When you marry someone who is just as competitive as you are.
My husband Daniel has always been an athletic person. He’s been a soccer player since he could walk and continues to have a love for futbol that I will never understand. He’s also been a personal trainer and is a certified soccer coach. To anyone else, it would sound like I have the perfect, free personal trainer/running coach. However, that is definitely not the case. Although I admire his athletic ability, I still can’t help but want to beat him every time we run. When we first started running together, Dan was faster than me. It was extremely frustrating. I remember during one training run, I let this frustration get the best of me and I became so upset that I stopped running and cursed out loud. I basically threw a “bitch fit”. Meanwhile, Dan just laughed at me which made matters worse. Anytime we would run I felt myself getting upset with him and tried to find any reason to give up.
Dan has that type of athletic ability that allows him to get away with doing things that most of us can’t do. For example, running the Clarksburg 20 mile race without training and drinking alcohol with his buddies the night before. True story (insert eye roll here). He woke up the morning of that race and simply decided he’d run with me! I was furious and immediately told him that running was my thing. “How would you like it if I just showed up at the soccer field and coached your team?” I felt like he was taking away something I was very passionate about. Anyone who is in a relationship or married may be able to understand where I am coming from.
As a runner, I know what I need to do to become a faster and better. I found myself making excuses as to why I “couldn’t” train: I was too tired, I didn’t have time, training schedules are too difficult to stick to, it was too hot, the next day it was too cold, it was too windy, my toe hurt. ANY possible excuse. Until one day Dan came right out and said to me, “I don’t think you could ever run a full marathon.” I love this man dearly but boy did this piss me off. Anyone, especially HIM, telling me I can’t do something makes me want to do that particular something even more! That was the fuel that I needed to start training for my first full marathon-The California International Marathon. I let go of the excuses, I found a training schedule that I was able to follow, and was determined to cross that finish line-even if it meant crawling across it-just to prove to him that yes, I could run a full marathon!
Race day came and of course, I was nervous. I had trained up to 22 miles and physically felt great but was definitely doubting my ability to finish the race. When he dropped me off at the start of the course, I didn’t expect to see or hear from him again until HOURS later when I crossed the finish line…”IF” I crossed the finish line. Throughout the race however, I came to the realization that Dan was not my biggest competitor, but my biggest fan. He text me to see how I was doing and showed up unexpectedly at different points during the race to cheer me on. A few times he even ran with me! By mile 21 I text him that I felt like giving up. I had hit my wall and there was no recovering. He immediately found me and lifted my spirits. He knew I had worked hard to complete this marathon and wasn’t going to let me give up. He ran the last few miles with me and made me laugh even though I really wanted to cry. Without him I don’t know if I would have finished.
Throughout life, I hope to remember to be as much of a cheerleader for him as he was for me on that day. Our competitive spirit is something I have learned to cherish-it can be a good thing! To motivate each other to become better versions of ourselves. And once again, this also makes me remember that I’m my own biggest competitor.