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Marriage DNF

The Expert told me yesterday that he wanted a divorce.

I was not surprised.

We were riding in the car on the way to pick strawberries with the kids when he told me.  As we pulled up to the strawberry farm, he stared at me when I didn’t leap out of the car.

“Are you coming?” he asked.

I looked at him like he was stupid.  I want a divorce. I want out. Are you coming to pick strawberries?

The kids were studying me, wondering why I was sitting motionless. I had my camera draped in my lap, and thought, well, I guess I ought to get pictures from our lasting outing together as a family. So I went.

I walked 20 yards behind the three of them, because my boot was slowing me down. Strawberry field terrain is not exactly ideal for Wilson, the boot. I tripped over everything in sight.  I was wearing my Peachtree Road Race shirt, and someone said, “Heh heh, guess you’re not racing this year with that foot, eh?”  The dude was so funny.  I couldn’t stand it.

I snapped pictures of the kids.

I looked through the lens of the camera at the Expert, our little family. The last four years for us has been extremely difficult, probably more tough than we realized.  Two kids, fourteen months apart, job changes, job stress, travel, more things than even I would post on a blog….

But as I watched him pick strawberries with our kids, I knew there was more to our family than just stress.

The Expert and I have almost fourteen years of relationship history together, and nineteen years of friendship. Obviously, sometimes history sucks.  Bad history is like a bad race.  You may have prepared the best you thought you could… but the build-up of the pain, dehydration, cramps and a flat tube may end the day.

At the same time, I have always found extreme peace in the raging pain of running, of triathlon. I find joy in the sweaty, crusty smell of old running shoes. I like the zinging ouch of sweat in the eyes.

I’m stubborn. I did not want to DNF this marriage.  At least not without a fight.

I slung my camera around my shoulders and hobbled over to him. “Whatever you decide is okay. I understand all this. This has felt impossible for awhile. We will always be friends. We are good friends. It’s okay,” I said.

I saw it in his eyes in that moment. That our history was worth keeping, worth remembering, worth continuing to build.

The Expert did not want a DNF on his record either.

Last night, before we went to sleep, he asked me, “You are planning to blog about this…aren’t you?”

“Only if you say I can.”

“You can. Plus, only you can figure out a way to tie in the events of today with triathlon.”

“Well, marriage really is like a race… You have to make sure you have the properly fuel and energy and rest and recovery in order to keep going and….”

He smiled as I rambled on.




  • Anonymous

    April 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    One step, peddle, stroke at a time. I figure as long as my husband can still make me smile, laugh, angry, and cry the feelings are still there and that means the love is still there. Hang in there.

  • Anonymous

    April 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Beautiful, beautiful post. I went into triathlon to get through a divorce, and I wouldn't have survived without it. I think the lessons of triathlon are better for continuing a marriage though. It hurts, sometimes you want to quit, sometimes it makes more sense to just sit down than to stand up and fight your way through it. But, you continue on because you know there's something worthy for you at the end.

    Sending you both best wishes and thoughts of strengths.

  • That Pink Girl

    April 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Oh sugar, when I saw that title I really hoped that wasn't what you meant. I've been through a marriage DNF…will, be praying for your race and a strong finish.

  • Kim Possible

    April 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Too many of us can completely understand this. You enter the race of marriage with the love of just the two of you, then new demanding careers step in and take away from marriage time. Beautiful gifts of children add unbelievable stress and drive you further apart. What each of you wants to achieve can seem selfish to the other since then you are "stuck" while the other moves ahead.It is so true that you have history and still because of those beautiful children have so many more chapters to write. It's time to reset. DNF is the last and final option, as in a race, DNF may be an option if I broke my leg. Reset with patience and understanding. Kindness and support. It may not be what you want or care about, but if it important to your mate,,, you should care. If it was for your child, you would take the time to care. I can look back on the bumps in our marriage of 23 years and be proud of pushing through. It wasn't easy, still takes focused time. The kids are old enough to drive themselves which allows us time to reconnect and realize how much we really do love each other—-even when he makes me crazy. You got this, stay focused on the finish, the last line of the your fairy tale,,,,,,,and they lived together, happily ever after.Hugs

  • Anonymous

    April 15, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I have followed you for along time. The honesty and candor of your posts brings me back. Most couples have times when it doesn't seem worth the fight, especially with young kids. But, those same kids that increase your stress as a couple are the very reason you can make it work. Once upon a time there was enough love and magic to make them and with enough focus and love there will ba again. I speak from experience. Good luck.

  • Anonymous

    April 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Whoa. My gut dropped into my ankles reading this. I don't even know you, but I felt the shock of loss as if we were close friends.

    Your response was so amazingly strong, gracious, and resilient. I have been in awe of you since I first starting following your blog, but this – you have really topped yourself with this.

    I wish you strength, peace, clarity, hope and love.

  • Jennifer @ ItSuxToBeFat

    April 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    WOW! What strength you have to post this and share this. Life is so much more than exercise or dieting. Life is sometimes hard. For those of us going through similar situations, we thank you. And…encourage you to hold on. Just as we are holding on!

  • Ara

    April 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    You are such a strong woman. I've never met you, but I've read your blog since I signed up for Twitter and I feel like I've come to know you as a friend. From my point of view, if anybody can get through this rough patch, it's you & the Expert. You are such a determined woman and you don't let anything stop you. Keep your head up and I hope all goes well.

  • Anonymous

    April 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Tough race ahead of you, thoughts are with you. Think we all feel like we know you and are definitely rooting for you. All the way.

  • Anonymous

    April 16, 2012 at 2:00 am

    I've had that feeling, and thought those thoughts. Saying the d-word out loud is the end for most people, but for those of us who can remember why we fell in love in the first place, it can be the beginning of a deeper, more honest relationship. Deep breaths, kid.

  • Anonymous

    April 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Speechless. Speechless only because I had almost the exact same conversation with my husband last night–(with my boot as well, btw…). We've been on a crazy train for the last 8 years with no real end in site. I offered the "out", the clean break, no harm, no foul. But we just can't quite get there.

    Our sports analogy was with running. We feel like we are in a race that doesn't end. As soon as we cross one finish line, after sprinting the last quarter mile, they tag on another 2 miles. Then we cross those and here come another 2 miles. It just never ends and we are both worn out.

    I hope this gets better for you. Hang in there….

  • Donna

    April 16, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I found it hard to swallow when I read your post, but I'd be lying if Hubs and I didn't have our ups and downs. I can totally relate to the feeling of a race never ending… it's always something — if it's not my triathlon, it's kiddo's triathlon, if it's not his run, it's her Girl Scouts. All of a sudden the actual companionship of marriage takes a back seat, and in no time and more ways than one, Hubs feels less needed than he would admittedly care to feel. Not every race is going to be a PR. We crash and burn, but hopefully rise-up better in the aftermath. While it's not license to throw all caution to the wind, my personal feeling is that the more often you crash, burn and learn (the learning part being of utmost importance, the easier it is to navigate and come up out of valley a little stronger… kinda like hill repeats! LOL My hope is that you and the Expert will get through this even stronger, as I have faith you will.

  • beach mama

    April 18, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Hoping you guys can work through it. I posted my 9 year anniversary post and linked back to you.
    I've only been reading you for a short time, but I feel like a friend. Little kids are SO hard. Little sleep make for short tempers. Mine are 3 and 7 and I feel like we are finally 'getting' it together.
    Pulling for you guys!! xoxox


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