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Keeping Pace


I remember once, about 10 years ago, running with my then-boyfriend now-husband. That run taught me a lot about each of us. He was a runner, and I was someone who ran. He was fast, and I was not. I also learned that he takes running fairly seriously, and if I wanted to be able to run with him I was going to have to keep up with him. I’m not trying to say that he wouldn’t lower himself to my pace, but he wouldn’t enjoy it there.

In the time since that run, we have found our fitness levels ebbing and flowing as life and kids have made their demands on our time. We’ve participated in a number of events together, but always running our own race and Mike waiting patiently for me at the finish line. This spring we signed up for The Bucket Run, a 7K trail run produced by a local brewery, and I found myself in a perfect storm of sorts. I had become a runner, having just finished my first half marathon. My husband, on the other hand, had been logging fewer miles than usual. We decided to run the race together – at my pace.

The set up was perfect. Mr. Hawkins got brownie points for running a race with me, a reason not to worry about a poor race time (how can you be unhappy with your time if you aren’t REALLY racing?!?!), and I got a chance to run with my spouse. To further sweeten the deal, a good friend of ours was going to run with us as well. I was really excited – a great trail run with even better company and delicious beers after.

The experience of racing with another person was pretty foreign, so my run was an exciting combination of fun and awkward. I’m so accustomed to being on my own that I would forget to keep the rest of our trio in mind as I made moves to pass or decided to change my pace. At other times, I tried to stay in tune with them (“Are you doing ok?”) – which in hindsight was probably especially annoying to my husband. Mike, for his part, yelled out “Be careful”, “Don’t hurt yourself”, and “I can’t believe you made that jump” as we raced through creek beds and over logs along the trail.

We crossed the finish line happy and thirsty. It was the perfect race for our first attempt at racing together. While there may have been some serious runners in the group, most people were clearly out to have a good time…and get to the first beer stop as fast as their feet would carry them. I’m looking forward to running more events with my husband, but I don’t want to run with him all of the time, nor him me.


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