My boyfriend and I love running and we’re both competitive people, even though we never challenge each other directly. On the contrary, we encourage each other to do our best. Last December, I signed for a 21K race and he signed the marathon, both of which will be held in about four weeks. Neither of us has ever run such long distances. I’ve been training twice a week, but he, however, doesn’t even have a training plan and I’m concerned that he’s not ready for the marathon.
I told him that I don’t think he’s ready, and that he should go for the 21K instead (even though in my opinion he’s not even prepared for that distance either). I told him it was irresponsible and not wise to do the full marathon, and I even told him I was not going to be proud of him. It’s a little harsh, but I’m worried about his safety. Even if he finishes the race, he could get seriously injured, have joint problems, and — I’m thinking the worst — a heart attack. He’s 25 and doesn’t have any cardiac problems, but I still think is reckless and risky.
Apart from those concerns, I’m feeling resentful and angry about his behavior. I really think it’s irresponsible and immature of him to attempt this. I’d have supported him if he’d had enough training but that’s not the case. I think he’s just trying to test himself and have something to brag about — some sort of alpha male stuff. As a result, I’m disappointed and confused about how to deal with this. Am I being overprotective? Is it right to feel angry and disappointed or am I being immature too? — Runner’s Low
Wait, your boyfriend is a healthy 25 year-old who “loves running” and has no history or cardiac problems and you’re worried he’s going to have a heart attack completing the marathon? Really?! You realize that, like, senior citizens regularly complete the marathon, right? And sure, while it’s not advisable to actually run 26.2 miles without sufficient training, walking or even jog-walking that distance over the course of five or six hours certainly isn’t life-threatening for a healthy 25 year-old male. Will he be sore the next day? For sure. Might he get so sick he barfs all over himself? Maybe. Will he give up the race after mile two and go eat a burger and down a pitcher of beers? It’s certainly possible. But if the guy’s in good enough shape to actually run the whole 26.2 miles at 25 years of age, he’ll probably finish it one piece just fine, and I think you probably know that.
So, let’s talk about what’s really bothering you here: you resent that your boyfriend may very well have bragging rights for finishing a race twice the distance of yours without even working for it. He’s stealing your thunder. He’s taking away your bragging rights. He’s making it hard for you to be proud of yourself when he’s accomplishing a feat twice as great without even trying. That’s what this is about. And yeah, you’re being immature for making the achievement of your goal a competition with your boyfriend. It’s not good for your relationship, and it’s certainly not good for your self-esteem. You need to learn to separate your goals from your boyfriend’s goals — your path to success from his path to success.
If you can’t be proud of yourself without feeling like your accomplishment was bigger and better than your boyfriend’s, and if your boyfriend’s accomplishments threaten your own sense of achievement, you might not have the maturity necessary for a healthy relationship. But if you aren’t ready to give up what you’ve got with your boyfriend, lay off the whole race talk and accept that his journey is not yours. What you’ll gain from training and completing your race will not be threatened by what your boyfriend does or doesn’t accomplish himself. Rather than be a resentful nag, be an inspiration to your boyfriend. Show him that finishing the race is only part of the goal. Preparing yourself for the challenges you’ll face on the way is a far bigger accomplishment, and one you can only achieve when you put in the effort. That goes for running and loving.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ReginaRey March 14, 2011, 2:11 pm
I get being overprotective, and worry to the millionth degree about things that will never happen – like your 25-year-old boyfriend having a heart attack. But I think you may be walking a thin line between overprotective and controlling…you haven’t told him NOT to do it, but you’ve come at it from all other angles by calling him “irresponsible, immature, alpha male, etc.” While all of those things may even be true, are you saying them TRULY out of concern for him, or because you dislike that he isn’t listening to you and following your advice?
Take it from someone who loves being in control – sometimes, they’re just going to do stuff you think is ridiculous and stupid, and sometimes it’s best just to let it go. Save your arguments and even your impulse to control for things that may have more bearing on your relationship…because the less you do it, the more he’ll take your concerns seriously in the future. He’s going to be just fine, other than probably puking on his shoes, as Wendy pointed out.
ReginaRey March 14, 2011, 2:23 pm
And one more quick point – if you’re genuinely worried about the health risks associated with him running a marathon without the proper training, maybe you could ask him to speak with a doctor before. Or ask him to stop running and walk if he begins to feel badly. There are ways to compromise, I think, if you truly want to look out for his health.
