Tag Archives: Love

Tri Bike Ride Together

The Couple that Runs Together

Over our two year relationship, Jess and I have had a lot of firsts. The first time Jess went to Med School, the first time I moved back to Ohio, the first time I wasn’t allowed to eat as many chips as I wanted, and, this past Saturday was another first, our first triathlon!

If you don’t know, a triathlon is a race with a swim, a bike, then a run. They come in a variety of distances from sprint (500-750 yard swim, 10-15 mile bike, 5k) to Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) and beyond. The one we did yesterday was on the shorter side of sprint distances, but it was a blast. The bike and run were a little hillier than expected, but I suppose with a name like “Hocking Hills” it could be worse than anticipated.

Getting close to the finish

Brittany ran along with us cheering as we neared the finish

I started doing triathlons 2 years ago and loved them ever since. And to reinforce just how addicting the sport is, as I was writing this, from behind her computer, breaking out of her studying hermitage for barely a moment, Jess asked, “Can we do another triathlon?” After which we spent half an hour looking for a couple more to do before the weather gets too cold.

To get back to the title of this post takes me to another first that we had a year and a half ago. When Jess and I first met she had never done any sort of organized race. So after a small amount of cajoling I talked her into running a 5k at school. I’m not going to say she was hooked then, but I was able to, again, cajole her into running a trail 10k with me when she came out to Kansas City for the first time. There is an embarrassing story that goes along with this, but I will save that for some other time, possibly when I need to get revenge or when she isn’t sitting close enough to hit me…

So Jess may never run a trail race again, but the advice given to us by several other racers has stuck with me. The couple that runs together stays together.

It’s a simple thought but has enormous implications to me. Being able to work out together, I think, has a much greater propensity for relationship growth than many, if not all, couple-type hobbies. My reasoning behind this is because of the level of fatigue associated with it compared to other things that couples do. Two of our favorite things to do together are cook and paint. Neither of which require stamina or skill. Sure, Jess is a fantastic cook and has a keen eye for painting, but there is no driving factor behind it. It’s a single meal. A lone canvas. An item submitted for my and her approval. The only way to judge something like this is to wait until the end and offer a critique.

When I paint I am in my own space, I know a color goes here and a color goes there and there is not much I can be told on how I see the picture coming together, but when I run with Jess, I do not have that luxury. I may help dictate the pace, but I cannot quit out or determine when I will stop. I am accountable for my finish time as well as hers.

I think it is a wonderful dynamic. I love working out in any way together and I think the key is to know each other limitations or if you do not know them you get to learn them. Jess is not as good as I am at riding a bike, so I have to slow down. I am not as good at swimming or running, so she has to deal with a little more walking than she wants. No matter what, by the end of a race I feel closer to Jess than before and we both have a huge sense of accomplishment that we get to share.

This might be most evident in, and forgive me for jumping back a bit, the evening after the 10k. You see, just two nights before this, Jess finally agreed to be my girlfriend. After months of trying and growing closer to her over phone calls and long nights on skype she was at least “that” in to me. What she did not know was that I had been harboring far deeper feelings than wanting to be a boyfriend. What finally brought out that first, gasp-inducing, feeble “I love you” was not just the couple of beers liquid courage beforehand, but the closeness I felt doing something that we both felt great about and finished together.

Congratulations on your first triathlon finish, Jess!

End of the race

Hopefully I can update you on another race soon!

Never Long Enough

With Labor Day having past yesterday, it seemed to usher in, with little room for doubt, the Autumn of 2013. Thankfully, it also ushered in a holiday from work! But as the title of this post suggests, even long weekends are never long enough.

While Jess and I didn’t take much time for “just us” we did get to spend the weekend doing several wedding related things. We spoke with my parents about a couple things or as Jess put one particularly candid conversation with my mother, “I want to talk about alcohol.” We met with our caterer again and I believe we have most of our menu figured out. The biggest problem before was the price point was far to high, now the only problem is going to be guests not having enough room to enjoy it all!

I am also happy to say we have a cake picked out and ordered. I would love to tell you all what it is going to look like, maybe post a few drawings, possibly tell you what each of the layers will have on it or in it, but I doubt that would be approved for this post. Guess you will just have to wait for the wedding! My least favorite part of the cake tasting was that we only went to taste at one place. I might keep going to the other ones I booked and tell them Jess couldn’t make it… I might not be a huge cake fan, but I am a huge fan free cake and enough free cake makes me a huge… uh… fan…

The other big thing that happened this weekend was it was the first that Jess came to see me. It may not sound like a big deal, but after driving down for 7 straight weeks, it made a huge difference to me. I know that part of my frustration from before was that I felt like I was the only one exerting effort into our relationship. I know that we did stuff together while I was in Athens, but there was nothing that I easily saw as something that was an inconvenience or sacrifice for her. Sure she did do things for me, such as make me meals, but she would be doing that anyhow, or I helped, or I bought the ingredients, or something else that, to me, diminished the value of the act.

Don’t misunderstand me here. I am not saying that there needs to be some cosmic scale in a relationship checking to see who did what with one person being better than the other. For me, it is not about being equal, but it is about knowing what each other is doing for the other. I know that I only experience half of the emotions in this relationship, however, empathy goes a very long way.

As Jess was driving home she called and said, “I better understand what you do every week driving down here and it means alot to me.” I didn’t ask for her to understand but the moment she said that there was a sense of relief and realization that hit me. I wanted her to know what I had done and acknowledge it and I should be working on the same. Maybe I am just now discovering some innate sense of need to feel valued but I hope that I can reciprocate it instead of being turned off to her when she is busy. I hope that I can look at all the time she does give me and say, “I am thankful and blessed to be a part of your life when there are so many other things that could be taking up your time.”

That is all for now but if you want to come enjoy this gorgeous start to fall with me I have an extra chair on my porch and would be happy to share a beer.