WARNING: This blog post is filled with whining and self-pity and crabbiness – read if you want a good laugh! I can’t be upbeat all the time, can I? And once again, I will try to keep it brief. Well, maybe. Or maybe not.
Every St. Patrick’s Day for the past several years – this is the 10th anniversary, actually – my husband has ran "the loop" at his family’s lake place on Lake Ida. The loop is about a three-mile stretch of road – both gravel and tar – consisting of hills and some semi-flat stretches that starts and ends at the lake place near Big Horn Bay. He started doing the run after a bad break up as a way to signify his freedom. Although we have been together for the past seven years (we started dating seven years ago on March 18), he has continued the tradition. And he always runs it on St. Patrick’s day no matter what day of the week it is on.
He usually does the run by himself, but I decided to join him this year. Actually, my son has joined him on the run a couple of times, but I haven’t. Not sure why. Oh, probably because I didn’t start running until last year in the summer some time. Anyway, I am thinking I should have just let him go by himself. Here’s why:
We started out from the lake place, running immediately. We did do a little stretching, but I am used to walking for a couple of blocks to warm up. The weather was gorgeous; the sun was out, but there was a slight breeze – a chilly breeze – coming off the lake. Shortly after we started, my breathing became short and shallow. This usually doesn’t happen so fast. I just assumed we were running a faster pace than normal. We continued and I tried to relax and focus on breathing right. Or normal. It wasn’t working and I was struggling. The first set of hills were coming and I could feel my husband pulling away from me. I told him to just go ahead because I couldn’t keep up the same pace and I really wanted to run the whole thing and I KNEW he would be walking soon anyway.
Oh, by the way, have I ever mentioned that my husband is 12 years older than me? Well, he is. He will be 50 in November. Oh, and have I ever mentioned that I exercise my butt off and he maybe exercises twice a month? If even that. Oh, and yeah, one more thing, did I happen to tell you he’s not super fit, but just kind of? I would definitely consider myself in better shape. Oh, and there’s one more thing, he has high blood pressure and is on medication, so yep, I have to be in better shape…right?
Well, as we kept going, he kept getting farther and farther ahead of me and he kept running and running and running. And, running. And, pulling farther away from me. And, yes, it was kind of, sort of, maybe, making me a little mad or maybe sad or maybe a little deflated. I mean, come on, I am the one who has been working out. I am the one who has been doing all the running. I am the one who has lost all this weight. I am the one who should have been kicking his butt, leaving him in the dust. Not the other way around. Seriously. Deflating with a capital D.
I know we were not in a race. I do, seriously, understand that. But gosh dang it, I wanted to go out there and run circles around him. I wanted to run the whole thing and not get winded. I wanted to feel like the young, fit, in-shape runner. I am 12 years younger, darn it. Why did I have to suck? Why did I have to feel like the old, out of shape, winded one? So, instead of using those feelings to fire me up, I sulked instead and could feel the tears welling up, although they didn’t fall. I kept them in because I didn’t want to be like THAT. A baby. A sore loser. I could feel the sting in my left calf as it kept tightening up, burning more and more with each pound of the pavement. I could feel my lungs closing in, making it harder and harder to breathe. And I could see my husband, running and running and running, with what looked like such ease.
After I quit feeling sorry for myself and after I could finally take a couple of deep breaths and after my calf loosened up – just a little I might add – I started running again. Yes, I did have to walk. My husband then turned the corner and I could no longer see him. It was the last stretch of road, the last mile. I started to kick it in gear. A little. I got to the corner and saw, with a little relief (I can’t lie), that my husband had FINALLY started walking. I kept running, trying to catch up. Finally, I did. And I passed him right on up. As I came up next to him, he turned and smiled at me with that oh-so-cute smile of his, not knowing that just minutes ago, I was kind of ticked at him. Well, not really at him, but at the fact that his nearly 50-year-old body was beating my nearly 38-year-old body. I waved, smiling ever so small, and just kept on going. I know it wasn’t fair to him, but I didn’t want him to see that I was not so happy.
I made it back to the lake place first, but was still upset at myself for not being able to run the whole thing. I walked around until he made it back, which was not very long at all and after a quick check of things, we headed back home.
I think he could tell something was wrong. He was so sweet and nice and thanked me for running with him this year. He told me how much he loved the fact that I came with him. He told me I did a great job and that he was proud of me. Yep, that’s what did it. The tears finally came (just a few) and I told him that I thought I should give up running because, "I sucked." I wasn’t ever going to be a runner. He assured me I didn’t "suck."
See, the thing is, my husband was a runner…years ago. He ran just about every day. He is seasoned. Or so he told me. He said he knows all the tips and tricks to running. He knows how to breathe, which is the biggest thing I struggle with. He once again assured me that I am doing great and even said I don’t look awkward when I run. He said my form was good. I guess that made me feel a little better. A little.
Well, we are running a 5K – supposedly together – on May 21. At this point, I am really questioning whether or not I am ready. Really, truly, I am. I know I will do it. I know I will finish. I just don’t know if I will be able to keep up with my husband…but I guess that is something I am going to have to live with. Right?