Tuesday, September 30, 2014
If you ever want a good exercise in communication with your significant other, go on a distance run together.
I'm an avid distance runner--I ran cross country through high school, and I've more recently done both half and full marathons (slowly). My husband and I have been training for an approaching 10 mile run. Usually we have to run separately, since our work schedules do not coincide, but, on the weekends, we can usually get a long run in together.
Now running is frustrating enough as it is. Anyone who runs knows that the benefits of running are far better than the actual activity itself. I'm never in a good mood by the end of my run--I'm usually hot, tired, sweaty, and in the mood to sit and cool down for a while. Then, after about a half hour, I start feeling pretty good and energized. But the run itself...
I was not prepared for the frustration of distance road running with a partner. When I run by myself, I can cross roads when I want, stop when I want, and turn around when I want, and I don't have to say anything to anyone--I just do it. When I'm with my husband, I have to convey all of these things in an intelligible sentence, which is not always feasible at mile 5 of an uphill--or at any other point, for that matter.
For example: say there's an approaching car on a mildly traveled road with lots of curves. What do you do? Well, my habit has been to cross the road so as to allow the car to continue on without having to cross the center line. My husband's practice is to stand his ground in the middle of the lane, forcing the car to briefly face oncoming traffic, if any. So, what did we do in this situation? Well, I often crossed, and my husband often stayed, creating a sort of runner "tunnel" through which the car had to travel. Or, one of us would make a mad dash at the last second to the other side of the road, followed by a statement such as "I hate when you do that!" or "Would you please say something when you're going to cross!!??"
We got a little bit better at it, but not much. We were constantly dashing around the road, trying to predict what the other would do. By the end, we had developed a sort of grunting, breathy language of commands, such as "Cruuss (pant) now," "Rit," or "Lft," usually accompanied by some vague pointing and/or flailing.
We were never in a good mood by the end of the run, especially if it was hot. But we agreed that it was definitely a good lesson in communication and adaptability. And we did enjoy the feeling of having accomplished something together, even if it was a simple 6 mile run. That feeling of enjoyment was usually enhanced by something like beer or ice cream, perhaps lessening some of the health benefits of running.
In any case, I still think I prefer to run on my own, but I like a good challenge with my husband :)