So, the numbers. What are they? It is 12 days until my next half marathon. It is 39 days until my full marathon (yes, 26.2 miles). And there is another half marathon in 25 days that I might do - it is a semi-ultra - complete with three river crossings. Right through the river. Not on a bridge... but actually in the water. That's what I am nervous about - getting my feet wet and then getting blisters. The blisters I got in my last race, over three weeks ago, which got infected and I took an entire course of antibiotics to heal, are still not healed. I do not need more blisters. I was assured that if I took the proper measures I would not get blisters. I will see.
I was supposed to run 8 miles today. I am still absolutely whipped from all the hiking I did over the weekend, so I am going to have to defer till tomorrow. Eight miles is pretty hard to do in the morning before work. It takes a lot of time. And now it doesn't even get light until 6:30.
When I was a young drinking woman, I saw a movie on television - it was probably in 1979. I probably downed a six pack of beer while watching it. It starred Joanne Woodward, as a woman who determined that she would run the Boston Marathon. She had no idea how to train and people laughed at her for even trying. But she ran and ran and ran. The worst piece of advice she got (see? I still remember this 31 years later...) was that if she could do half of the distance in training, she would be able to do the whole race. She suffered terribly, but she did finish. I was so inspired by that movie, I started running. Not much. A mile and then two and then three. I wanted to be in a race. But I was a drunk. I never got around to actually registering for a race.
In 1981, I was 29 years old, and was up to 5 miles a day. I would get a babysitter in the morning to watch the kids while I went out in my grey sweats and ran. I was quite fit. In December, I woke up one morning in pain. It got worse and worse. My husband had lost his job a month or so prior, so we didn't have insurance - or any money. After a couple of days of pain, I was delirious and ready to die. My husband insisted that I see a doctor. The doctor thought I had pelvic inflammatory disease and prescribed me painkillers. I went home and took painkillers and slept and was still ready to die. After another day or two, my husband insisted that I go back to the doctor. I was barely able to walk at this point. After forever in this medical building, they finally told me to go to the hospital. At the hospital they had no clue what to do with me. Finally a surgeon decided to open me up from two inches above my navel to the pubic bone. He discovered a ruptured appendix. I was left with a very large scar and a huge medical bill (which I paid in full, every cent). It took ten days to get the infection to clear up and get me out of the hospital.
My point? After the surgery, I told the surgeon I was a runner. "That may have been the reason you are still alive." He told me I was likely within an hour of death. Imagine that.
So, today I am still running. I have taken years off, but I always seem to return to it. I really love it. Right now it feels like a bit of a burden. Marathon training is really difficult - who knew? But I am thrilled, in a very grateful way.
- I am 58 years old and able to register to run a half-marathon on the spur of the moment if I feel like it
- I am a sober woman which makes it possible to do just about anything
- Because I know I am sober and healthy by the Grace of God, I don't take my running and these races too personally - the credit for things well done, or the blame for disasters.
- Living is way better than the slow process of dying that drinking alcoholically is.
Thanks for caring enough to read this long thing...