Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the Thief of Joy,” and that seems particularly applicable when it comes to comparing my running with my husband’s. Every time we register for a race, Mr. Comparison sneaks in my window and helps himself to my stash of joy.
I started running almost 10 years before my husband had ever even laced up a pair of running shoes. During our first year of dating he’d ride his bike to the local races and cheer me on, even following me along the course during my first marathon. The next year he decided to try running himself. I remember having to run backwards at times so he could keep up, and the first 5k we ran together was my slowest finish time ever. Later that same year we ran the famous Bolder Boulder 10k, and although he finished behind me, it wasn’t quite as far behind as I thought it would be. I’m pretty sure this is when Mr. Comparison started getting interested in thievery.
In our third year together we ran the Bolder Boulder again. We started together, and our (his) goal was to finish together. I’m not proud of this, but during the race I tried my best to shake him off. Every time I looked over my shoulder, there he was! We crossed the finish line together, and I believe it was Mr. Comparison who handed me my goody bag and beer.
Now my husband is so much faster than me it’s not even funny. We don’t race shorter distance races together anymore (for obvious reasons). When I decided to move up to half marathons he hesitated at first, but was soon running along right beside me. Of course he’s now faster at those too.
The only place I still have him is in the marathon distance, which isn’t exactly a major victory for me. (I’ve only run two, and he’s done one.) During the final miles of the Long Beach Marathon in 2012, I was feeling like dancing and he was dying. If the marathon was my favorite racing distance, I’d be content to let him have the shorter races, but it’s not. I love the shorties! When I try to figure out what happened, I usually console myself by reading articles explaining why testosterone makes men faster than women.
My husband’s theory is that it’s because I’m not willing to suffer as much as he is during a race. Puh-lease! This man can’t stand to be in pain – a headache sends him to the couch for hours! And when he’s actually sick, no one in the entire world has ever felt as bad. No, I don’t believe it has anything to do with who’s willing to suffer the most.
Maybe it is the testosterone, or him having more fast-twitch muscle fibers, or…who knows? I suppose I should just get over it and realize he will be forever faster than me, rather than keep hoping he’ll take up cycling or golf. Other than doping his morning coffee with estrogen-laced birth control pills, I think my only viable alternative is to take advantage of having a spouse who understands my shoe shopping addiction, and order a new pair of running shoes!
Does your spouse run? Is he/she faster than you are?