Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Post Race

This photo is from the race start yesterday morning.  It was a gorgeous morning.  It was a fabulous race.  I had never done a trail race before, so I had woken up at 2 a.m. with a sudden fear.  How do these things sneak into your brain while you are sleeping?  I never understand that.  Anyway, I realized we would be on single track for most of the race.  I had a thought of myself on one of the high ledges, falling and breaking a bone... being unable to continue, but worse than that, unable to move.  Obstructing the whole trail.  Causing emergency vehicles to have to get into this place that is virtually inaccessible.  Ruining the race for everyone!  It took an hour for me to get over this and get back to sleep.

I didn't fall, I didn't break anything, I didn't obstruct the trail.  It was a beautiful day.  I am so glad I did this race.  Even though my friend and I did come in last in the half marathon.  I knew that would happen since this is a serious race... there are only real runners there.  And then there was me.  And although I love the big races with the old, slow, and fat people, because they are a lot more like me than my mind allows me to realize, and usually at least a couple of them will finish after me - it was awesome to be at a race that was an adventure!

At our meeting we have a man who has returned after a long absence - he is sober - but he has taken to interrupting people and telling them to wrap it up if they aren't talking about alcoholism.  I wondered how often I talk about alcoholism in meetings.  How often do I talk about alcoholism specifically here? Probably not very often.

But Being Sober, now, that is a whole different topic.  And that is what I like to talk about.  So, in case you need me to draw the parallel (which I know most of you don't), here it is.

When I drank, I ran most mornings.  I ran a whole lot better than I do now.  I was always gonna run this race or that race.  I was always talking about it.  But somehow I never got around to filling out a registration form and sending in some money.  I never got to experience a race morning because I never followed through with much of anything.

When I was nearing 3 years of sobriety, I decided to participate in my first race.  It was the 1987 Bolder Boulder 10K.  I bought running shoes and a little running outfit to train in.  I trained for the race.  I registered for it.  And on race day, I showed up and ran.  I ran it with a cigarette and matches in the pocket of my little running shorts, but I ran it.   As the runners finish the race, they run into Folsom Stadium at CU Boulder... there are people all around cheering.  When I ran into that stadium on that day in 1987, I wept for joy.  I knew those people weren't necessarily cheering for me - but they were cheering for me, because I was one of 30,000 people who had laced up their shoes that morning and gotten out and run.  I had become someone who actually did things instead of just talking about them.

Slowly, slowly, slowly, life changes if you just don't pick up a drink - one day at a time.  God can get to work on us if we let him.  I am so incredibly grateful for what he has given to me and taken away from me in my life.

11 comments:

Syd said...

So glad that the race went well. You are awesome to do it whether you are last or not. You are first in my mind for doing what you do--showing up for life.

wendy said...

Glad to hear you had a good time at the race yesterday.

this is my life right now...
"When I drank, I ran most mornings. I ran a whole lot better than I do now."

I'm just past my 4th anniversary and I'd like to run a half marathon in about 10 weeks, guess I'll take it one day at a time, see how my legs respond to long distance running.

Mary LA said...

That is such a lovely photo. I have also found I am now somebody who does things rather than just talking about them.

Ms Jones said...

Ms Mary,
I am certainly not the runner you are, but my first 5k at 1 year sober and I experienced the same thing. While the cheers I heard crossing the finish line were people that didn't know me or my running partner, I knew. I knew that I had stepped out into a new world. A healthy and enjoyable one. That hasn't changed. While I have stuck to the 5k's, I had knee surgery in June so my new and improved knee may very well be happy in a few weeks at one of our breast cancer runs, here locally.
God Bless!!!!

Villa Veritas said...

It's great that you're succeeding in your addiction recovery and have been able to effect positive change in your life. Your story helps to underscore the immense importance of taking responsibility of one's own life instead of indulging in deference and escapism--as you put it, actually showing up for the race is often more important than than winning or placing or well.

dAAve said...

I love Being Sober. And everything that it entails. Except running.

Jeremy said...

That is a beautiful story and a beautiful and if you'd shared that in one of the meetings I go to, there would have been some tears.

I love the evolution of HOW do I live without drinking to how do I LIVE without drinking, what can I explore, what can I show up for know that the chains have been loosened?

shadowlands said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lou said...

Extreme sports!! Love it...

Patty said...

I am incredibly grateful for this lovely post today. Thank you Mary.

Steve E said...

In over 3 years I do not remember reading a post of yours which was not about--or at least had clear reference to--alcoholism and/or recovery.

I've not stuck to that scheme, but am grateful for, and admire you who do.