A few months ago I took a mindfulness course. As part of it I was supposed to write a Gratitude Letter. This is a letter to someone who has had...
supporting your partner’s sport (even if it isn’t running)
My running friends and I, like most people, are all very busy, most of us with families, careers and other responsibilities. But we make the effort to carve out time for at least our 40-minute run fix. We appreciate an hour to run and and hour and a half is simply indulgent! Of course we’re nothing if not accommodating and flexible, so if we have to squeeze in our runs while our kids are playing soccer or at 5 a.m. before anyone’s up, then we’ll do it.
That’s the nice thing about running. It so easily fits with being an accommodating and flexible person. Now being sporty people, many of us also married sporty people. Unfortunately, even if their chosen sport was running when we met them (ahem!) most of them now do sports which take up more time and are less accommodating and flexible than running. Of course we love the fact that our guys and gals are jocks and do sports! Of course we value the mental and physical benefits they get from it! Yes, we know they never begrudge our running, so we are equally cheerful and supportive of their sports. A few examples:
After waking up at 5 a.m. to run before a full day of work and then picking up her kids at 6 p.m., my friend replied when I asked if she’d like to hang out and chat, “I can’t. Bill* is going out mountain biking in the trails tonight.” That is her husband’s sport: he wears ski gear and a head-lamp and bikes the trails for hours in the dark and freezing cold after work. So she hurried home to make dinner and get her kids to bed while thinking wonderful thoughts of how nice it was that Bill was getting active.
When I was meeting with friends at the track the other day, one of them mentioned in a concerned tone, “I think Tom* might be taking up the triathlon. I got home from work and the T.V. was on cartoons for the kids and I found his bike set up on the trainer.” Of course at the mention of triathlon there was a silent hush followed by sympathetic words of support – we all knew what this meant: three sports. But of course, we were all happy for her and her sporty husband.
As for myself, my husband paddle-boards (yes, even in winter.) And to improve his paddle-boarding he lifts weights and swims. He may as well be a triathlete. There are the weekend 5-hour paddles supported by weekday evening gym and pool sessions. On a typical weekend morning, I’ll get up early for a long run and as soon as I get back I take over with the kids while he heads off to paddle in the lake for the next 2-5 hours. And the whole time I’m thinking how nice it is to be married to someone who values his physical and mental well-being.
I have one friend who, I won’t lie, I envy slightly. As we met for our run last Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. I asked her what a typical distance her swimmer husband would train in a day. She replied, “Well, today he swam 5K”. I said, “You mean he’s going to swim 5K”. No. He was in the pool at 5 a.m. so she could head out for her run at 7:30. Again, we’re all happy, if slightly jealous of her.
The point is, regardless of your sport or your partner’s sport, it’s good to be supportive and happy for them, and grateful that they’re not just sitting down watching T.V. all day. So they may not all be runners, which is obviously the perfect ideal. At least they’re not golfers!
* Names have been changed to protect against judgement of non-runners