Are you with the person that challenges you, to challenge yourself?

Yesterday my husband and I decided to create our own Christmas holiday challenge (on a Sunday of all days). We have challenged each other to run 5k everyday, during our holiday break (approx. 2 weeks).

This is probably my first challenge with my husband (and it was my idea). I’ve always avoided doing anything fitness wise alongside him as I am quite competitive and I know that he will always win. He is faster, stronger and far more motivated and committed. Anyone that knows him, knows that 100% isn’t good enough, and I tend to tread around the 75%-85% mark across #allthethings.

In self-reflection (and full vulnerable transparency), I’ve probably avoided it because despite him knowing that I’m not really a 100% type of gal, I didn’t want to give him an opportunity to see it for himself. I didn’t want him to judge me or finally figure out that he had gone below his 110% benchmark when he married me (how’s that for negative self talk).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

I really struggled when Adrian decided to take up running midway through this year. I immediately lost interest in running. I knew he would be faster and better. I knew he would be able to run farther at a pace I’ll probably never run at, and he would suffer less than I ever would if I pushed myself that hard. I was jealous and I felt like the little something that had become “my one thing”, had now been taken away and made much better. It felt like all that I had achieved over the past year since having baby number two and going from running 2km to 22km, meant nothing.  

I reverted back to listening to some pretty horrid tapes about myself, in my head. It was mean, not just to myself, but also to Adrian. I was projecting my jealousy and selfishness by ensuring that I gave zero interest to his new hobby. I didn’t ask him about his runs. I fazed out when he talked about training programs. I questioned why he needed $250 shoes, when he had only been for two runs (‘…put in the k’s before you reward yourself’, said the meany poo pie that was me).  We never fought about it. Adrian called me out on my jealousy and selfishness, and I flat out admitted it. It was true. I needed time to digest, and I guess, grow up.

The thing is, Adrian is faster. But he also runs for speed. I run for distance. I run to maintain a level of fitness and body weight that I feel comfortable in. I run because it’s the only thing that I can fit into my life since returning to work after having Hazel. I keep running, because it is hard. I don’t like things that are hard. I go out of my way to avoid anything that is difficult. And every time I run, whether its 2k’s or 22ks, it feels difficult. But the ego boost I get (I mean adrenalin. Not), fuels me until my next run. That’s the truth. When I feel like I’ve gone days without achieving something (even though I’ve achieved surviving #allthethings), I go for a run.

I’m only two days into this challenge but day one was a huge realisation. I was only half a kilometre into my run before I realised I had set up a challenge to do alongside my husband (a challenge unto itself). We weren’t competing against each other, we were using each other to lean on so that we could continue to feel good about ourselves despite the carb overloads and the beer and wine flavoured calorie consumption. Day two, and I was already pretending I never brought the challenge up, and it was him that said, “what time do you want to do your run?”

What I’ve learned is that there is no competition between us. He doesn’t compete with me, he pushes me and lifts me and supports me. He beefs me up that extra bit to get me to 100%.

To all the 17-26 year olds that probably aren’t reading this, love and marriage isn’t about trying to one up each other, it isn’t about being jealous of the other person if they are doing seemingly better than you at any one particular thing, or even #allthethings. A real relationship, a solid partnership is about cheering the other person on, it’s about lifting them up and propelling them forward because you believe in them when they don’t believe in themselves. It’s about being happy in their achievements without comparing them to your own. Most importantly, it’s realising that we all only have this one life. Just because they are choosing to spend it with you, doesn’t mean that their hopes, dreams and goals fall to the wayside or have to be aligned with your own.

Similar to becoming a mother: you don’t stop wanting to drink at the pub with the girls and dance like you’re seventeen, or stop trying to become an author, just because you are now a mum.

Be with the person that challenges you, to challenge yourself.

T x

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