The San Francisco Marathon: Golden Gate Challenge III

Shift, improve and grow

By Diane Rudholm



As I’m writing this, there are seven weeks and four days until the San Francisco Marathon on July 27. Training for the race has given me plenty to think about and plenty to do. But, lately, what has struck me most about training hasn’t been the sore feet or tiresome experimenting with energy foods (though — just for fun — let’s have a moment of silence for those challenges).

What’s been most interesting to me is how training has given me some deeper insights into how I think about things and, closely related to that, how my husband — who is also training for the race — thinks about things. We don’t often get to do our training runs together, but when we have run together (especially on long-run days) we’ve learned a lot.

For instance, we have learned that we have different ideas of what makes a good route. I like to know exactly where I’m going. He can wing it. He’s considerably faster than I am, but I can usually run more miles at a stretch. We’re affected by foods differently. I’m miserable if I don’t get enough to eat. He can push through hunger and just get home. I think (often out loud) while I run. He just wants to run.

The astute reader might guess that training runs (especially long-day runs) could be a source of bickering for us. And, the astute reader would be correct.

But, for all of the bickering about why this route is better or who should have remembered what, I have also seen ways that we’ve grown and stretched our abilities to care for one another by running together.

We have bickered, yes, but we have also become more patient with each other. Our communication is getting better. We’re learning how to reach consensus sooner. We say things like “sorry” and “I’m glad you didn’t get eaten by bears” a little faster.

Training runs have developed into something closer to a yoga mindset than a competitor mindset. I try to think less and he tries to talk more. We share ideas about how to get better and we try them. It’s a work in progress, but it’s cool to see the ways we shift, improve and grow when we’re working toward a common goal.

I’ll check in with my running and training progress one more time before I head south for the San Francisco Marathon.

Learn more about the San Francisco Marathon at

Diane Rudholm is the managing editor and social media manager of OutdoorsNW. Check in for more San Francisco Marathon training highlights on the first Tuesday of each month. Have questions or comments? Send an email or tweet @OutdoorsNWmag

Other posts about the San Francisco Marathon. . .

>> I. Up the hill!

>> II. Rain or Shine

>> III. Shift, improve and grow

>> IV. San Francisco or bust!

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