while the’re young. Fortunately, my husband’s “dream job” also happens to pay the bills, so I view his race trips as business trips, which they are. If he were off gallivanting, it definitely wouldn’t fly.

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