• Michelle Howell

Update: I got Married

Nine years is a long time. Nearly a decade and longer than the life span of any pet fish I've owned. It's been nine years since I met my now-husband, a statement that sounds even more bizarre as I type it out than in my head. The fact that I got married isn't new news as we're marking our first month of marriage today, but it still feels odd in a lot of ways. Partially because I feel like compared to most of our friends we're ahead of the curve and partially because for the majority of my life getting married was not a concept I could wrap my head around at all.

In fact when Max proposed he was still shocked when I actually said yes.

The Rule

It might sound a bit cliche, but running has almost always been the primary relationship in my life- dictating how I spend my time away from it and impacting the choices I make in order to ensure it stays the priority. The last thing I've ever wanted is a relationship that in any way detracts from my passion; stemming from a first boyfriend who would repeatedly talk negatively about my running saying it was a waste of my time and that I would never be able to do it at the college level. My solution to that problem was a simple rule to just have no significant others during or entering the track season. If there wasn't one around there was no way they could affect me.

Year 1 end of summer 5k

Then one summer Max ran into my life, literally. We knew of each other from high school racing against each other's teams and both ended up going to a running club hosted by a local running store. He was on his summer break from school and I was getting ready to leave for my first year of college. What was supposed to be a summer fling made it to the fall and then the winter and for the first time I questioned my rule.

At one point I proposed taking a break for the track season. My season already looked like it was going to be bad (lack of training, unhappiness with my experience, and injuries popping up here and there), but I didn't want to make a change in what had worked for the past four years. When I told Max my plan to take a break he promptly laughed at me thinking I was joking and then realized I wasn't and proceeded to tell me that was not going to happen.

Max is the only relationship that's made it through more than one track season which is now a bit of a running joke (pun intended). Since Max also competed in cross country and track respectively he understood where I was coming from in terms of how running played (And still does) such a huge part in my life. It's what brought us together and what made me realize how great he was.

Going the Distance

We spent all of my time in college doing long distance. Being in a long-distance relationship I was able to train and enjoy my own college experience and Max was able to do the same. We tried to talk on the phone as often as we could but gave each other the space we both needed to become our own people and reach our goals. Max jokes that me being able to retain my independence for those years is what softened me up into agreeing to move with him during the summer before I started grad school.

Over the years I've learned to not fear our relationship taking away from my running career otherwise I probably wouldn't be here. If anything Max has been a pillar of support over the years pushing me to keep doing what I'm doing. From logging summer miles with me to dealing with me through injury and rougher patches. He's not only my biggest supporter but my biggest advocate in believing I'm capable of more. I am a firm believer that without his positivity and optimism toward my career I would not be where I am today.

So on October 12, 2019 after our first full year living together- his first year of law school and mine running post-collegiately- we tied the knot at Swank Farm with one hundred and fifty or so of our friends and family.

Saying I'm married still feels weird, but I'm working on it.

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