SherBear400 March 14, 2011, 2:16 pm
As an avid runner I take some offense to Wendy’s first paragraph. My high school basketball coach’s wife died of a cardiac issue while running the Chicago Marathon about 10 years ago – she was in her early 30s, no prior history of heart troubles and had ran a couple marathons prior. My friend had an asthma attack while running his third marathon last fall as well, and he hadn’t had any asthma issues since high school. I agree with the rest of Wendy’s point about him stealing her thunder, but I would appreciate some sensitivity to the health issues that can occur while doing an extreme activity like a marathon.
callmehobo March 14, 2011, 2:24 pm
I had an aquaintance in middle school who was on the track team and died of cardiac arrest after a race. He was 14 years old. So I can understand your insistance that these things do happen- but let’s face it- these are often FREAK occurences.
Running is an extreme sport, which like all estreme sports, has a great risk to the participants health, but how often do you hear of a normally healthy person simply dropping dead after a marathon? I think that the LW is blowing this waayy out of proportion. I think ReginaRey hit the nail straight on the head- I think the LW is more upset with her bf not taking her advice, rather than out of straight concern for his safety
HmC March 14, 2011, 2:39 pm
I just completed a half marathon in November, and at the 11 mile mark a 31-year-old healthy male dropped dead of cardiac arrest. I don’t know if he trained or not. Then there was that one professional track star that died of a heart attack, so he was obviously very well-trained. I dunno, I see these more as extreme freak occurrences. I tend to find that with running, most people give up mentally way before they would be in any real physical danger.
Personally though, I’d be worried if my boyfriend attempted a marathon without proper training. I’d be more concerned with injury than a heart-attack though, especially at LW’s boyfriend’s age.
Kat March 15, 2011, 12:48 pm
Young, physically fit people who drop dead during or shortly after physical exercise usually suffer a a congenital heart defect of some kind. If you’re worried, you can get a heart screening to see if there’s a problem, and I know the test is recommended a lot to teenage athletes. In these cases, it’s true that cardiac arrest is usually brought on by physical activity. That having been said, the TRAINING for the marathon is also physical activity so I don’t see how training for weeks ahead of time will really decrease the likilhood of a heart attack. Moreover, this condition is exceedingly rare, and if her bf’s been active most of his life, he probably would have suffered cardiac arrest or other cardiac problems like arrhythmia already if he had the condition.
I agree with Wendy’s assessment 100%. Plus the LW didn’t give any indication why she thinks her boyfriend SPECIFICALLY might have a heart attack. Does he have preexisting medical problems? Is he overweight? Etc.
Rei March 14, 2011, 3:13 pm
Here’s a nice PSA on cardiac arrest and their underlying problems.
-Please go get an EKG. It’s one of the best and easiest ways to rule out an underlying congenital heart defect.
-Often these defects will have no symptoms. If they do have symptoms, they can often be misdiagnosed as epilepsy or panic attacks. Once again, something simple such as an EKG can rule out heartbeat disorders.
-Cardiac arrests are different from heart attacks. Cardiac arrests are often sudden, such as a person running and then falling over.
-If a person has a cardiac arrest, call an ambulance, perform CPR, and if there is a defibrillator unit nearby, please use it or have someone nearby use it if they are trained. They are very easy to use and tend to be in bright red cases. It is literally putting the sticky pads in the right place and pressing a button.
BecBoo84 March 14, 2011, 4:53 pm
I don’t really consider 100 student athlete deaths per year due to cardiac issues to be a “freak” occurrence: http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/11/teen.heart.deaths/index.html.
It’s actually pretty scary, and I have to save that while I don’t think her boyfriend’s health is her true concern, it really is risky to participate in that kind of extreme athletic event without the proper training.
caitie_didn't March 14, 2011, 6:35 pm
Having fairly extensive training in prehospital care (I’m essentially certified as an EMT although we don’t have those in Canada), I just had to add my two cents here. Yes, sudden, unexplained cardiac arrests are more common than most people would think in teenage-ish males. Generally speaking, it is found after the fact that they did suffer from a congenital heart defect that went previously undetected- these and heart murmurs are more common that you might expect them to be. It is always tragic, but it does happen occasionally. (and when you consider the number of college athletes in the U.S. alone, the percentage rate per year of cardiac deaths is probably not very high).
