January tittle-tattle: Marathon or sex?

I was soaking my tired legs in bath when the husband walked in, running clothes in hand. I just finished a 3-hour run and now it’s his turn. The kid is taking an afternoon nap. Feeling particularly naughty, I began doing the best (and most awkward) Playboy poses I could muster, trying to entice him to join me in the tub.

The desire was strong but the discipline was stronger. He chose to put his clothes on rather than jump in with me, which would have not guaranteed a good sex anyway. We laughed the whole situation off, him asking “marathon or sex?”

That basically summed up January for me – mothering, working and running. There wasn’t much space for being a dutiful wife in between.

Our 2019 began with a funeral. After a long bout with cancer, my father in-law passed away the day after Christmas. We were still reeling from pain and exhaustion when we begin the work year on the second week of January.

This wasn’t the first death in my family but this hit me so hard because my father in-law really became a father to me when I moved to the Netherlands. He treated me like his own daughter, without biases, without questions.

He chose to end his suffering with euthanasia. On the night that he died, I fully understood what letting go truly means. And that pain is an endless depth where one is thrown into when a loved one passed away.

In between tears one night, my husband confessed that he is afraid he won’t be able to remember his father after sometime. He feels like he had not been mourning properly and how easily we eased back to our normal routine after the funeral.

But what is mourning really? Is there a proper way to do it? How do you mourn while going about your daily life?

The January work-load hit us like a wreaking ball. It felt like we were running on auto-pilot with a daily routine that went like this:

  • wake up. shower. run. bring kid to daycare. work. pick kid up. cook dinner. eat dinner. run. prepare kid for bed. sleep. repeat.

There was no time for lazy weekend mornings because once the kid is up at 6am, we couldn’t linger in bed longer. In addition to 3-4 hour runs on either Saturday or Sunday, we were also bogged down with household chores. After a full day of running after a toddler, all I could manage at the end of the day is crash in bed and go to sleep.

The kid got a nasty stomach flu bug on the third week of January so for a whole week, I was either sitting on the couch cuddling her, changing diarrhea nappies or washing vomit-covered clothes and bedding. If that’s not bad enough, I got sick afterwards. It took at least 1.5 weeks off my training and a few days missing work. I felt bad for my colleague because that was perhaps the busiest week at work this month.

I did manage a bit of socializing. I went to the company New Year’s dinner and to my sister in-law’s housewarming party, where I let the husband enjoy his beer(s) to his heart’s content because for the very first time in two years, we didn’t have to put the kid to bed (thank God for mother in-laws!).

According to my Nike app, I ran 139 kilometres in January or an average of 4km/day and a total of 15 hours on my legs. That sounds a lot but that doesn’t even come close to the hours and distance that a good ultra-marathon training requires.

It’s 65 days to go until the 60 van Texel. My confidence in finishing on time is quickly disappearing as the day goes by. I have to seriously amp up my training if I want to finish at all.

And that’s why there has been little time and even lesser desire for romance these days. Nothing kills sexual desire like death and grief, a busy job, illness and marathon training.

We chose marathon.

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