“Comparison is the Thief of Joy” – Theodore Roosevelt. It certainly is 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 hubby 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 at various points in the course. He followed me along the course during my first marathon. During our second year of dating, 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 me as I thought it would be. I’m pretty sure this is when Mr. Comparison started getting interested in my joy.
Fast forward one year to another Bolder Boulder. 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 hubby 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. Please! 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 or been as sick. 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. My running friends who have running spouses share my pain, so perhaps it is does have something to do with that little hormone he has and I don’t. Other than lacing 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?