In this case, the boyfriend has presumably been running for a while and is now 25 years old. I would venture a guess that it is *highly* unlikely that he will have a cardiac arrest while running this marathon because if he did have a heart problem, it would probably have made itself apparent earlier. Tear something? Probably. Vomit all over himself? Almost definitely. But dropping dead, not likely.
MissDre March 15, 2011, 9:07 am
You said you’re in Ontario, whereabouts? I’m in Ottawa!
caitie_didn't March 15, 2011, 4:47 pm
I split my time between Hamilton and Toronto! You are lucky; when my now-ex boyfriend and I started dating he was living in Ottawa and it is a beautiful city! I was there for Canada day this year 🙂
MissDre March 15, 2011, 5:00 pm
I lived in Toronto for a year… did my graduate program at Centennial. It was fun but I definitely love the peaceful green of Ottawa 🙂 So nice to see another Canadian gal on the board!
bagge72 March 14, 2011, 2:25 pm
I love this response! That is exactly what I was thinking the whole time while reading through this. Right on Wendy! I wonder if your response to her, is going to get one of the typical Dear Wendy Updates where she tells you everything you said was wrong, because she didn’t give you enough info!?!
Wendy March 14, 2011, 2:30 pm
Or that I “edited out the important stuff.” That’s another one I love. Trust me, if it’s important, I do NOT edit it out.
spaceboy761 March 14, 2011, 3:08 pm
“What most of the rude commenters didn’t realize is that I forgot to mention that my boyfriend is a Type II diabetic who stopped taking his insulin last week and he also replaced his iPod headphones with steak knifes.”
bitter gay mark March 16, 2011, 12:42 am
Genius comment here. Ha Ha! Love it! Steak knives!!!
Spark March 14, 2011, 6:15 pm
I 10000000% agree with Wendy’s advice. The LW sounds immature and controlling. If her boyfriend isn’t ready and can’t physically make it, chances are that he will have to walk rather than run. Most healthy people will slow to a walk when they begin to get exhausted–we’ve all been there, wanting to run that last mile, but our bodies tell us, “I just can’t!”
RoyalEagle0408 March 14, 2011, 6:29 pm
@spark- When my body says it can’t do something, I punish it by making it do it anyway. This is probably stupid and could explain my medical history. 😉
Seriously though, the human body is capable of a lot more than we think and I often have to question whether I physically cannot do something or if I just think I can’t finish.
Maracuya March 14, 2011, 2:47 pm
I think he’d be way more likely to pull something or injure himself without any kind of training. That’s assuming he hasn’t been running at all, but you said he loves running. Most people don’t run the whole length of a marathon before actually running one.
I can see why he’s sticking to his guns. Instead of saying you’re worried about him, you called him irresponsible, unwise and said that you wouldn’t be proud of him if he finished. If you’re worried about his health, make him promise he’ll train with you on the days you run. Done.
Heather Girl March 14, 2011, 2:49 pm
Running a marathon isn’t gonna give him a heart attack. Her “overprotectiveness” or as I would like to call it, being your boo’s momma, is gonna give him a heart attack.
Beckaleigh March 14, 2011, 2:55 pm
As I was reading this letter, I was seriously thinking WTF. If the LW was seriously concerned for her boyfriend’s health, she shouldn’t be angry or resentful that he’s not listening. If the LW doesn’t back off, when her boyfriend finishes that marathon, he’s going to run into the arms of someone else and leave her behind.
cmarie March 14, 2011, 2:58 pm
I agree with the advice for the most part but I have to add that health scares are nothing to sneeze at. It may seem like he’s a perfectly healthy young man but when push comes to shove unknown health issues can come to light. My cousin was a perfectly heatlhy 27 year old swimmer. He swam all through high school and college so he decided to compete in a swimming competion. He trained for 6 months but he still took on more than he could handle. He pulled a muscle in his leg and almost drowned. Remember the episode of “How I’ where Barney ran the marathon and he ended up collapsing on the train and couldn’t move? Not so funny when it happens in real life. Besides that I agree with everything else.
princesspetticoat March 14, 2011, 2:59 pm
“and I even told him I was not going to be proud of him”
… if that comment doesn’t scream controlling, I don’t know what does.
