Racing and My Marriage

I get asked a lot about how my husband and I both manage to race and train at the same time.  I know we’re extremely fortunate to have found similar interests and hobbies that we both enjoy.  But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

Marriage is hard.  Can we just say that?  Can we just be real and open and honest and ok with the reality that it’s HARD?  It takes work.  We have been married for 12 years…together for 15.  We’ve experienced a lot together.  3 pregnancies.  Hard ones.  3 individual people that we are both responsible for raising…together.  We’ve experienced high school, college, first jobs, failure, loss, sickness, disappointment, disagreements. We each have dreams and goals and aspirations for our lives and for ourselves as individuals.

We have both discovered this love of running and racing and triathlon later in life.  It wasn’t part of our relationship until after we had kids.  We’ve had to learn how to make it work.  We’ve had to learn how to be healthy and active without being extreme or sacrificing all the good stuff.  I talk to so many athletes who struggle with fitting in their training and workouts without sacrificing time with their spouse and kids.  I know a lot of you don’t have supportive spouses or ones that understand where you are coming from.  Maybe you are a little like us and you both have goals that you are trying to navigate around.  It’s hard…but not impossible.

Can I just say that I’m not an expert.  At all.  I don’t have all the answers or a perfect relationship for you to model.  We are healthy.  We love each other.  We love seeing each other succeed and reach our goals…but we’re not perfect.  We’re human and selfish.  In order for us to set goals and reach them we need each other’s support.  We need to be on the same page.  Sometimes our individual goals have to be put on hold because it’s just not the right season of our lives.  Sometimes, we make sacrifices for each other to help that marathon or half ironman become a reality.  Sometimes we shoot for the same goal and make sacrifices so we can accomplish something great…together.

We have to be a team or this doesn’t work.  If it’s just me or just him then resentment settles in.  I think one thing we have learned over the  years is how important it is that we each have outlets.  We can throw some passion into something other than careers and household chores and kids and enjoy life.  We gave each other permission years ago to have hobbies.  He needs it.  He lives under a heavy load to provide and lead our little family.  I need it.  I have 3 minds and hearts with me all the time and it’s on me to mold them and pray God captures them up at an early age.  It’s on US to teach and train and mold and shape and laugh and enjoy them.  To enjoy our life.  To live.

That reaches beyond our everyday responsibilities.  It’s ok to have things we enjoy doing.  However, it only happens and is only really successful and fun and rewarding if we support each other in it.  We have had to sit down and have hard talks.  I’ve had to put off my love of triathlon so he can reach for some big goals.  It’s a hard sport to train for at the same time.  It’s much easier for him to tackle a big 70.3 training plan all summer and for me to run.  I can manage that while he trains.  Then, we switch places.  I am doing a full marathon in December and he’s taking the fall off from racing.  We take turns, set practical goals and know that we have to be willing to let some goals go for the things that are more important in our lives.

We have both had to learn how to get up early.  Ouch.  By early I mean early, like 5am or earlier sometimes.  Sound insane?  Yes.  I agree completely.  BUT, sometimes it’s the only way to get the workout in and still make time the rest of the day for the things that are important to us or other responsibilities that we have.  You will have to learn to make sacrifices and be a little selfless.  
Sometimes I ramble.  I know.  So what’s the point to all this?  Be a team.  If you love to run or train or race or exercise and you are giving it your all to live a healthy lifestyle then awesome.  But, make sure your spouse is on your side.  Make sure they understand where you are coming from and how important this is to you, but that it’s not the MOST important thing to you.  They still come first.  
If you love to train and race and exercise and you have a spouse that shares your passion, awesome.  But, be willing to make sacrifices for the other.  Be willing to lay down your love of something to support them and encourage them and cheer for them.  For us this weekend it means loading up the car with a bike, gear and all the kids and driving to Oklahoma to see Rob race the Redman 70.3.  We’ll be there to support him.  Not because I’m awesome.  I’m very much not.  But because this thing takes work and sacrifice and it’s important for our kids to see this.  We’ve been a part of this training process so you better believe we’re going to be there for the finish line.  
I’m not trying to preach at you.  I just know juggling the two of us can be a challenge.  I want to encourage you that it is possible to have these passions and hobbies and also be at a place where you are willing to NOT do them for the sake of your spouse.  My marriage is so much more important to me than any race or training run.  I want to be healthy and active and fit.  So does he.  So enjoy your moments together.  Enjoy setting goals together.  Enjoy living because life is short and we just don’t know what tomorrow will hold.  

6 comments on “Racing and My Marriage

  1. Kelly, thank you so much for your wonderful post. It is something my husband and I have been working through and discussing ever since becoming new parents. It is not always a smooth ride and I appreciate your candor and honesty. I love how you each take a break when the other one is training for a big race. Good luck on your marathon btw!

    So glad we’ve connected on IG & now I’ll be stalking your blog from now :).

  2. Amanda, thanks so much! It is hard and that first year is tough. We were babies when we got married and moved away from home immediately. It was a hard transition but so worth it now 12 years later. Hang in there girl, it gets so much better and so much sweeter with time and work. =) Thanks for reading!!

  3. annie b….thank you! I totally agree that it makes it easier if you both know where the other is coming from. It’s such a cool thing to share and makes working out those details that much easier. Thanks for reading!!!

  4. Fantastic post. Marriage is SO hard. We’re only a little more than a year in, but we hit some big speed bumps from uncontrollable “life happens” issues, and we’ve struggled a bit. But you’re right – you HAVE to work as a team. It’s so important to remember. Thank you for sharing your story!

  5. Such a great post!!!! My husband and I are both always training for something. Even though it’s hard to schedule it all in around 3 kids, after school activities, church, jobs, etc, I think it makes it easier that we both understand and support each other’s goals!!!

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