I had a big win this weekend—my longest distance run since breaking my foot on April 2nd. Prior to that injury, a 10K would have been considered a medium distance run for me, but having to halt all training for 10 weeks set me back big time both physically and mentally. This Saturday, though, through the mean streets (not really) of Petaluma, CA, I ran just over 6.2 miles on my climb back. It felt great and I was beaming all day.

I needed help from two important resources to reach that milestone. First off, I needed a doctor to help me during the recovery process to make sure my foot healed properly. For that, I am grateful for Dr. Pao at ONS. Once healed, though, I needed a coach to help me build up my endurance (and confidence). For the latter I used the Nike Run Club app, which has amazing training programs for runners of all abilities (and Coach Bennett’s enthusiasm and quirky sense of humor are just perfect for yours truly).

Coaches, of course, play an important role in helping athletes improve at their sport and/or reach specific goals, but coaches can help us in other parts of life as well. I recently sat down with author and influencer Ashleigh Renard to discuss her new workbook Keeping in Hot, which is designed to help couples reignite their physical relationship. Don’t be fooled by the title, though—most of her book focuses around identifying what your needs are, how to communicate them to your partner, and how the two of you can build the emotional intimacy required to fuel life-changing, over the top, toe-curling physical intimacy. I’m so happy my mother doesn’t read this blog.

I was in Petaluma this past weekend participating in a coaches retreat for PIVOT, an organization that has a process designed to coach people through all types of relationship issues (including the relationship one has with oneself). While I’m not a PIVOT coach, I did attend a five-day men’s intensive retreat which I can best describe as life-changing. The process helped me understand sources of emotional pain and frustration in various parts of my life, uncover my various parts of self and their associated survival patterns, and gave me the tools to have better conversations with the important people in my life.

The founder, Lori-Jean Glass, called me a few weeks back and asked if I’d consider coming back to PIVOT as a special guest and serve as the entertainment for a team dinner, as she knew stand-up is one of my hobbies. I readily agreed and they invited me to stay for the weekend to participate in their worksessions. 

All of these observations came to a head when I remember an interaction I had with a young couple earlier in the week. On wednesday night, the evening before the coaches retreat was to begin, I went out to a bar in Petaluma that was hosting a trivia night. I was flying solo, but a couple in their mid-30s—let’s call them Frank and Lola— asked if I’d join their team as, apparently, I looked like someone who is good at trivia (I totally am). Throughout the course of the game, these two lovebirds all over each other—kissing, groping, dancing…I’d make a joke about how sick it made me feel, but the truth is, it was actually nice to see. When Lola went to the bathroom I asked Frank how long they’d known each other for and it turns out they had been dating for 9 months. I asked him what their secret was and Frank told me it was the second time around for both of them as their first marriages ended in divorce and they agreed that life was too short not to enjoy all it has to offer (and what’s more enjoyable than romantic love?).

Now I didn’t probe into the history of their respective divorces, but it did get me wondering why I don’t see more long-term married couples engaging in that kind of playful behavior. Is it because the spark is gone (Ashleigh’s book can help them get it back) or because they have a hard time communicating their needs to each other (Hello PIVOT!). Regardless, people don’t need to wait for “the second time around” to have fun and fulfilling relationships—maybe they just need a little coaching. I might chew on that some more during this week’s long run (8 miles—Hello Eminem!).