Love was in the air these last couple of weeks, particularly with last Wednesday being Valentine’s Day. During the week, I got thinking about how “love” and Valentine’s Day probably look a lot different for runners than for the average person or couple. As part of this in depth analysis, I made a list of how my husband shows his love for me in a way that only an (ultra) running couple could understand.
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
- When you let me have the first shower after a long muddy trail run.
- When you show sympathy and don’t laugh when I squeal like a stuck pig as I find all the chaffing during said hot shower. And how you’re kind enough to help me apply neosporin to the places that chaffed because I couldn’t reach them the first time when applying body glide.
- When you never complain that I use nearly all the hot water on the block during the aforementioned hot shower (I know, I really love the shower thing).
- When you carefully sort all of my precious running gear out of the washer and hang it on every spare surface in the house because you know that it never goes in the dryer.
- When you grab my manky wet shoes and fill them with newspaper to help them dry faster.
- When you’re willing to wait an extra 45 minutes after a race for me to also be hungry before we stop to eat, even though I know you’re starving.
- When your answer to a meal is always pizza and beer or nachos.
- When you humor me by wearing hat, sunglasses, bug spray, sunscreen, and even padded shirts during runs because you know I just want you to be safe. . .even though the guys tease you by saying you have to wear a corset.
- When you understand that even though you love nothing better than to run and talk about puppies and flowers and cowies (apparently when you frolic on a run, all animal names must end with “ies”) during a run, that all I want to do is to kick you in the shins if you tell me about another tree, and then remain quiet for the remaining miles.
- When you don’t mind that our car smells like old feet.
- When you give up the last gel, gu, or electrolyte mix because you think it might be my favorite.
- When you wait for me at the finish line, no matter how far behind you I might be or how grumpy I am post race.
- When you agree to run every crazy, stupid, foolish race I find on ultrasignup and never complain and always see it as an adventure waiting to happen . . . even if it’s 50 miles on a beach, in the hot sun, and we’re still cleaning sand out of unfortunate places a year later.
- When you know that bringing home a single rose with an “I love you” teddy bear, a box of donuts, and a bottle of strawberry wine for Valentine’s Day will win my heart every time.
It is true that we runners (and especially ultra-runners) are strange and fierce and wondrously made creatures. And in this world, we two creatures have made a life together out of trail dirt, tech fabrics, blisters, running gu, and liters of sweat. And after sharing so many miles with my husband and the promise of so many more, I can say with great confidence say, “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach . . .” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning).