Running the Bass Pro Marathon

Posted: July 10, 2011 in Love and Marriage
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My wife asked me just within the last few days if I believed that a mid-life crisis was what started all of our marriage problems.  I told her I didn’t think so, but that we both had certainly had some strange behavior and done some crazy and uncharacteristic things around the time we each turned forty.

She had announced, back when she was about to turn 39, that she was going to run a marathon to prove that she wasn’t old.  Even though she certainly didn’t need to prove anything to anyone except herself, she spent the better part of a year training and, last November, she did in fact run a full marathon.  By that time, we had already been through our separation and were well into the restoration tour, but she had set her mind on doing this, and I had supported her the whole way.

The marathon was her thing, not mine.  I encouraged her and trained with her to some extent, but I never had any plans to run it, nor could I have because of my knee injury.  It was, ironically, while I was attempting to do a long training run with her that the injury occurred, so even if I had any thoughts of trying to run it up to that point, they ended that day.  I was happy to be her cheerleader for this event and nothing more.

The fitness center that we are members of announced a training program last Spring for people who wanted to run the Bass Pro marathon in the fall.  It was called the Galloway program, named after running guru Jeff Galloway.  The cost was $100 and we paid it and signed my wife up.  It started right during the time that our marriage was falling apart and it mostly involved training runs with a large group on Saturday mornings.

Soon after the training started, we separated.  There were many Saturday mornings that were pure anguish for me, as I would often pick her up from her loft, have her drop me off at the gym, and then she would take the car and go on to the place where her running group was meeting.  I was working out alone, while she ran with her group.  When she was done, she would come up to the gym and pick me up, and then there was never any certainty of whether we would spend any time together or have to say good-bye again.

After we got back together, and especially after my triathlon, she faltered somewhat in her training.  I was no longer training for anything, and we were enjoying our marriage too much to be as disciplined as we should have been for her first marathon.  There were a number of Saturday mornings that we just didn’t get out of bed. We would say that we would go together and make up the running the next day.  Sometimes we did, and sometimes we didn’t.

To say that my wife is amazing would be the understatement of the century.  She reached a point, about a month before the race, that she decided she was still committed and was going to do it.  One morning, when she was supposed to be running 23 miles, she felt good enough and decided to go ahead and do the whole 26, just so that she would know that she could.  That happened to be a day that she was scheduled to work a full shift at Dillard’s, so she ran the equivalent of a full marathon in the morning and then went to work.

Sign right before the finish line

The day of the Marathon, she was nervous and I was excited.  It was a beautiful day for early November, so the weather wasn’t going to be a factor.  Since I couldn’t participate, and I didn’t want to sit around for five hours waiting for her, I decided to volunteer at one of the intersections along the route.  That way I got to see her about half way through and give her some words of encouragement.

I brought my bike, and I figured that after I was done at my station, I would go try to find her on the course and see how she was doing.  I tracked her down at around mile 21 and she was in a lot of pain.  I stayed with her for those last few miles and talked her through it when her body wanted her to quit.  When she crossed the finish, it was an extremely proud moment for each of us.  For her, it was a huge accomplishment that not many people will ever achieve.  For me, it made the pain of all those awful mornings go away, and I was thrilled to step aside and let her get all the praise and recognition for what she had done.


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