Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is Your Training Screwing Up Your Family?

NY Times writer, Abigail Lorge (an excellent runner in her own right, if my stalking is leading me to the right results), recently wrote an article on the toll marathon training takes on a person's family and coworkers, entitled "For Those not runnning, Training can be Just as Taxing."

Marathon Runner

The article is an unintentional a call to all endurance sports fanatics to marry someone with the same passion, or someone who doesn't mind having his/her guest room transformed into a garage/locker room hybrid, or not having enough money to buy a home because of all the cash shoveled out for equipment and race entry fees. (Two points lamented by a "marathoner widdow" in the article.)

And while coworkers don't need to be constantly reminded of your athletic prowess either, Lorge reports, they can't avoid it when you come to work sweaty, and saran wrap ice or frozen peas to your legs while at your desk.

These actions aren't normal?

There was a time when I was hyper conscious of my training and how my coworkers saw me because of it. There was no shower at work, but I'd still do Ironman training during lunch, and bike to and from the office. Stinky much? Yes. Did I try everything I could short of installing a camping shower in the bathroom to appear professional and unstinky? Yes. (Thanks, Action Wipes!)

But there comes a point, I believe, when endurance sports fanatics realize they're in it for the long haul, and thus begin to loose their grip on what appears normal to those around them.

I've reached that point.

Like John Cohen, the main subject in the article, I've made not just the guest room, but my entire apartment smell like a locker room. My living room is a bike garage. I'd rather clean my bikes' chains and cassettes than do the dishes, and my entire weekends are usually devoted to long rides.

But unlike John Cohen, I married someone with the same warped endurance sports mentality. Good move? From the apartment's standpoint, probably not; it's doubly as stinky and bike-filled. From the standpoint of my sanity and happiness, most definitely.

How many couples spend their weekends outside together riding bikes for 6 hours at a time, or running trails for hours on end? That time spent together is better than having a sparkling apartment. And Glade plug ins can make up for the stink.

Maybe John Cohen's next double-checked purchase should be a pair of running shoes for his wife, and an entry into the 2009 NYC Marathon.

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