Just about every couple can relate to the importance of keeping romance alive after having a family. For most mums and dads, this means a standing date night at a restaurant with a glass of wine and a fancy meal.
But for marketing Jamie Krauss Hess, 37, a lifestyle public relations exec, and her husband George Hess, 57, the CEO of a music marketing and promotions company, going to dinner wasn't enough to help them reconnect after Jamie gave birth to their son in 2015. “Everybody would always say, 'Don't forget to have date night!' but we would come home dissatisfied,” she said. “We realised what we really missed as a couple was pursuing our hobbies.”
In other words, they missed running. Before having Mason, 2, the pair would spend their days training with the New York Flyers, racing in marathons or running sprints at Barry's Bootcamp.
“We used to have all of the time in the world to go to Barry's or run around the reservoir in Central Park,” said Jamie. “But having a baby kind of threw life on its head a little bit. We couldn't do it anymore. I mean, we could do it but we couldn't do it together. So we decided to flip the script.”
Rather than hiring a “date night” sitter, the couple started searching for caregivers willing to work at dawn. “I have a big Excel document so I always have somebody on call,” said Jamie. “We try to map out our week on Sunday night as well as our workouts. If you leave it up to chance, you might as well say you're not doing it. If we don't have time to work out together that week, hiring a babysitter is 100 percent worth it.”
The pair dropped 4.5 kilograms immediately. But, more important than their physical transformation, was their emotional transformation. "It made us feel empowered,” Jamie said. "When you're a new parent, you become a bit of a slave to your new responsibilities and it can feel a bit overwhelming. This was our outlet to reclaim the joy we had together as a couple before we had Mason."
Not only has the couple's unconventional approach to “date night” helped revive their marriage, it's also helped spread the word about running through their Instagram and YouTube channel NYCfitfam. “My mum Joan Lunden did Good Morning America for 20 years and her platform was always inspiring people to live their healthiest lives,” said Jamie. “I grew up taking that message to heart. I just wanted to follow in her footsteps.”
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These days, the fitness-loving New Yorkers can once again be found hitting their stride at Central Park, crossing the finish line at races or running sprints at Barry's Bootcamp. “Running together has strengthened our marriage so much,” said Jamie. “We'll pick a cool city and travel there for a race. We did the Amsterdam Marathon. We ran along the Mediterranean Sea in Ibiza. George just did a nine-miler in the French Alps. Running has allowed us to see some of the most beautiful places on our own two feet. They're some of our most special memories together.”
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This article originally appeared on Runner's World.