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Cheering From The Sidelines: When You’re a Runner & Your Spouse Is Not

Sometimes all you need is someone to keep your kids from starting fires so you can run three miles.

Not Nikki's kids, but this is so cute. It would make any mom or dad LOL, even at mile 20. Click the image to go to a Pinterest collection of funny marathon signs, BTW.

Not Nikki’s kids, but this is so cute. It would make any mom or dad LOL, even at mile 20. Click the image to go to a Pinterest collection of funny marathon signs, BTW.

The last time my husband put on his running shoes and actually ran, it was for the Hood To Coast relay. In 2015. I don’t know if he considers himself a runner or not, but he talks a lot about getting up before work to run up the hill by our house. But he has never actually done it.

I’ve been actively running races for over 10 years now and there are lots of days I don’t feel like getting out for a run .. but I do. People who don’t run don’t necessarily understand that runners don’t always want to (or even LIKE to) run all the time. But when you don’t have someone encouraging you at home, it makes it that much harder to motivate yourself. Especially when they are eating pancakes in pajamas on a cozy weekend and you are bracing yourself for the rain.  

I was born into an inactive family of non-runners and they still ask if running is bad for my knees and how long my marathon is. I’m used to people not understanding why I run, so I never encouraged my husband to be a runner. He didn’t run before we met and I never expected him to. Running was my thing and golf was his.

I was training for the Portland Marathon when we started dating and he was really impressed and supported my training and my goals. But when it was over, I think he thought I’d go back to being a “normal” person who didn’t need to get out on the road every couple of days for a run. He’d want to go camping for the weekend and I’d be worried about where I was going to fit my run in. And then he finally figured it out. I wasn’t one of those runners who only ran if I was training for a race. I run all year round, races on the horizon or not.

Guess who was holding things down at home while Run Oregon bloggers Abby Meek, Kelly Barten, and Nikki Mueller went out for a 10-miler last fall? The hubbies. Thanks guys.

Guess who was holding things down at home while Run Oregon bloggers Abby Meek, Kelly Barten, and Nikki Mueller went out for a 10-miler last fall? The hubbies. Thanks guys.

So at some point, he started running too, maybe to connect with me, maybe to understand it more. But he was always the type of runner who laid out his running clothes the night before and when the alarm went off in the morning, he’d more often than not roll over and go back to sleep. If he registered for a race, he was guaranteed to be sore on race day because he never really trained. Oh and by the way, he’s this way with ALL exercise in general. I’ve asked him time and again to join me for Saturday family classes at Baby Bootcamp where he can meet other husbands and get a good sweat in at the same time and he’s only done it once. Ever. And he nearly threw up.

Having kids only made it more difficult because now he can’t go golfing while I’m out running. Someone has to be with the kids and I rarely run with them anymore. I don’t have a double stroller (nor do I want one honestly!) and running is one of the only things I try to do that’s purely for me. Sometimes I don’t have time to get a hairbrush through my hair, but I will make time for a loop around my neighborhood whenever I can.

Now I’m training for a full marathon, my first since having kids. Before I registered for it, I talked to my husband about it because this doesn’t just affect me: this affects my family too. Not only do I have to put in the miles, but I’m going to be wiped out for the rest of the day when I start getting into my 16, 18, and 20 mile training runs.

But here’s the thing … I say that running is a selfish thing I do to benefit only myself, but that’s not entirely true. Running makes me a much happier person. It’s my therapy; I always feel so much calmer and clear-headed after I get back from a run. I’m a much better person because of it, so it does benefit the rest of the family also. It took my husband some time to realize that, and he still grumbles a bit when I mention I’m doing a race or going to my running group every Sunday, but he knows it too. He sees it. And we are a team when it comes to taking care of our family. He gets “guy time” with our two boys and I get an escape for a couple of hours, so everyone wins.

And in all honesty, I need someone to stand with the kids at the finish line, cheering for me when I finish that marathon.

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About Nikki Mueller (60 Articles)
I'm a mother of two boys who is a certified group exercise instructor for Baby Bootcamp in SW Portland. I have two young boys and am actively involved in their co-operative preschool. I led a relatively inactive life throughout my 20's until I discovered the world of fitness and running. I ran my first marathon in 2006 and haven't looked back since.

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