Arts and Culture, Food, Travel

Love and Life: The Great Balancing Act

We’re one month into 2015, people. How’s the year been so far? For the Ninja Turtle, it’s been a whirlwind of travelling, work and training. After two months away in Australia and Singapore, she’s also been bouncing back and forth between Metz and Fromereville, not to say her brief stints in Paris and Frankfurt. Although her new job permits her to work from home, she’s still putting in anywhere between 7 to 9 hours a day, plus the few hours on weekends too, depending on how much needs to get done. As some readers may have also guessed, she’s stepped up her training this year, logging double the distance in her weekly mileage as she did this time last year.

Suddenly, the Turtle’s got to commit an extra ~10 hours a day to things she never did before, and still she’s only got 24 hours in a day. Between running, seeing the world, and doing a job she absolutely loves, her life is full to the eyeballs, and for that, she is grateful. It’s taken three long years to get it all together, which is why this weekend, she’s turning her attention back to someone who’s helped make it possible.

It’s taken time and a few loud and emotional conversations, but GodzillaPin’s finally adjusting to the new dynamics of the relationship (less home-baked cookies, slightly messier apartment, but a less anal-retentive Ninja Turtle who’s too tired to really give a damn about the small stuff anymore). Yes, with every change, no matter how positive and exciting, comes the need to adapt, and when one is in a relationship, these changes affect the other person too.

The run in the snow and ice last week led to a niggle in the Ninja Turtle’s right foot, so after 3 more training runs when the niggle made itself more and more apparent, the Turtle’s decided to take a whole week off training. Yup, ONE WHOLE WEEK of no running. No guilt for it either (hear that, buddy?) Why run a small problem into a big one, when taking a short break can avert a potential stress fracture or something worse? The Ninja Turtle learnt from her first marathon training, that if you insist on training through the pain, you eventually miss more important workouts. It’s a small compromise to make, missing the 28 miles in her cut-back week to run the 58 miles in the following build-up phase. At worst, she’ll lose a bit of fitness and gain a pound or two. At best, she’s not risking burn-out before the race.

Suddenly, with training out of the picture for a few days, she’s got TIME! And this weekend, she turned her gaze back to GodzillaPin, happy man. Saturday was spent shopping, eating, and strolling around town in the freezing cold, but the photo of the boathouse on the Moselle river made it totally worth it. They came home and made ground beef fajitas, guacamole, and a salad of corn, tomato and cucumbers for dinner, watched a really bad film, and fell asleep bitching to each other about how awful the movie was.

Sunday started with the most romantic gesture on GodzillaPin’s part – doing housework. OK to be fair, it was tidying up the basement a.k.a wine cellar, and they did it together, which made mucking in the dust actually kinda fun. Then, since it’s the first Sunday of the month (which means free entry to some museums in France), it was off to Nancy!

The Parc de la Pépinière was almost soulless in the dead of winter...

The Parc de la Pépinière was almost soulless in the dead of winter…

And yet, its emptiness just added a surreal charm to its beauty.

And yet, its emptiness just added a surreal charm to its beauty.

The museum they visited was the Musée des BeauxArts de Nancy, and they both agreed that it was by far their favourite Fine Arts museum among the many they’ve visited around Europe, and in their opinion, even better than the one in Dijon. The Ninja Turtle loved two things about this museum – the tableaux were enormous and added to the grandeur, AND the sequence of display started with the most recent art and moved back in time as one ascends the upper floors. Too often, museums start with antiquity, and by the time you reach the 18th century, you’re tired, need to pee, sit down and have a coffee, and you don’t care about anything that comes after Louis XIV.

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Then, it was off to a late lunch.

GodzillaPin (sporting his new 'stache) found a chic little bar for their "date"...

GodzillaPin (sporting his new ‘stache) found a chic little bar for their “date”…

It was supposed to be all romantic with flowers, candles and red wine...

It was supposed to be all romantic with flowers, candles and red wine…

But of course, a date is only as good as the food. So they ordered burgers. The Ninja Turtle's last burger was in Sydney with Sonic the Hedgehog on Melbourne Cup Day.

But of course, a date is only as good as the food. So they ordered burgers. The Ninja Turtle’s last burger was in Sydney with Sonic the Hedgehog on Melbourne Cup Day. She’s feeling more guilty about this than she is about missing her training, but damn, it was an awesome burger.

