[NOTE: There are no brilliant epiphanies or words of wisdom here. Most of the time I write, to get things out that are inside, to help me process or figure things out. I’m often (as is the case here) not even sure how I feel about what it is I’m writing about.]
My husband runs once a year, he tells me. He’s not a runner, never was, doesn’t have the runner physique and is kind of shaped and sized like me, only a little more svelte. In high school he was a wrestler, and that was over half his life ago. He does this 5k in Rhode Island just to make me happy, because I do it too, it’s a vacation thing that we do together. It’s lovely on vacation to get the time to be able to be active – even moderately so – together. Things like climbing Miantonomi Tower, taking long walks to the farmer’s market, the beach, nowhere at all. So since 2014, which is when I began really to run in earnest and found this race, he’s done this 5k.
He doesn’t train for these. Not at all. The first year, he did it in a cotton tee shirt, baggy cargo shorts – and boat shoes. He didn’t have sneakers. We got him some. He didn’t use them.
This year, I signed him up for a 5k that was happening the same time I did that ultra (the one I wrote about in my previous posting), the week before the Rhode Island one that I signed him up for. Thereby doubling his annual distance! He did the first 5k, and by that point when it began, I was really hurting – I had over 10 hours in, and he lapped me a couple of times, but whatever. Two different races. He was in more pain than I was after that one, and he said he wasn’t even going to do the second one.
All week he was iffy, but at the end he did it. This second one – the Rhode Island one – the first year, I was faster than he was. Well, of course. I was in serious marathon training mode, and he was in boat shoes. Last year, he did the 5k but I did the half marathon that came with it. This year… no training, two year old sneakers that weren’t even right for him, he beat me. By something like 5 minutes. I tried to shrug it off and it wasn’t that hard, I was a week out from an ultra and, more importantly, I had a bunch of friends at the finish who cheered me on loudly – something I almost never have when I run, and the buoyancy factor from that was amazing. And the hubs – he was better after that second race, we climbed Miantonomi Tower and he wasn’t really in pain at all.
We also walked a lot, Newport lends itself to that. To farmer’s markets, just around. To Goat Island for the sunset. And we got him stride checked and fitted for shoes. Hoka Clifton 3 for him (and for me! Hokas all around!). Turns out my feet are bigger than his for running, because I need to size up. And Providence. We walked all over Providence – from the ferry to… somewhere downtown… doubling back and over the river, past RISD, up that hill whatever it is, past Roger Williams memorial, to Rhode Runner.
On our last weekend of vacation, we spent it in New Jersey – Atlantic City and North Wildwood, and I looked for a race. A couple of years ago Stone Harbor had a mile-long race” on the beach with your dog, and while it totally fell apart as far as a race goes, it turned into something different – so much wonderfulness as people and their dogs played in the sand and the surf. I was hoping to see another one since we had a couple of pups with us. Well, I didn’t see anything there, but the very next day was the Chickie’s and Pete’s 5k on the Atlantic City boardwalk. And it had to have been a sign – start and finish was right where we were staying. So, I asked Chris and instead of the grumbling, he agreed. Well, I just spend $120 on shoes for him, so…. It’s a great, fun race. (Boardwalk is awesome, though it got really crowded. Plastic cup, tee shirt, crab fries and beer, and ice cream.) He did complain about being worried about running on the boardwalk as we walked it the night before, and how he was tired and he was going to walk the whole thing.
And… you got it. He beat me again. By about three and a half minutes this time, and we both sort of PR’d. (His, yes. Me, not a lifetime PR, but one that’s really great for me, right now.) And then we had ice cream, and beer, and crabfries. It was really fun.
I’m glad he is running. He hasn’t since, but I have hope… he does express his intent to, but I know he has a lot on his plate. It just makes me… edgy, that he is faster than me every single time with NO training.