Challenge accepted

It’s been a couple of months now since my husband has started running again. He runs something like four miles during his lunch break most days of the week. We were talking about this over dinner two weeks ago, and he was telling me how great he has been feeling, but he wished that he had someone to run with. Naturally, I offered to run with him. I thought he would get excited about it because he always gets excited whenever I agree to join him on the stuff he likes to do, like running or watching him play football in the middle of a snowstorm.

To my surprise, he quickly says “No way.”

Not even No or No, thanks, but he actually said No way.

Stunned, I asked, “Why not?”

Without blinking, he says, “You’re too slow.”

I said nothing in response, but gave him the stink eye throughout the rest of dinner. He didn’t notice because he was too busy annihilating his pasta.

That week, I started running. And I’ve been running ever since.

Okay, maybe the word “running” is a bit of an exaggeration. It’s really more of a slow jog, and even that might be arguable considering I have such short legs. I think it takes me a minute to “jog” the length of a city block, but I can’t really be too sure because most of the time I’m concentrating on not passing out or having my legs fold underneath me. Regardless, I feel great. But yesterday, we were driving to my mother-in-law’s house when we passed a jogger who was definitely struggling and moving about as quickly as a line-up at the DMV. He looked like he was about to throw up or cry, or both. Obviously, I know the feeling, so I sympathized with the guy.

My husband, on the other hand, points at him from the driver’s seat, laughs, and says, “Look, love! It’s like you when you run!”

I gave him the stink eye again, for myself and the poor innocent jogger he just made fun of. This time, he did not have any pasta to distract him, so he definitely noticed.

How do I retaliate? Tonight, I’m going running. And I’m going to keep running until he never has any reason to belittle my running abilities ever again.

Let me make this clear: I know it sounds like I’m taking things the wrong way, but actually, I’m taking it exactly the way I need to take it. My husband loves me no matter what, and I know it. He’ll tell me when he thinks I’m beautiful, and he tells me when he thinks that my jeans make me look fat. This is why he makes fun of my running, because it’s true that I suck at it. And although it infuriates me, I’m realizing that maybe this is exactly what I need to get going. When it comes to fitness, I’ve allowed myself to use euphemisms and excuses for a really long time. Is it infuriating that he antagonizes me because I can’t run like he does? Yes. Is it a little depressing that I can’t even get my own husband to be my running partner because I’m so slow? Absolutely. But so far, this is the only thing that has gotten me in my running shoes, on the pavement, doing what I actually need to do. And in the end, a lot of what it means to be married is to help your other half become what they need to become, even if you end up looking like the bad guy.

So to my 7-minute-mile running, antagonistic, snobby jock of a husband: challenge accepted. And thank you for refusing to coddle me into becoming a lethargic, unhealthy, pathetic, slow poke couch potato. Someday, I’ll sign us both up for some yoga classes and I will be sure to return the favor. 😉


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