What if your man wants to do something “crazy”?

Heather and I were wed on April Fool’s Day nine years ago. Marriage is no joke (I should know), but we do have a sense of humor about it. Whenever people ask how long we’ve been married, we usually say forty years since they don’t stipulate they want to know how long we’ve been married to each other.

Climbing together in Ecuador, February 2012

Seriously, though, this is the longest I’ve ever been married, and I intend to stay that way.

Thank goodness Heather feels the same. One of the “secrets” to our relationship is that she puts up with a lot. Obviously, that’s not under wraps, as I wrote about all of this in my book, “Running on Empty,” out in paperback a couple of days after our anniversary.

A central element in the story is how we met late in life and she taught me to love again after great personal tragedy and previous marriages. I credit her not only with helping me to become a better man (to whatever degree that’s true), but also with being crucial to my completing that epic, record-setting transcontinental run.

You can imagine that being with someone like me requires a strength of its own, a special brand of emotional endurance. Heather not only puts up with my craziness but embraces it as an essential part of me. In an interview we did with AOL in the spring, we talked about our “extreme marriage” and how much I draw on her strength.

So it’s fitting that I break it down for you, Heather-style, as we approach the latest landmark in this whole book adventure.

Here are some tips for women in a relationship with a “crazy” man. (While you could certainly flip it and use these in a relationship with a woman prone to extremes, since this is based on Heather’s example, the gender is what it is here.)

  • Let men be men. All of us need to express ourselves in unique ways, and for one man, it may be running across the U.S., while for another, it may be a guys’ getaway in Baja, Mexico, and for another, it may be watching a show about Bigfoot.
  • Respect that thing you think is silly or risky or even dangerous, as it can bring out the best in both of you. It isn’t anti-feminist to embrace the dreams and aspirations of men who want to test their mettle, whether that’s in sport, business, finance, or any of the other classically male area of contest. This also applies to men who want to explore the arts and other creative pursuits. The truth is that most men like to succeed, no matter their particular interest. Support them in it.
  • Agree that this is a reciprocal arrangement, where both partners commit to seeing each other become the fullest versions of themselves. If you can find it in your heart to encourage him in something you’d otherwise ignore or even dismiss, he can do the same for you. Who knows what you might accomplish together?

I don’t pretend to be an expert on relationships, but I do know this is part of what makes it work between Heather and me. What are your thoughts? Are you able to embrace the aspects of your partner that seem “crazy” or extreme? Is he or she able to do the same for you?
This entry was posted in Book, Running on Empty (2011), Friends & Family, Training & Tips. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to What if your man wants to do something “crazy”?

  1. Andriette Wickstrom says:

    It is so heartwarming that you and Heather found each other!
    The last person I dated ended up being a psychopath, so I did learn that not everyone in the running community (and in the general population) is worthy of trust. About 4% of people are born psychopaths, and many of them end up in positions of power and respect by virtue of fooling people with their lies and deception and lack of conscience. At least I managed to get out of the situation alive, and in the process learned that it is much better to be alone than to be with the wrong person.
    Happy running, and I wish you both wonderful adventures in 2012!

  2. Todd J says:

    Loved this entry, Marshall. And especially the photos!
    Todd J´s last blog post ..Caught Up In The Flow

  3. David Schwabenbauer says:

    Please help me with some advice for Mortons Neuroma. Its making my running unbearable at times. I had a cortisone injection 5 weeks ago and the pain came back with the same intensity.


    • Marshall says:

      David, I’m sharing your comment with a runner friend/doctor who may be able to help.

    • Marshall says:

      Hi David,

      I consulted with a Doctor Friend who has Mortons Neuroma and here is what he had to say: “He should have already seen an orthopedist or a podiatrist. There are local injections of steroids which might help however the usual situation requires excision of the neuroma.”

      It sounds like you have already seen a Doctor as you have had an injection…here is a website that outlines more about treatment: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mortons-neuroma/DS00468/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

      Other than that, I’m afraid I can’t help, sorry, good luck and let me know how you are doing.


  4. Marlowe says:

    I read “Running on Empty” recently. As a runner and a guy who was also personally “running on empy” there were many parts of the book I could relate to. Your experience Marsh helped me understand and except why I was emotionally where I was and motivated me to stay in the race – which has in turn made me a bit of a crazy man. 🙂

    My wife and I have been married for 24 years and were/are at a cross roads – at least I was – in our relationship. My wife’s acceptance, (not necessarily understanding) of where I am in my life as a guy and what I am needing to do to climb out of the valley I am in has been crucial to our relationship. She is not a runner but metaphorically as run with me on this ultra marathon of rediscovery every step. I could not do it with out her. A lesser women would have bailed long ago.

    But guys and gals, don’t take advantage of the fact that your partner is willing to do this for you. As Heather noted, it is or should be a reciprocal arrangement.When she has been in the “valley”, I was there for her also, (although I think she’s had the much harder leg with me!) So thanks for sharing Heather and Marsh. This is all good stuff.

  5. Great stuff Marshall. I too have been blessed with an awesome wife who has crewed me through everyone of my ultras, as well as now getting ready to share in my own cross country run, as she and our children will crew me on this. It was great to have Heather’s perspective through your book…it really helped my wife see some of the challenges we will face, and prepare as much as we could. I couldn’t do this without her.

    • Marshall says:

      You are right to admit that you couldn’t achomplish so much without your wife. I remind myself frequently that my Heather, well is just the best.

  6. Katie says:

    My husband and I both run ultras. We find a way to make it work, even with three kids. I love Heather’s final point about becoming the fullest version of of ourselves. For Tyler and I, that definitely includes running, so we support each other 100%. Thanks for sharing your insight!
    Katie´s last blog post ..Free dog food is the best kind!

    • Marshall says:

      Yes, it’s hard to raise kids and find the time to do things that we like to do, I think the trick is to balance life as best we can…sometimes we may fall short, but re-adjusting at times and making sure we do have a balance makes sense for everyone.

  7. Heather2run says:

    Great post! I am also Heather, and I also support my hubs on his many crazy pursuits. Ironman, Leadville MTB, and next year..RAM? I think he is AMAZING and courageous for trying these crazy things. Aside from a few annoyances, I am happy to handle the kids & such do he can focus on training & work. He totally supports me in my endeavors although mine are much more modest, yet a challenge for me. So proud of him & more than happy to be Cheif Sherpa!

    • Marshall says:

      It’s great to have the support and love of someone…that being a husband or wife is the ultimate.

  8. Becca says:

    I enjoy reading your story and i can relate to it. I agree that’s the best spicy of marriage, accepting and supporting my hubby in all his craziness. But good thing those crazy things is good for family.

  9. Great blog piece Marshall. I think we’re just trying to challenge ourelves to the limit of where we (I) feel I am worthy, and able to look at my life as an accomplishment, rather than just for the sake of “living” but living to the “fullest.”

    I choose not to be content, but rather, choose to challenge myself. If we are lucky to have the special one in our lives that will support it, that is the ultimate. Nice piece again Marshall.
    Best Always,

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