Beckaleigh March 14, 2011, 3:02 pm
If my husband said that to me, I’d do it anyway just to prove a point.
spaceboy761 March 14, 2011, 3:11 pm
I almost spit my DDP on my keyboard on that one. That is the funniest thing I’ll read all week!
nawilla March 14, 2011, 5:25 pm
Controlling and juevenile.
That’s the type of thing mothers with bad parenting skills say. Because when it comes to threats, that’s about as empty as it gets.
WatersEdge March 14, 2011, 4:36 pm
One of the toughest lessons I had to learn as a young adult was to live and let live. It’s kind of a cliche so I’m going to say it again… Live And Let Live. If your boyfriend wants to run his fool legs off attempting a marathon without training, then let him! Voice your concerns once, twice if it’s really something serious. Then LET IT GO. He can deal with his own repercussions, including but not limited to soreness, injury, the embarrassment of quitting, and premature death. Because what are you going to do about it? Chain yourself to his ankles and physically stop him from running? I’m pretty sure that’s illegal. You’ve voiced your concerns and he’s choosing to ignore them, which frankly, is exactly what he should do. You’re being controlling. Let it go.
LSS86 March 14, 2011, 7:25 pm
Except that she didn’t really voice her concerns. She told him that he’s irresponsible and unwise. I wouldn’t listen to that either.
WatersEdge March 15, 2011, 8:56 am
Well, in an ideal world you would voice your concerns. I’m gonna be generous and say that “you irresponsible, immature jerk! you’re gonna have a heart attack trying to prove that you’re an alpha male, and even if you finish, I won’t be proud of you” will suffice as getting the point across.
elisabeth March 14, 2011, 4:50 pm
I think, regardless of the possibility of health issues, that the LW is not going about this in the right way. Her angry reaction speaks more of personal offense than concern for health. If she’s really concerned, perhaps approaching the issue in a gentler way would be ideal. Express worry, not rage!
With the anger and the mention of competition, I think Wendy and commenters are right on with this being a control issue. The LW may not feel like she and her SO are on equal footing, and wants to *make* that happen. In my experience, trying to exert that kind of control over someone else will only push them away or entice them to be stubborn about it. If health is really a concern, LW, it might be good to let go of your anger about the situation.
napoleon1066 March 14, 2011, 4:54 pm
People who have heart attacks during marathons have serious health conditions (enlarged hearts, hardened arteries, etc.). If he’s a healthy 25 year old, he’s not going to die. He may hurt himself (pulled muscles, cramps, and so forth) and regret his complete lack of a training program, but he’s not going to die.
I saw let him go, and when he gives up because he can’t take another step and throws up all over the people jogging next to him, feel free to mock him. He deserves it.
WatersEdge March 14, 2011, 5:02 pm
I’d laugh too… but he’d probably do something like pull it out of the bag and finish!
honeybeenicki March 14, 2011, 5:04 pm
I agree with the other commenters… this seems like more of a control issue than anything else. I was a hobby runner for years until I had a knee injury (unrelated to running) and would run a minimum of 4-6 miles per day just for fun. I don’t know if that counts as real “training” since that’s really all I did, but I completed a marathon at 17… although pretty far behind a lot of people… with no problems. I understand that sometimes random heart problems and other less serious injuries can happen, but the tone of this letter does not seem to indicate a real concern for the safety or health of the BF, but instead a need for the LW to control what is going on, know what’s “best” and not have her thunder stolen.
princesspetticoat March 14, 2011, 9:40 pm
I definitely agree. I also completed a marathon at 17, albeit very, very slowly, but it was just such an amazing accomplishment. I, too, didn’t really train hard… just ran regularly. The LW says that they both love running so I suspect that the boyfriend is still running, just not intensely training in the way that the LW thinks he should.
Heather March 14, 2011, 5:04 pm
I’m no running expert (I do run, just not marathons), and yes, some healthy-as-a-horse people succumb to cardiac arrests at an untypical age. But Wendy is right, you are definitely overreacting. A heart attack? Honestly? Of course it’s possible, but highly improbable. You seriously told him you wouldn’t be proud of him? Pardon me for saying, and I’m sure I’ll get thumbed down for this, but that’s not constructive criticism or tough love, just a bitch move that you used with the hope that you’d get YOUR way.
