The Couple that Runs Together

I'm not sure exactly when health and wellness became a concern of mine, but I do know that even when I started hitting the gym regularly, I avoided the treadmill like the plague. Running was something only superfit masochists did by choice. I kept to a basic cardio routine of zoning out on the elliptical machine while watching TV. Eventually, I learned about the dreaded weight loss plateau.

Without changing up my routine, my body just became too efficient at using the elliptical. I was going to need to kick it up a notch if I was going to be a buff bride.

I started slowly, working through a torturous ten minutes of what can only be called wogging (not quite walking, not quite jogging). Every day, I'd add a little more time, a little more speed, or if I was feeling particularly ambitious, both. I'd step off the treadmill feeling elated with accomplishment.

I'd been bitten by the running bug. If I ran less than five or six miles in a day, it meant I was having a bad day.

Whereas I avoided the treadmill for years, Fiance avoided entire gyms. He preferred to take his activity outdoors through hiking or bicycling, but grudgingly came along when I nudged.  Requesting his presence on a treadmill near me I feared would have been pushing a little too much, so I never suggested it.

So I was a bit surprised  -  completely shocked, actually - at this time last year when Fiance came to me with a proposition to run a charity 5k together.  His fellow employees at work had created a team, and he felt obligated to participate.

I reminded him that a 5k was over 3 miles. He paled a little, but assured me it was no problem. We engaged in some basic training together in the weeks preceeding, jogging outside on cold wintery mornings and tackling the treadmills. When race day came, we ran side by side, encouraging each other each step of the way. We'd set milestones: "Keep jogging until that stop sign ahead, then we'll take a break" or "Let's catch up to the guy in the Santa Claus suit." It was such a great exercise in teamwork that I'd encourage all couples to enter a 5K together.

And then, just as the finish line was in sight, Fiance slowed his pace… then turned on the jets, making sure he crossed the finish line just microseconds before me.

It's ok. I got him back this past weekend at this year's race when I crossed the finish line 15 minutes before him.

What do you think? Has a little competition been healthy for your relationship?