Thursday, April 9, 2009

To answer a question

F[F]M left a comment in which she asked why my husband isn’t so keen on my running a full marathon. (I love that word “keen,” by the way.) There are several reasons why he’s been so negative, and he feels he’s perfectly justified. It almost goes beyond running a full to running in general.

He really doesn’t understand the lure of running. He lost 30 pounds since his first retirement (he just went back to work, part-time) by simply adding a long walk to his day. If he walks on the treadmill he goes for an hour, if he walks outside he likes to do a 10K, no matter how long it takes. He eats whatever he likes, but rarely eats during the day, saving all his calories for dinner and evening snacking. And sometimes middle-of-the-night snacking.

His philosophy is, ‘Why run if you can walk?’

Clearly, his metabolism and mine are at opposite ends of the spectrum. My blood sugar goes completely wacky if I don’t regular meals spaced out throughout the day. I will admit to not being as consistent as he is with the daily hour (or more) of intentional activity, but even he agrees that when I try hard, the results are less than stellar.

(I’m having a bunch of labwork done next month, including another TSH to check for thyroid problems. I doubt if that’s the problem, but we won’t know until we do the tests.)

He’s a physician and has this silly notion that running is bad for your knees. (He’s not an orthopedist, however, he’s a psychiatrist; perhaps he thinks I’m crazy for wanting to run long distances.) ‘All that pounding, Debbi, it can’t be good for you.’ He’s specifically speaking of the pounding that happens when you run 26.2 miles at a stretch. I remind him that it’s only one day, for Pete’s sake, and he always comes up with a snappy retort. The last one was something about Dempsey only going 12 rounds. No comparison! Dempsey couldn’t take a break whenever he wanted to!

You don’t have to run to have bad knees. One of my neighbors is a horsewoman of normal weight (on the thin side, actually) and visually impaired. She’s never run for exercise and has very painful knees. Some runners develop knee problems; some don’t. So far my knee problems have been of the sports-injury type – rest has been the solution.

It probably didn’t help that he was with me at the Army Ten-Miler where a young man collapsed and died just short of the finish. My husband watched the ambulance take him away. If a young, healthy, athletic man can have a heart attack running, doesn’t a middle-aged, overweight woman have a better chance?

You see, he just doesn’t want to do his own laundry or cook his own meals. Or maybe he’s more concerned about the boredom factor in hanging out at the finish line for six hours waiting for me to cross it. Whatever the reasons, I still harbor the silly notion of doing a full in 2011, the year I turn 60. My husband would be on board with the idea if I were closer to a normal weight. So we’ve agreed that if I continue to shed the lard, he’ll support my decision to go for a long, long run in a couple of years.


LG said...

If you were running 26.2 miles every day (and I have known some doctors here at one time to do that), he might have a point but your arguments are absolutely right on the money.

I might point out that bad knees aren't necessarily the result of obesity either. I honestly was a happy girl when the doctors said I had a strange deformity from birth that caused me to walk funny and thus erode my knees. Now, the obesity didn't help!

If it motivates to do a marathon, go for it! Let us know what happens with the TSH.

Fat[free]Me said...

Thanks so much for your answer, I now understand entirely what worries him and can sympathise.

But it is important for you to do what you want to do and once he knows that you are firm in your mind, I hope he backs you all the way.

Just for encouragement (for both of you), read a little about a lady of 90 years old from near my home who did the marathon at 90 years old: