When was the last time you really talked and listened to your special someone?
Most likely, you can’t remember, because of the world we live in now. We are all holding our phones when we wake up until we sleep. We check emails, surf the Internet, look at Facebook, and chat with several people. We are always distracted.
This is why I cherish the moments when my wife and I run together. I’ve paced my wife during several marathons and ultramarathons – Portland Marathon, Richmond Marathon, Singapore Marathon, New York Marathon, Cebu Warrior 50K Race (twice), and recently the Clark-Cardimax 50K Ultramarathon.
During those runs, there are no distractions. No phones and emails and Facebook; it’s just me and her, and the road. We get to connect on a deeper level. We get to do what married couples need to do to grow – we talk and we listen for several hours. We share our dreams and we crack some jokes (and even talk about what to eat or drink after the race – I wanted a Slurpee after Clark-Cardimax). When we’re running in the middle of the night, surrounded by the darkness (like when we crossed the long, foreboding bridge over the Sacobia River going to Calumpang during Clark-Cardimax), we have no choice but to appreciate each other’s company, and communicate. Moreover, we get to realize how much we love each other because we’re both sweaty, stinky, and often cranky from hunger, thirst, and lack of sleep. When we reach the finish, we each receive something more valuable than the medal and the finisher’s shirt – we gain a better understanding of who we are, and how lucky we are to have each other.
But that doesn’t mean pacing anyone, especially your wife or husband, is heavenly. Your patience will be tested, and if you’re not careful, you might get into an argument with your partner. This is why it’s also important to be aware of that fine line between being bossy and being supportive when pacing someone. It takes some practice knowing when to talk and when to keep quiet (like those long uphills going back to the Sacobia Bridge). And always remember that there is a huge difference between ordering someone to do something versus asking someone nicely for a favor. Be encouraging, and always use positive words (like when we had to turn to Fontana instead of going straight to the Parade Grounds; I had to say some inspiring words to my wife to keep her mood upbeat). When all else fails, just smile and keep silent. Your relationship with your partner is worth more than winning an argument during a run. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after spending hours and hours running with my wife, it’s this: a happy (and healthy) wife is a happy life. And the best part of pacing someone? You get to enjoy eating (a lot) together after the race!
Photos shared with us by the couple during some of their vacation (or runcation?)
Written by: Jael Wenceslao
Jael and Cookie Wenceslao finished the 50K Category Cardimax-Clark Ultramarathon in 2015. We hope to see both of them racing again this year and sharing 50 kilometer (or 100K) worth of moments together. Jael is a veteran runner who has finished distances beyond what an average runner has done, both on road and on trails. Cookie runs to stay fit (and maybe keep up with the hubby?) but already has tons of finishes under her belt. Hashtag #RELATIONSHIPGOALS do you agree?
- Article was originally published in Cardimax-Clark Ultramarathon Runners Monthly Update last May.