There have been many an article documenting the trials and tribulations of non-runners who are married to ultrarunners. But what about ultrarunners who are married to an ultrarunner?
Running an ultra is no easy task as it is. Running an ultra with your spouse or partner can be even harder. When you are at mile 50, tripping over rocks, still climbing 1000s and 1000s of feet, every little thing they say or do becomes HIGHLY annoying, even more so than if you were running with someone you didn’t know like the back of your hand. You also feel completely stuck with them no matter what happens which can really ruin your race if you are having a great day and they are not. It can leave them feeling total resentment towards you if you are having a bad day and holding them back.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Ultra running with your spouse or partner can be the most rewarding experience if you do it right.
My husband, Emir, and I have been running ultras together for about 3 years. Some of our greatest moments together in that time have been during ultras. Don’t get me wrong it hasn’t all been peak bagging and aid station parties. We’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way that have helped us to have a successful partnership on the trails. Here are our 4 tips to help you in your ultra running relationships.
1.) What happens on the trails stays on the trails.
We all know how drastic the ups and downs of an ultra can be. We all at some point or another turn into an evil version of ourselves. It could feel pretty hurtful if it’s your spouse or partner saying these awful things to you. Don’t take it personally. Let it go and leave all that on the trail. You know they were feeling completely terrible at that moment and didn’t mean it. There’s no reason to re-hash it after crossing that finish line.
2.) You don’t have to run the whole race together.
Initially Emir and I thought it was vital to stay together at all costs during ultras. This just isn’t realistic or practical. We always start together but we have an agreement that it’s no big deal if one of us goes ahead of the other. While of course if Emir beats me, I wish I could have gone faster to stay with him, it’s not nearly as bad as the resentment I felt when I wanted to run faster but he wasn’t feeling good enough to run that pace so I felt stuck. And it’s also much better than feeling awful guilt that I was holding him back if it was a day he was feeling good and I was not.
3.) Don’t over train together.
While this has never actually been a problem for us, since we have two little kids and hardly ever get to train together, I know it could easily become a problem if we did, hello competitive people. Since we do not have the opportunity to train much together, it makes running ultras together very special. Ultras are our time together sharing in something we love so much. Even if we don’t run the whole race together, the experience of getting ready, starting, finishing and talking about the race we both just did is wonderful.
4.) It’s ok to run different races.
For a long time, we thought we had to run all the same races and that we aren’t doing our sport together if we don’t run the same race. Over time, we have come to realize that while we both love trails and ultras, we do have different interests within the sport. I love looped courses, loathe giant boulders where Emir is the opposite. Now we do a few races together that are somewhere in the middle of the things we love and we do some of our own races. The amazing thing about ultras though is even though we aren’t always running the same event, we are both still always highly involved, crewing/pacing and cheering. It’s just as good as running together and sometimes even better as I recently found out in my first 100 mile finish. Emir paced me my last 21miles and because he knows me so well, he knew exactly how to handle me and get me to my goal. It was a truly incredible experience for both of us and that’s how I know we are doing this thing right.
Guest post by Amy Dedic.