Notes from a runner’s spouse


By Susan Stetson,


When my spouse first started running and racing, I had that early enthusiasm for his healthy new sport. It was fun to go to the races and meet new people (whom I would probably never have met otherwise). I have developed some long-term friendships with people of similar, healthy interests.

For the spouse of a long-distance runner there is a lot of quiet, personal time during their training sessions for that next big event. For the companion with lot’s of hobbies or sports interests of their own, this is not a problem. But, I can see how this “practice” time could cause great turmoil in some relationships. The running becomes the runner’s mistress.

I become very concerned about overuse injuries or severe dehydration when my husband competes in ultra-distance events. It seems almost masochistic for someone to run 50 or 100 miles and I hate the sympathy pains afterward!

It is difficult for me to attend Dana’s ultra-distance events, as some of them take a whole day, or run over such a rough terrain on an out and back course that it is difficult to be a spectator with a child. Danice and I usually try to go to Wakulla Springs to watch and volunteer at the Tallahassee Ultra (a loop-type course) in early December (when Dana competes in that).

It is hard to understand someone wanting to run such long distances unless you have been “addicted” to a sport yourself. Whether it’s running, swimming, tennis, biking or another sport, this can happen very easily. You build up the time spent in your sport so gradually that you don’t realize how “addicted” you’ve become. You just know how much you enjoy what you are doing and you spend more and more time at it.

Eventually, after 15 years in my case, the non-running spouse realizes that they must take up running to spend time with their running spouse. So, “if you can’t beat them, join them!” If not running next to them, then, possibly biking or skating!