Last week, Dimity and I had a lively debate via email about what verb to use to describe handling a husband who is less than supportive of a wife's mileage. She had "dealing with," but I thought that sounded too negative, suggesting "cajole" instead. To me, that word implies coaxing, enticing, sweet-talking, and it has a joke element to it. All the things that sum up how I finagle Jack to not get grumpy about my running.
The topic was much on my mind last week as I was trying to find a way to break the news to him that I am about to start training for marathon #6--Big Sur on April 25. As I was quick to point out to Dimity in our email exchange: "It's not a question of Jack 'letting' me do another marathon or not. Ultimately I have free will. It's just how much I want to rock the family-boat."
Ultimately I made the Big Sur proclaimation with a good news/bad news approach, without putting it in those stark terms. One evening, after the dinner dishes were cleared away, I shoo'd the kids down to their basement playroom so Jack and I could converse in relative quiet. I told him I'd decided I was going to take a break from my rowing team until at least May 1. As I had expected, he was very pleased with this news. (He's not opposed to rowing, just the drama that is constantly simmering on my team.) I waited a few good moments, then followed it up with, "And I'm running the Big Sur Marathon in late April." I then blah-blah-blah'ed about what a fabulous marathon it is, such as having just been named by Runner's World as the Best Destination Marathon in the U.S. I might as well have been describing, at length, the new pair of knee-high boots I'd gotten or the color of lipstick a friend had worn to book group.
Yet without saying much, Jack quickly got on board. Partly, I think, because with rowing out of the equation, I can now run long on Saturday instead of Sunday, thus avoiding the Sarah-run versus Jack-Mass log jam. I've now worked a mention of Big Sur into several conversations, making it seem a natural part of our family landscape. After about the third time, even Jack made some joking mention of Big Sur back to me, telling me he's okay with it.
I'm pleased to see my cajoling worked as I'd hoped.