Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dr. Viper Saves Your Marriage

So, I get this e-mail from this guy David, whose permission I did not ask to print his name so at least I'll be courteous and withhold his last name. Those of you who have e-mailed me know that I don't commonly reply because I don't want to be pen pals with any of you. But this one tugged at the ol' heart strings -- and snapped off a few of the cold, dead ones.

David wrote:
Mr. Viper,

I've been reading your blog for about a year and enjoy your stories and comments -- thanks for writing.

I noted in your last post that you ran a 20-miler with a cycling companion. I've been considering asking my wife to ride while I ran my long runs, but wasn't sure how well that would work.

[Yadda, yadda, yadda deleted]

I'm heading toward 60-mile weeks -- which means I need to include my wife if I want to stay married.

Any comments/wisdom/advice would be much appreciated. I don't know, maybe this whole thing is a bad idea ...


Well, people, I'm here to tell you that this whole thing is a bad idea. Don't you know that you're not supposed to share your passions with your significant other? And spending two to four hours alone with that person? Also a dumb move. What are you going to do, talk to each other? Why, that could lead to a closer relationship and better understanding between you two.

Regardless, here is my priceless advice. But don't say I didn't warn you.

The biggest challenge for the biker is your slow-ass pace. The biker should expect to ride about half as fast as normal to match your running pace. I run between 6-7.5 mph, which means two to four hours in the saddle during those long runs. That makes for one painful ass, but that's why they make those silly-looking padded shorts.

Recommended gear:
  • Silly-looking padded shorts
  • Bike computer that measures miles per hour and distance
  • Rack/bag for extra water bottles, food, etc.
  • Mirror for road running/biking
  • Hand-held water bottle or belt (you both need your own water)
Benefits of running with a biker:
  • Unloneliness of a long-distance runner
  • Pacing control
  • Motivation
  • Distraction from brutal mileage
  • Let's face it, it's nice to have your own mule for extra supplies
Things to watch out for:
  • Traffic
  • Taking up more space as a biker/runner unit
  • Getting passed with no room to move over
  • Avoiding collision with biker/runner
  • Tire-popping pot holes
David also had a few specific questions:
  • Is your pace compatible with the cyclist on long, steep uphills? On steeper grades, yes, a runner can keep pace or outrun a bike. However, the biker should ride ahead for the bigger hills to maintain momentum. The runner can play catch up.
  • What does the cyclist do on long downhills (when gravity wants to carry them away from you at 15 mph)? Depends on the hill and traffic. If it's convenient, the biker can brake to the runner's speed.
  • Do you have the cyclist carry fluids/gels? If so, do you exchange on the go? Yes, have the biker carry extra water, sports drinks, gels, etc. (See recommended gear above). Exchanging on the go is possible, but if the runner is grabbing something from a bike-mounted bag, be sure not to disturb the biker's balance.
  • Do you have any advice for negotiating traffic? Communication is key. If one of you hears/sees an approaching car, cyclist, speedier runner, etc., tell the other and fall in line. The biker should pedal ahead and the runner should slow down and move behind the bike when passing or being passed. Make sure you follow the five-second rule when you are passing others.
One final note: Make sure the biker knows how much you appreciate the company and remember that the biker's ass hurts as much as your legs do. David, your wife may ask you to give her a butt massage after a long run. Don't complain about it.

And there you have it. Marriage: saved. Running: enriched. If any of you have further suggestions, please say so in the comments. Cheers!


Mike said...

My advice is to skip the running/biking and go straight to the butt massage.

Vava said...

Which one is responsible for finding a babysitter?

C said...

I second Mike's suggestion.

Ian said...

Someone e-mailed you for advice? That's just asking for trouble.

The biker should carry everything, and I'd advise against reaching for something on the bike, have the biker hand it to you.

Carolina John said...

i still can't believe someone who claims to have read this blog before actually sent you an email.

and xenia likes butt massages, that's good to know. Vanilla also knows a thing or two about butt play i'm sure. think there's a connection there?

X-Country2 said...

Awww, I think that's sweet to run/bike with your spouse. Good for you, David! :o)

Spike said...

"Bike computer that measures miles per hour and distance"

sure, get a Garmin for your bike partner, but you won't buy a Garmin for yourself.

Nitmos said...

Yep, you're just as annoying as Dr. Phil. No surprise.

Jess said...

Biking/running together may harm the marriage, but butt massages always help it.

Sun Runner said...

Damn it, where were you when MY marriage fell apart?! Think of the hundreds of dollars I wasted in therapy trying to get my head on straight when all I had to do was ask you for advice!

Eh, well, I did the bike accompaniment thing with my Ex-H...we still got divorced.

B.o.B. said...

I need to find myself a husband soon. I had no idea that I could them for that. Great idea!

the erratic epicurean said...

i love that r. is your own personal bike mule. sheesh!!

mr loser said...

Good luck David, hope things work out for you. Viper -- nice job on the 20 miler.

Aileen said...

You've become the Dr. Phil of running/cycling. Amazing.

Funnyrunner said...

LOL. Your funniest post to date, Viper. I totally agree. Marriage is not good for running, and vice versa. lol. I used to get up early so I wouldn't take up too much family time for my runs, but now... screw it. Sleep is important. lol. kidding. the boys are older so it doesn't matter as much.

I would LOVE to have a slave ride a bike next to me for a 20-miler. Lucky you. I loathe carrying water. what event are you training for?