So that’s it, a weekend of investing some time and attention in the relationship. It’s a nice change from the routine of “how’s your day”, “we need to do our grocery shopping tomorrow”, “please lock the door behind you”, “don’t leave your clothes in a stinky pile on the floor we have a clothes basket for that” to hold hands and run in the snow, make silly remarks and crack stupid jokes, and indulge in the little pleasures of life like fine art and good (but oh so bad for you) food.

Do you feel guilty for missing a run, even if you’re sick or injured? Why?

Would you consider your partner a good friend too? How do you keep the flame strong in your relationship?

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7 thoughts on “Love and Life: The Great Balancing Act

  1. Mandy Maidment-Hodges says:

    LOVELY, JO. JUST LOVELY!! 😍

    Did I ever thank you for your beautiful Christmas card? And your kind thoughts about my dad? It’s hard to get used to him not being around, but I don’t have to physically visit him any more.
    However, the time I save not visiting him, is spent doing other things in relation to his estate!!

    Hopefully, I will have time to tell you more one day. Congratulations on your blog and working so hard on your relationship. Good luck with the job.

    By the way, WHAT IS YOUR NEW JOB?

    LOTS OF LOVE FROM Mandy

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. New job, travel, running, romantic dates and visits to fine art museums… amazing job fitting it all that in – sounds like you and GP have managed to get it all worked out. Kudos to that!

    My family would be lucky to squeeze in a third of that activity. Between work, running (or sewing in J’s case) and trying to figure out how to parent a bubbly little 2.5 year old, there’s precious little time for much else. Romance for us has to come in the form of whatever activities we can share, whether its playing with our son, going for a walk, doing household stuff, or even just a couple of minutes in front of the telly after the kid has gone to bed.

    Weekends are critical, and so we make the effort to spend the quality time we can’t afford during the week, and try to get outside and do the things we love, whether it’s a hike, bike ride or even just a shopping trip.

    On the running side, I don’t think I feel much guilt if any – it’s more that I really really love running.. Other than the fact that I need to be fit in order to do and see the things I want to, I don’t really care much about fitness. Enforced breaks from running, due to injury or whatever, feel more like cold turkey than a guilt trip. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, and good job on listening to your body!

    • Thanks man. 🙂 We are very lucky indeed to be where we are now, especially given the back story. Three years of unemployment due to not having the permission to work in the country (hence the running, but then again, sort of brought it on myself for leaving friends and family behind to move halfway across the world where I didn’t speak the language and knew nobody. We are only young and stupid once I guess, plus my impulsive nature to chase life’s adventures brought me as much joy as it did fear, heartache and loneliness, so no regrets.

      GodzillaPin and I have been through a lot, so it helps that we started off as, and are still friends beyond the romance. We sometimes take loved ones for granted, or have unrealistic expectations, so it’s a reality check when you realise you don’t always speak/treat your partner as nicely as your other friends.

      Kudos to YOU and your Missus; kids change the dynamics of relationships. We ain’t ready to be parents just yet (GP is a man child and I would make a terrible mother).

      • 3 years of unemployment, but sounds like you made them count regardless, which is cool. I’ve found that so far, the best experiences in life tend to involve some form of risk, and if shared with a friend can serve to strengthen bonds.

        Totally agree that friendship is a really good base for a romantic relationship. I met J when I was 15, on mIRC of all things. 7 years of platonic friendship, 6 years of dating and almost 6 years of marriage- and it just keeps getting better.

        Take your time with kids – No regrets here, and life is certainly better with E around, but there are some things you just can’t do once you have them, and that situation tends to be rather irreversible.

  3. What a charming post. Though I do hope your foot has healed fully.

    I remember coming home much earlier than usual from a Sunday run because I was tapering for a race in 6 days. It was a beautiful summer day and though part of me would have loved to enjoy a much longer run in that great weather, another greater part of me was reminded of all I do miss when I’m running full tilt. Like the beautiful walk in the park with D where we played on the swings before making lunch together and just being with one another.

    I totally get where you’re coming from 😃

    • I am better, thank you. =) Perhaps you could share with me how you show your partner love and gratitude for the patience to be with someone so committed to their sport? Training for ultramarathons must take a lot of time which you could otherwise be spending with D. How can we show that we still care, even if we’re out there on the road for hours?

      • Geez. You’re giving me far more credit than I deserve. I think D is a remarkably supportive and understanding man, which obviously helps quite a bit. It also helps that we’re each comfortable on our own.

        Aside from all that, both of us do a very good job in communicating with each other just how much we mean to each other and that is a wonderful blessing for sure.

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