Chronicles of an Endurance Athlete's Wife

Married to an Ultra Runner

The Daily Commute, in Running and Relationships

On a normal weekday, my husband makes his daily commute to work on foot, running 12 miles from our quaint mountain home on the outskirts of Flagstaff into town, and then back home as the sun sets at the end of a long work day.

These long commutes are the majority of his training, making it so that he doesn’t have to do specific workouts on top of a busy work day.  This gives him some extra time for morning snuggles and evening dance parties with the babes.  And if I’m lucky, I get a solid 45 minutes of Netflix and Chill (emphasis on “chill” in its literal sense) before he falls asleep next to me, often while I’m making some deep commentary on a particularly intense scene of our show.

“You feel me, Rivs?”

Nope.  He’s out.

Every time.

Although this in itself sounds like an impressive feat (the running, not the exhaustion-induced narcolepsy, although some would argue that they are both quite remarkable), I have to admit that I’m so accustomed to his supernatural physical and mental fortitude that I’ve come to expect this type of behavior.

The other day, amidst the hustle of getting a reluctant 7 year old ready for school while simultaneously trying to dissuade a headstrong 2 year old from stuffing blackberries into her Baby Alive Doll’s butt (true story) and urging a feisty 10 month old to put food in her mouth instead of on the floor, I noticed that my husband wasn’t on his way out the door as he normally would be at 7:15.

I quickly glanced around the living room.

Running shoes still lined up with the other 15 or 30 other pairs by the door.

Hydration pack still lying in the corner.

Husband in sweats rather than his normal 7am stretchy pants.

Gloves still lying neatly on the entryway dresser, next to an assortment of sunglasses, hats and watches all absolutely essential to running and therefore need to be visible at all times.

The empirical evidence was gathered, denoting only one thing.

“Are you…driving to work?” I asked, unable to hide the horror in my voice.

“Yeah, my legs are pretty dead and I have some things to work on at the clinic before I start work,” he replied.

“Oh…” I mumbled, the word “lazy” floating through my head even though the only physical exertion I’d demonstrate that day would be a 28 minute circuit workout and some pragmatic squats to remove toys and/or dirty diapers off the floor with a baby in my arms.

“I can’t believe he’s NOT going to run 24 miles and work for 8 hours in a neurological rehabilitation clinic today while still finding time to work on his doctoral thesis” I thought before stopping myself to note how asinine that sentence sounded in my head.

I had to take a moment to humble myself.

I’m often so consumed with patting myself on the back for how hard I work at home with 3 kids that I don’t appreciate all that my husband does.

I think this is typical in relationships, and is often the reason they fall apart.  We become so entrenched in obsessing over our own hard work- how much we put into the relationship or comparing tit for tat tasks around the house- that we stop showing appreciation for all that our partner does.

In that momentary epiphany of my own self-absorption, I realized that my husband’s hard work doesn’t negate my own.  Things run smoother when we praise our partner’s efforts before taking an exhaustive inventory of all the things we’ve done that day.

I may spend the day keeping things out of plastic dolls butts while wiping real human ones.  I may feel like a taxi service carting kids here and there, finding time to squeeze in an essential salsa drop-off at my husband’s work (sometimes you just NEED salsa for your burrito after you’ve run 12 miles.  Straight up NEED it.)

Yes, I do a lot at home.  But that doesn’t mean that my husband isn’t working equally hard in a different capacity.

Even the extraordinary becomes unimpressive when you witness it day after day.  It’s up to us to search for the marvelous in the mundane.

50 Comments

  1. I LOVED this post. Thank you for the reminders to not allow what we are grateful for become what we expect. Just because somebody does something day-in and day-out doesn’t make it un-extraordinary.

  2. Once again your brilliance shines through. You’re welcome.
    Love your older sister.

  3. And I thought I was a hero for riding my 5 miles to work… 🙁 24 miles of running day in and day out, wow, that’s insane!

  4. umm.. you do know what “netflix and chill” means, right?

  5. I love reading your blog! Great read!!!

  6. All couples…………..read this. NOW! Brilliantly put!

  7. This is so great and so well put Steph. And 24mi… The salsa is a MUST.

  8. Super impressed with both of you!

  9. I truly appreciate this article post.Thanks Again. Cool.

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