This guy probably isn’t ready for the race, but I highly doubt he’d have a heart attack. He could suffer an injury, absolutely. I agree that his lack of training is foolish. But your way of going about how you disagree is just awful. Let him run the damn race, and then when he’s throwing up and mentally drained, be there for him without saying I told you so. If he finishes successfully, then be impressed, and dammit be proud of him!
nawilla March 14, 2011, 5:29 pm
While the freak death angle does make me personally think running a marathon ranks among some of the more stupid human endeavors (because if you recall the legend, the initial marathon run by a fit soldier in full armor ended with the soldier’s death immediately after delivering his message, and we want to emulate this why exactly?) I think Wendy hit the nail on the head.
(I understand that other people feel differently about marathons, and that is their right, but it’s clear from the punitive, controlling, whiny tone of the LW that fear of mortal death is not what is motivating her here).
RoyalEagle0408 March 14, 2011, 5:34 pm
From what I know of half marathon and marathon training, you don’t run the full distance during training. If he’s healthy and “loves running”, he should be fine. I guess it depends on the course, though, but unless he’s running something like Boston (which I know he’s not since the half isn’t that day) with steep hills that never end, he’ll be fine.
I think Wendy is right that the LW is a bit upset about him “stealing her thunder”.
EatSleepRun March 14, 2011, 10:35 pm
I know this is such a common response, but we can we please stop spreading the myth that the Boston Marathon is the most difficult thing that anyone has ever completed. The Boston Marathon has a net elevation loss. How about the Mount Desert Island Marathon in Maine? Or Pikes Peak Marathon, which gains over 8,000 vertical feet in the first half (meaning you climb to the summit)? Or even The Great Wall of China Marathon, where you actually have to climb up and over the wall?
For the record, I have qualified for and run Boston twice, and I’ve run more difficult marathons. No marathon is “easy,” despite the elevation.
RoyalEagle0408 March 15, 2011, 9:01 am
I’m not saying “the Boston Marathon is the most difficult thing anyone has ever completed” (and I don’t believe that either, especially since I’ve seen marathoners laid out by 5 minute workouts). I just know that in terms of marathons, it’s notorious for the hills and I’ve seen 4 from the top of Heartbreak Hill. And what that will do to people. And the last 5 miles being all downhill. I’ve seen people not train and run Boston and end up on crutches for a few weeks, so that’s where my comment stemmed from. The only other marathon courses I’m familiar with are completely flat, which makes a huge difference in time. I wasn’t implying that any marathon is “easy”, but that he’s most likely not going to die.
EatSleepRun March 15, 2011, 7:53 pm
“especially since I’ve seen marathoners laid out by 5 minute workouts”
Well, at least now I know your perspective on marathon runners.
RoyalEagle0408 March 15, 2011, 8:48 pm
Interesting that you’re basing my “perspective on marathon runners” on my comment about Boston not being the most difficult task ever accomplished. And for the record, I have yet to see someone not laid out by the particular workouts I had in mind. But if finishing Boston was the now difficult thing ever then these workouts should be easy by comparison. At no point did I say anything about marathon runners.
RoyalEagle0408 March 15, 2011, 8:49 pm
*most difficult, not “now difficult”
EatSleepRun March 15, 2011, 10:05 pm
It has nothing to do with your opinion of Boston. I stated in my original comment that I wish people could see that all marathons are difficult, and that Boston is really not that hard in comparison to some marathons, like the ones I mentioned.
But you did say, “especially since I’ve seen marathoners laid out by 5 minute workouts,” right? That’s a comment on marathoners, right? I guess you haven’t put some really top athletes through the workouts you’re thinking of. Google Heidi Westover (top NE distance runner who runs 100+ miles weeks) and Eric Blake (who has won the USTAF NE Mountain Series). They are not professional runners (as in they have jobs other than running). I trust that these two could make it more than five minutes in any workout you could give them.
RoyalEagle0408 March 15, 2011, 10:55 pm
1. You misinterpreted my comment. The goal is to get the workout done as fast as possible.
2. I didn’t realize a person’s ability to run for a really long time was the only thing that determined their fitness and that those who excel at distance running were automatically more superior to everyone else at any other athletic endeavor.
3. Why don’t you google “CrossFit”?
4. You’ve given me an extremely negative opinion of marathoners based on your attitude.
Fairhaired Child March 16, 2011, 12:13 am
Now Kids if you can’t share- I’m just gonna have to turn this car around and put you in your rooms!
Needless to say : you both have hurt feelings for possible misinterpretations, and you have lost what we are really talking about – the LW’s feelings.
