The Phone Call

Posted: June 7, 2011 in Love and Marriage
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

July 31, 2010 is a day that will be forever known to us as, “the phone call.”  It was also the day of the mock tri; a practice run with my training group for the upcoming triathlon in Republic.  Let me back up…

In March of 2010, my wife ran a half marathon (13.1 miles), her first ever.  There’s been a lot of debate about whether my derailment and/or hers was the result of the dreaded “mid-life crisis.”  She insisted that a year or two prior, I had been going through such a state and that explained some of my behavior.  She was now approaching 39 and her stated objective was to prove that she wasn’t getting old. 

Whatever the side stories may have been, I came to support her and was blown away and inspired by what I saw that day.  Remember, I was a former fitness instructor; that was how we had gotten to know each other while we were in college.  Call it laziness or life getting in the way, but I hadn’t done anything to keep fit for a long time.  There had been some half-hearted attempts from time to time, but I had just gone through the motions.

That day, at the half marathon, I saw people of every category.  Children, elderly, men, women, fat, thin, you name it, they were there.  And they were all doing it.  That was what struck me.  All these people were out there on a cold, miserable day to run/walk 13.1 miles and I was doing absolutely nothing.  When I saw my wife cross the finish line, I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of another person in my entire life. 

I vowed that day that I was going to change and get back in shape.  I never, in the farthest reaches of my imagination, could have fathomed that it would only be a little over 2 weeks before my marriage as I knew it would essentially be over (or at least suspended).  That was part of the irony of it all.  The very time that I was getting ready to get at least parts of my life back on track, she was turning me out of her heart.

I started a running program called “couch to 5K” or C25K for short.  It’s designed to get a person who has been doing nothing to be able to run a 5K race in about 2 months time. My wife had done it years before, and now it was available as an app on my phone.  I followed the program to the letter and got back to the gym in earnest.  When my wife unexpectedly went cold at the end of March, I desperately held on to the one part of relationship that was still intact; us running together and being workout partners.

Our fitness center was offering a class to train people who had never done a triathlon before.  It was to run from late spring until the “Tiger Tri,” the annual triathlon held in the town where we were living at the time.  My wife only went once, then dropped out as we separated.  Somehow, I fixed it in my mind that I was going to complete that triathlon, and that in so doing, I was going to get my wife back.  I had no reason to believe that one would lead to the other, but I did believe with all my heart that when I crossed that finish line, it would be the culminating event in bringing us back together. 

Two Saturdays before the actual triathlon, our coach had us do a mock tri.  We would swim, bike, and run the entire actual course so that we would know that we could do it, and be prepared for the rigor of the event.  Throughout the mock tri, and especially during the run, I prayed and spoke my wife’s name to keep me going.  I was determined that I was going to finish, and that I was going to run every step. 

When I got done, I felt a sense of accomplishment, but was still focused on the real event that was two weeks away.  I had literally only been home about 15 minutes when my phone rang and it was my wife.  She said, “I’m calling to ask you if you’re ready to give your landlord your notice and come live with me.”  I don’t know how or why the timing went that way, I only know that after I hung up I laid on my bed and cried for about 30 minutes straight.  Joe called about then and asked how I was doing.  I told him, “I’m crying this morning, but it’s tears of joy today.”

  1. bobbi820 says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. For some reason I ran across this blog post this morning and I went back and read every post from the beginning. It was like i was reading my own story, with slight differences of course. I found myself leaving my husband after a 15 year relationship for many of the same reasons as your wife. However, ultimately we were not able to reconsile as it appears you two have. We have went our separate ways with very little contact at all. I am currently in a new relationship, almost two years new now, to an amazingly incredible man who is everything my ex husband wasn’t. Unlike you, he was not willing or able to show and make me believe the changes. I wish all the best for you and your wife and look forward to the next post.

    • Hi Bobbi,
      Thanks for taking the time to read the blog. I’m very sorry to hear that your relationship wasn’t restored, but I’m glad things are better for you now. I’ve had a number of people tell me that they’ve never seen a couple get to where we were and make it. Your comment makes me think of the “Darkest Before the Dawn” post. My wife was telling me that she didn’t need or want to be rescued, but I knew better and fought through it. Now, she’s so glad that I did, and she can’t imagine the life that she almost chose. I’m not sure whether you wanted your ex to fight for you and redeem you, but I suspect that deep down, all women do. Again, thanks for reading, and all the best to you as well.

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