I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but JB’s been training at a mixed martial arts gym for several months now. He works with a trainer a few times a week and often comes home sporting black eyes or giant bruises from the sweaty man-on-man grappling they do on the mats, which is apparently totally heterosexual despite the fact that it often looks just like that tent scene in Brokeback Mountain.

He’s got his first official fight this weekend; a big event at his gym with lots of fighters and an actual paying audience and everything. It’s the culmination of weeks of hard training and I wish like hell I could be in the bleachers cheering him on. Unfortunately, this also happens to be the weekend of my half marathon, so while he’ll be stepping into the ring here in Seattle, I’ll be en route to New Orleans.

Talk about your crappy timing, right? It’s a bummer not only because we can’t be present at each other’s goal events—well, it wasn’t likely that JB was going to be able to be in New Orleans anyway, but I definitely would have been at his fight—but also since as the final days tick down before the weekend we can’t even really properly commiserate with each other.

JB: “Man, I’m stressed about the fight.”

Me: “Whatever. At least you don’t have to fly across the damn country to get to it.”

JB: “At least you won’t be on a stage.”

Me: “At least your fight won’t last, like, two and a half hours.”

JB: “At least you don’t have to just wait around for half the night beforehand.”

Me: “At least you don’t have to worry about a catastrophic gastrointestinal malfunction occurring at mile eight and you’ve still got 5.1 miles to go, motherfucker.”

Etc.

In all honesty I think JB’s got the harder task, if only because he has to make weight before the fight. He gets weighed on Friday morning and the scale has to read 145 or ELSE. He’s within spitting distance of that weight right now, thanks to a few weeks of extra vigilance, but these last few days are a big back of suck. No carbs, no starch, no salt, no snacks. I put him on the diet at the end of Jillian Michaels’ Making the Cut book, which features the world’s most depressing seven-day eating plan designed to cut any and all excess water weight. He’s basically allowed egg whites, plain chicken breast, and low-sodium tuna; meanwhile, I’m shoveling entire bags of salty popcorn in my fret-hole and wondering out loud through mouthfuls if I should eat spaghetti like all week to carb load or just augment my regular meals with, say, a steady influx of M&Ms.

A few years ago I don’t think either one of us would be able to believe the sorts of goals we have today. It feels amazing, really, to share these feelings—of having worked so hard, and aimed this high—with my partner and best friend. Whatever happens in that ring or on the race course this weekend, I know we have one thing in common: we are incredibly proud of one another.

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