Which I think both of you can agree: the LW is being immature, and way off point in her concerns. That injuries can happen to anyone no matter how fit/trained they are. And that yes, cardiac arrest and other things could happen to the boyfriend but that doesnt mean she should be super negative and unsuporting towards him (saying she will not be proud if he does it etc). And that each person (such as the LW and her boyfriend) may have different “comfort levels” for what is hard to them and what isnt hard to them.
EatSleepRun March 16, 2011, 12:21 am
1. Five minutes does not make a workout. Working out so hard that you are “laid out” in 5 minutes is extremely unhealthy.
2. See, here in lies your bias. I never said that distance runners were more superior. You seem to believe that we think that way, and that’s why you wanted to mention that you’ve us “laid out” after five minutes.
3. Ah, another bias. I run, so I clearly do not lift weights. Or rather, I was a personal trainer for years who put her clients through many “Cross Fit” like workouts before the franchise existed. Cross Fit is a fantastic marketing strategy and business model, but people have been doing workouts like theirs on there own for years.
4. Your already had a negative opinion about marathon runners. That was my point all along. I’m sorry that you feel it necessary to base your feelings on a group of people based on my words. Hope no one close to you decides to run a marathon after today. Then you would feel ‘extremely negative” about them.
EatSleepRun March 16, 2011, 12:22 am
you’ve seen us
RoyalEagle0408 March 16, 2011, 5:09 am
Actually you’re the one with the clear bias. I don’t have a negative opinion of marathon runners (just of you…I was making a point that you can’t actually discern my opinion based on a few comments), but I also don’t think they’re any better than any other athlete. And I think that there is more to life and fitness than running, which was part of my point.
Anyway, I’m done with you.
@FC- I don’t have any Hirt feelings. I just really hate people who always need to be right and who make snide comments assuming things about me.
KBobK March 14, 2011, 5:49 pm
Goodness lets get picky shall we? Wendy offers relationship advice, I don’t believe she ever claims to be a medical expert. Yes people die while involved in vigorous activity, but 100 teenagers dying is not the same as a 25 year old runner signing up for a marathon. This isn’t a letter asking what the probability is that Mr. 25-Non-Marathon-man will keel over.
LW if your boyfriend wants to be the “alpha male” and run a marathon that is his choice. It will be a mentally and physically exhausting journey for him. Your lack of support will only hurt your relationship in the long run because he will know that you are not a support system for him. What is the point of a relationship if you cannot count on each other for support? I agree with Wendy.
scattol March 14, 2011, 6:25 pm
I can’t believe what I am reading. The LW is completely justified to be worried. Endurance events aren’t to be taken lightly and the risk of injury would be high, especially if BF pushes himself to prove a point. Hearth problem is unlikely but joint injury might be in BF’s future, some of that never really heals properly either.
Training for endurance event takes the time your body needs to adapt itself to the task. You just can’t think yourself fit.
LW should challenge BF to prove he’s ready by matching her training regiment. That alone should make her point.
Sure that’s confrontational and all but it’s not about who wins, it’s about coming out of there healthy.
WatersEdge March 15, 2011, 9:02 am
Yeah but you can’t force someone to conform their life to fit your risk comfort level. I think the point we’re making is that it’s not her job to berate and shame her boyfriend into submission. He’s an adult and he can (and should) make his own choices.
sarita_f March 14, 2011, 7:07 pm
Calling this in from the cheap seats….
Training only twice per week isn’t all that much training for a half, either. Even the lightest training schedules I’ve seen and/or followed have you running more like 4-5 days per week.
RoyalEagle0408 March 14, 2011, 7:17 pm
I was choosing to ignore that fact in favor of the more ridiculous points, but I agree that twice/week isn’t really an endurance program.
Addie Pray March 14, 2011, 7:35 pm
Good point! I have run marathons before, and my training always included 5-6 days of running a week. (“Run” used loosely.) But I guess that’s the point that the LW is missing — like a lot of things, running is a personal thing, and the only one she should compete with is herself. For every personal record she sets, there will be some jerk who ran it faster, in her sleep, in the worst weather, all uphill… and yes, like her boyfriend, even with little or no training. She’d be really miserable if she let ALL those people rain on her parade.
Wendy March 14, 2011, 7:15 pm
I was thinking the same thing!
