Tad and I have been married for just over a month, but have been together for 8 years now. During this time together we have had our relationship tested in many little ways: enduring European jetlag tempers, surviving the perils of taking me clothes shopping, and persevering through pull-your-hair-out Vancouver traffic. While these situations require a little extra patience, understanding and self-sacrifice, nothing puts your relationship to the test more than being lost on the top of a volcanic crater with 10 meters of visibility, an old granola bar and three uphill hours from the car.
I often see pictures in my Instagram feed of couples smiling at their selfie stick, stoked to have climbed to the top of a mountain hand in hand. But what you don’t see is all the blood, sweat, tears, cursing and yelling that it sometimes takes to get to that peak.
If you and your partner survive the following list of long run woes, chances are you will go all the way in the long run of life.
1. Getting lost
Check to make sure the course is programed in your Suunto/Garmin before you leave the house. Stay on the trail even if you think you know the way, because chances are you don’t.
When you start feeling tired, grumpy, sad, irritated or confused, eat something. When you are about to say something mean, eat something. When in doubt, eat something.
3. Running too fast
Some days you are faster than your partner. At least double back every now and then to check on them. Is that too much to ask?
4. Running too slow
Some days your partner is slower than you. Please wait at the intersections so your partner doesn’t get lost and have to ask a stranger for a ride back to the trailhead.
5. Low blood sugar
Under-fueling affects your judgment and makes you order enough burritos to feed a family of five. Make sure you pack more calories than you think you need.
Be prepared to give up all of your calories and carry your partner back to the trailhead.
7. Numb hands
Don’t leave your partner who has Reynaud’s disease stranded on the trail trying to zip up their jacket, tie their shoes or helplessly open their GU.
8. All the smells
Seriously, why do you smell so bad? Speed up or slow down; give your partner some space.
9. GI distress/bathroom stops
Patience is a virtue and brussel sprouts for dinner the night before a long run is a big mistake. Your partner can pick berries while standing guard.
10. Gear malfunctions
Don’t forget to remind your partner to charge their watch and headlamp. Make sure they don’t put them in the hydration pack where the bladder goes or else they will fall out and be lost forever.
I am happy to say that Tad and I are still very much happily married despite having been through these tribulations many times on the same run. I am lucky to be with someone who enjoys type II fun as much as me. At the end of the day we can go home, laugh about our experience over a bottle of wine and start planning the next weekend’s adventure.