Wedded Bliss-ter

February 2, 2007 on 8:49 am | By | In Medoc Madness, Training | Comments Off on Wedded Bliss-ter

My darling has had a love affair with Paris ever since his 6-month stay in college. He’s vowed to take his lovely bride to the City of Light someday, so when we heard about the Marathon du Medoc, we were captivated. Running+drinking+France: now THAT’S a winning combination. That the race is held the weekend before our 7-year wedding anniversary was the cerise sur le gâteau.

“How perfect,” we thought. We’d begin our journey in Paris, strolling hand-in-hand along the banks of the Seine nibbling on a crusty baguette and wedge of brie. We’d meander down to Bordeaux for the race and accompanying festivities, then head to Provence to savor the sights and smells of the countryside. I envisioned a romantic 2-week celebration of our love where we affirm the endurance of our adoration and faithfulness while testing the stamina of our bodies.

That is, of course, if my darling doesn’t divorce me first.

You see, we’re a bit incompatible when it comes to training. I’m a regimented taskmistress; he’s an incorrigible gadabout. I follow my training program to a T; if I’m to run 10 miles, then by God that’s what it will be. No more, no less. Once I determine our run-to-walk ratio, I do not deviate. There’s little talking, and even less sight-seeing. I stick to our pre-measured route; detours are verboten. I am focused. I have a purpose. I’m here to TRAIN.

My darling, meanwhile, flits to and fro like a dragonfly. He’ll run hard and fast, but will come to an abrupt halt when he spies something that interests him or is edible. Side trails beckon exploration. Time and distance hold little meaning; he runs for sheer enjoyment. He loves to natter on, while I prefer to preserve my lung capacity. (Besides, I now have my awesome new iPod to listen to). His lack of focus irks me; his sub 7-minute miles rankle me; his style exasperates me.

All this came to a head on Saturday.

A 11-mile run was on the docket, so I mapped out a course along the Burke-Gilman. We awoke to a glorious day — crisp, cool air and bright cloudless skies. The morning started as planned; steel-cut oatmeal breakfast? Check. Swig down a bottle of sports drink? Check. Nutrition bars packed? Check. iPod loaded? Check.

We immediately hit a snag as we had to park farther up the trail than anticipated, forcing me to recalculate our turnaround spot. I hadn’t bothered to fill my darling in on the plan — I figured he’d simply follow along dutifully — and he had only a vague idea of the length of our journey. His exuberance further waned once he realized we’d not only be running at a snail’s pace (11-minute miles), I’d also be drowning out his prattle with my iPod.

Fortunately he’s easily distracted, and he was soon trying to identify the source of a high-pitched trill. “It’s a hummingbird!” he gleefully exclaimed, pointing out his diminutive discovery. I, however, was oblivious. Axl was demanding to be taken “where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.” I turned down the sound briefly as he tried to point out the moon to me, but my eyes were too weak and my body too focused to slow down to see it. Every 7 minutes I’d bark, “now we walk,” followed after a minute with, “now we run.” By the time I got to “now we turn around” my darling was sulking like a petulant child.

“What’s the matter honey bunny?” I asked, astonished with his moodiness. My reaction unleashed a litany of grievances. The entire run was on my terms, he groused — how fast we run, and how far; when we take our walk breaks and when we end them; where we turn around, et cetera. He couldn’t even pass the time in conversation since I had those damn earbuds in.

Considering we had already run more than 6 miles when this diatribe occurred (and therefore I was beginning to tire), I was hardly compassionate. “Training willy-nilly sets you up for injury; why doesn’t he understand that?” I fumed to myself. “And why the rassen-frassen did he even GIVE me the rassen-frassen iPod if he didn’t want me to rassen-frassen LISTEN to it? HARRUMPH.”

Fortunately this was a very brief emotional collapse and I realized he had a point. Here we were, outdoors on a glorious day, together. I often gripe when work duties take him away, yet now that he’s made time for me, I tune him out. The earbuds came off and we started to chat. Turns out his main issue was my tone. Instead of barking “now we walk,” how about asking, “shall we walk?”

Once he got that off his chest we settled back into our run. My eyes still couldn’t focus quickly enough when he pointed out the hummingbirds (he was up to five now), but at least I tried. He encouraged me to put the earbuds back in since he knows I need Ms. Reddy to finish strong, and besides, he was geared up for a sprint to the finish.

Despite our differences, at least we could agree on one thing that day: 7-Eleven nachos are da BOMB after an 11-mile run!

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