WatersEdge March 15, 2011, 9:04 am
I was thinking that too but then I thought “surely she must know what she’s doing, since she’s being so hard on her boyfriend”. I’m training 5 days/wk to learn to run 1.5 miles! I mean, I suck at running, but still… 2 days/wk for a 21 mile run?
Landy March 14, 2011, 7:11 pm
I don’t know, maybe she doesn’t want him to rain on her parade, but she also has a valid point in that running a marathon can be grueling and it could injure someone who is ill prepared for it.
Addie Pray March 14, 2011, 7:38 pm
But running a marathon can injure someone who is 110% prepared for it! I think the LW is just using that as an excuse to justify why her boyfriend shouldn’t be allowed to one-up-her.
kerrycontrary March 14, 2011, 10:20 pm
I think that wendy has a point that perhaps this extreme concern is caused by jealousy and lack of control, but the LW has some valid concerns. Running a marathon without training can lead to severe injuries and heart problems. I don’t think that wendy should assume that just because the guy is 25 that he will be “fine.’ On the other hand, the LW needs to back off. If her boyfriend wants to put himself at risk then it is his choice. Although its disrespectful to totally disregard his girlfriend’s opinion, a grown man can choose to stupidly injure himself if he wants to.
EatSleepRun March 14, 2011, 11:03 pm
This is definitely a “pot calling the kettle black” situation. LW is under-trained herself. If you want to excel at ANY athletic competition, or hobby for the matter, you need to be involved in it more days than you’re not. 2 days a week will not prepare you for a marathon or a half (21 K).
However, I can totally see where you are coming from LW. I would not say that your actions are immature. My ex-boyfriend ran every single race that came his way. He was properly trained, but also 45. One year, he ran 10 marathons, in addition to about 50 other races. I was worried about his lack of concern for his body; he did suffer injuries due to all this racing.
One May, we ran a half as part of a series. We agreed to run it together, “easy” because we were doing a marathon the next week. He felt good, and took off on me half way through. The next week we did our marathon. Then he found a 50 K (31.1miles) trail race the next week. I begged him not to do it and put it to an ultimatum. He chose the race over the relationship. He ended up running the race and having a miserable time (taking 2 hours and 20 min more just to run 5 more miles than the marathon time from the week before). He called that night and begged to get back together.
No, I am no longer with him, but still see him at many races. My current boyfriend respects his training and his body, and I am proud of him. Run this half for yourself, and be glad for your accomplishment. Rest assured, your boyfriend will be a hurtin’ puppy when he’s done the marathon.
WatersEdge March 15, 2011, 9:11 am
I really don’t mean this in a harsh way, but I want to give you some perspective. When you say that you gave your boyfriend an ultimatum that if he ran a race you didn’t want him to run you would break up with him, you also sound like you were a pretty controlling girlfriend. It sounds like you and your current boyfriend are a better fit because you’re on the same wavelength with controlled risk and that’s great, but that doesn’t mean that your old boyfriend was wrong to push himself or that you were right to threaten him.
EatSleepRun March 15, 2011, 7:49 pm
First and foremost, giving an ultimatum is never a good idea if you don’t want the consequences (and in general, giving one at all is never a good idea). I never advised the LW to follow my example; I just shared my story. My ex boyfriend had an addictive personality, and instead of abusing alcohol or his love ones like his family did, he was addicted to running. Any addiction is harmful, even if it’s to something healthy, like running. Due to space limits, I did not think it was necessary to give his entire back story. It was not about a particular race; it was a plea for him to take care of himself. Would a person be controlling if they asked their SO to stop smoking?
My story was merely to tell the LW that I had been in a similar situation, and I understood her perspective. If you want to judge me for saying “I understand” to support a fellow human being, that’s your prerogative.
Lexington March 14, 2011, 11:21 pm
I’m just concerned that you think it’s ok to treat your boyfriend like that. My bf would be pissssssed if I thought it was ok to treat him like a little kid who’s misbehaving. Also, when I have a problem with him, I tell him, calmly and rationally, and we discuss the reasons why I have a problem and why he doesn’t think I should be concerned. Like grownups. Cause we’re adults. And because we’re in a relationship it doesn’t mean we can treat each other with less respect, but we should treat each other with more respect.
Jess March 15, 2011, 3:18 am
Agreed. I highly highly doubt her boyfriend is thinking of her as a keeper after this.
