He started running in college to stay fit and trim and have breaks from studying for classes. He kept improving, gaining speed and endurance. He joined the army and survived survival training, earning the respected status of an Army Officer and Airborne Ranger. Army physical training contributed to his physical prowess, but he spent personal time and discipline honing his abilities. He researched running shoes and running food and running forms and strategies over the years. He trained for and ran numerous marathons – at least 13 he can remember. He began biking and swimming to train for triathlons and participated in them. He also completed a 100 mile bike race. Later, when he spent less time training for long distance running, he became competitive in local races. We keep a pile of newspaper articles that include his name and/or picture. He has an impressive collection of trophies and ribbons and his closet is full of stacks of race t-shirts.
He runs not just to compete with others, but to outdo himself. He runs smart and looks smart when he runs. Recently, at the age of 54, he raced against about 200 runners of all ages and won first place. He is known in our community as an accomplished runner and workout expert. People come to him for advice. He is the picture of “fit”.
And he’s married to me. Oh, the irony.
I never cared much for exercise. I ran with a college roommate a few times, but quickly grew bored with it. It seemed pointless to me to go to a gym to “work out” instead doing housework or being outside working on a lawn or garden – anything that accomplished a task at the end. I believed exercising should produce more than a fit body. When people who knew my husband asked me if I ran too. I answered “not unless I’m being chased”. While I did productive things for many years, my body is now anything but fit . While my MS wasn’t evident to others until about seven years ago, I was aware it was part of my life and carefully avoided anything that had the potential to overheat me. As my MS progressed, I developed gait issues, started using a walker, and I now use a scooter. I can no longer accomplish tasks that provide exercise. Instead, I exercise so I can accomplish tasks. I am more surprised than anyone else that I exercise for the sake of exercising now….regularly….for up to an hour at a time. The more my body fails me, the more incentive I have to exercise to maintain the physical abilities I still have. But I exercise at home where only my family sees it.
We decided years ago to share our lives together. And live life we have! Our present lives are intertwined through our history of traveling together, raising three children together, sharing friends and relatives, enjoying many of the same things through the years, and growing in our faith. We did and do our own things side-by-side too. Until weather was an issue for me, I attended most of his races. We did and still do cheer each other on.
It makes sense to us that we’re together. But out and about in the city where we live, we are an unusual pair. A runner and a rider. An odd couple indeed.