Monday, August 8, 2011

Taking Care of the Husband and More of Your Questions Answered

Quote of the Day:
"All we ever have in anything is the mountain in front of us."
--Flea (bassist in The Red Hot Chili Peppers, quoted in the new Runners' World)

My husband, Dan, is a better runner than I am. When he's healthy, he can run sub-22 5Ks and sub-48 10Ks without much formal training at all.

Here's Dan in a muddy winter race we did together right before we got married.
But he's had a nagging Achilles tendon injury for almost three years now. His runs have been limited to short slow outings. His race experience during this time has involved...watching the kids while I run races. And his other great love--ultimate frisbee--has been a total no-go, because that's how he injured the tendon in the first place. In recent weeks, he's been seeing a physical therapist at Boulder Center for Sports Medicine and adding his own runs back in. But he's still got a long way to go. The tendon just won't stop bugging him.

My mom, who reads my blog sometimes and thinks I'm somewhat nuts with all this running stuff, is worried that Dan isn't getting enough Dan time. I picked her up at the airport on Saturday night for her short visit, and as we drove home, she asked me if he's OK with watching the kids so much while I train and travel to races. Every now and then I do try to check in with him about that, but it's been a while. So later, as we were all drinking wine and eating a tasty dinner Dan had prepared for us after the kids went to bed (cold beet soup, Mediterranean chickpea salad and more--yum), I asked him again.

He said he doesn't mind, because most of my runs are done so early in the morning that he doesn't really have to do too much solo kid management. He did say he wished we had more time as a family on Saturday mornings, when the long runs do take up a lot of my time. Since I work Sundays, Saturday is really the only full day we have as a family. But hopefully I will qualify for Boston in the next year and then take a break from the really long runs.

I never say no when he wants to have some "out with the guys" time after work or on weekends, or when he needs to work late. I'm not sure how else to ensure he's getting enough, though. How do you balance things with your spouse/partner? Any advice? (And by the way, I think it's so cool that my mom worries about her son-in-law. If that doesn't prove what a good guy he is, I don't know what does!)

Here are answers to some more of your fun questions!

Caroline of Canadian Runner in Exile asks:

first concert you have been to?
Not counting classical stuff, I didn't go to a concert until I was a freshman in college (I was and am a big ol' nerd who stayed home a lot in high school and read books). That concert was Paul Simon, and I went with my friend Tex. It was at a venue in The Woodlands, a suburb of Houston with a big outdoor arena. There was a huge tropical thunderstorm, the kind only Houston can produce, and the grassy hill we were sitting on turned to mud. It was like Woodstock.

Hardest part of the motherhood journey so far?
Infant twins, definitely. I also didn't enjoy potty training much. I'm a lazy mom and don't enjoy the process, the two steps forward one back aspect of teaching really small kids. If my kids could have emerged from my womb four years old, I would have been kind of happy about it. Babies are cute, but I've never been very good at the baby thing.

you are a have to love 3 books I should read?
OK...this is a special librarian super power: identifying books that a particular person would like. It's called Reader Advisory (or RA--librarians also love acronyms). After seeing her question, I emailed Caroline to ask what the last few books she enjoyed were. Based on her answer--Sarah's Key, The Help, One Day and Water for Elephants--I think she should read:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Night Circus (note: Caroline, this is a new book; I got to read the galley; it will be published and available next month)

The Elegance of the Hedgehog (L'Elegance du Herisson)

Let me know what you think if you try these out!

Marcia of The Studly Runner asks:

What was your first job?
My first non-babysitting job (I started babysitting at age 12, if you want to count that, and had full-time sitting gigs most of the summers thereafter) was as the night records clerk at the Boone County Sheriff's Department in my hometown. It was the summer after I graduated from high school. I made $5 an hour (well over minimum wage at the time, which was a coup for a high school student), and my hours were 4 p.m. to midnight. My duties included entering records for new police "events" into the computer and filing records in the adult offender files. I wasn't supposed to look in the juvenile files, but I admit that during those later hours, when everyone else had gone home, I snuck a peek in there to see whom I might know (I did know a few of them). I wonder if I could still get arrested now for admitting I did that.

Your worst job? Why?
That's a tie. First candidate is the job I had the summer after my freshman year of college as a minimum-wage order-filler (poetically dubbed a "picker") in a textbook warehouse. It was definitely a step down from the sheriff's department the summer before. I remember my boss looking down at me from the Big Brother-esque catwalk that encircled the giant metal shelves and saying, "Terrrr--zahhhhh! We don't READ books, we PICK them." I knew then why I was going to college. The second candidate for the worst job was the assistant city editing post I took at a big metro daily newspaper (that shall remain unnamed) the year after I returned from the Peace Corps. Part of the problem was me--I didn't really want to be in journalism any more, but I hadn't figured out what I did want to do, so I had to take this job. But (aside from some truly awesome people whose friendship makes my tenure there worth it) it was miserable, with 80 hour weeks, long nights when I never knew when I could go home, weekend phone calls when news broke.....Drove me straight to library school.

Your best job? Why?
Public librarianship (which I'm doing now!) is the best job ever. I help people on a daily basis. I am around books and smart people on a daily basis. I get to flex my tech muscles. And I have regular hours and a humane, reasonably family-friendly schedule. It doesn't get any better than that.

How big will your cheering posse be WHEN you toe the line in Hopkinton? : D
Thanks for this nice question, Marcia. I hope it will be big!! Who wouldn't want to visit beautiful historic Boston and see the greatest marathon in the world?


  1. I'm not caroline, but I think I'll take her suggestions :) thanks

  2. I am Caroline and you are GOOD at your job!
    do you knowhow I know? because I read and loved 2 of the 3 books!!!! The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and L'Elegance du Herisson and I read that one in French of course!
    I will look for the new one for sure.
    thank you so much!

    I just finished 13 reasons why and my husband bought me Unbroken this weekend so this may be my next one..that or Purge

    I was just like years not my favorite I am sure it did not help that I had post partum dep. twice. I prefer this age. 5 1/2 and 7!

  3. I will take you up on those book picks as soon as I settle into my fall 'read more' phase...hopefully!
    Isn't it funny how we learn so much about ourselves by the jobs we love and hate? Glad you have one you love!
    Yay for the big cheering posse! It's a must and you know I'm pulling for you!

  4. I think it's very cool that your mom worries about Dan. :)

    And I do think it's important that both spouses in every relationship get their own time and are able to pursue their own interests. It doesn't have to be the same thing or the same amount of time, as long as both are happy and content then all is good. Balance is good. :)

  5. Your mother reminds me of my mother-in-law! Interesting to read what it's like to be a librarian!

  6. Cool post, actually being a records clerk sounds kind of cool for a high school job!
    So....I'm not married or partnered really but I feel super guilt when the bf is visiting and I still go on runs. I usually go on really short ones when he's around, but still. Because for me, running is a super selfish hobby to have. But he's supportive.
    It sounds like with your family you are really sensitive to their time needs (but it is cute your mom was asking)! And yeah, once you get that BQ, no need for the long runs so much ;).