Fairhaired Child March 15, 2011, 12:57 am
I’d like to point out that the LW doesn’t say that the boyfriend HASNT been training, just that he doesn’t have a plan.
Also I’d like to know if they live together. If they don’t live together, how can she be sure that he hasn’t been getting extra runs in, or working out more to prepare himself. Since they both love to run, and I assume run alot together, it is likely that he feels that running x amount of times a week (which may be the normal amount for the two of them to run together anyway) is plenty fine. Where-as if she is “training” for it maybe instead of their (example:) 5 mile run every other day together, she is pushing herself to do longer runs twice a week and building up that distance every week.
There is also no mention of how long they’ve been together (a year or less.. more?). I feel if they have been together for less than a year maybe she doesn’t know that he used to do marathons when he was younger or whatever..
But for the most part, I would assume if he does love to run so much, that he would recognize his limit, and know when he needed to stop running for part of it, jog/walk a couple of blocks, then resume running again. And here’s to hoping that he does NOT have a issue and possibly die while doing the marathon and comes out fine (Even if he does puke on himself).
What the LW should have done instead of being all negative towards his choice was to “help encourage” him more as she says they do. (“On the contrary, we encourage each other to do our best.”) And invite him to join her on her training runs, or just tell him that she’ll support him but worries for his safety instead of being all negative nancy on him.
anna728 March 15, 2011, 2:01 am
Could not agree with the advice more. When she was talking about heart attacks I thought they must be middle aged or something- but no, 25!
Jess March 15, 2011, 3:14 am
It sounds like her boyfriend is her “frenemy.” Or rather, she is her boyfriends frenemy, as he is probably not doing this on purpose to steal her thunder. Or maybe he is…
Jess March 15, 2011, 3:20 am
I think all this debate about whether or not this will kill him is a little silly. Like another poster said, most of those “freak” heart attacks happened when the athlete was young and didn’t yet realize they had a heart condition.
I mean, its not like there are people behind the runners with cattle prods. He can always stop running if it’s too difficult.
jena March 15, 2011, 10:07 am
ON POINT, Wendy. I thought the same thing. She’s only training twice a week for a half, he isn’t at all for a marathon. That’s not enough training for either of them, and she’s jealous that he thinks he can pull off a marathon without training.
TheGirl March 15, 2011, 11:43 am
This is just like when my husband eats an entire box of taffy for dinner. The more I tell him he shouldn’t do it, the more stubborn he gets about it. Instead of arguing, I relish the knowledge that he will have a stomach ache about two hours after he eats said box of taffy. At which point I hand him a box of Tums and laugh at him mercilessly for his foolishness. You can’t change a man by nagging, you’ll just have to let him figure out he’s being stupid all on his own.
So get the Bengay and the smart ass comments ready.
llclarityll March 15, 2011, 4:23 pm
Ok, seriously, if he’s not running at all, he’s most likely not going to finish the race. And if he does, he’s going to be in a lot of pain for a few days. He’ll probably injure himself while running. I don’t care what anyone says about adrenaline and feeling the moment and blah blah blah, 26.2 miles is hard…really hard. Mentally and physically.
That said, if he’s never run even close to that distance, he may not be prepared for racing at this point. You may not be either. Just because you’re competitive and loving running does not mean you are ready or prepared for a road race of that distance.
And to be fair, running just two days a week is not a sufficient training plan, either. You could very injure yourself during the 21k.
llclarityll March 15, 2011, 4:27 pm
I also should add that even if you prepared for a race, you could still injure yourself. There’s always that chance. There’s always a chance of ANYTHING happening, but the heart attack scenario is a pretty slim one.
AnitaBath March 15, 2011, 9:56 pm
Random, but does anyone ever wonder about whether or not people sometimes lie on the updates to get back at Wendy? Like even if we get an update from this LW in a couple weeks saying, “Your advice was horrible, Wendy! You and all of your commenters had your heads up your asses! My boyfriend broke both his kneecaps running that marathon!” should we believe it?
Fairhaired Child March 15, 2011, 10:45 pm
Lol I don’t know I think some people in their updates try to cover things up a lot with “oh no you guys got it wrong really I didnt tell you about..”
As for the kneecaps thing, I think he’ll be safe so long as he doesn’t owe the running Mob any money, and then they see him at the marathon.. cus I heard those guys were fast, and they are always packing something.