With all the problems my new house has, and some of the very frustrating developments at work which are making me feel like I could have done a far better job planning and practicing my job, I’m starting to feel like I wish I could just run away. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. This weekend I’m renting a car, and my girlfriend and I, and my friend Nancy, are going to get in a car and drive from ECC to Pittsburgh. There we’ll meet up with several other friends, and run in the Pittsburgh half-marathon.
I’ve done precious little training. But two weeks ago I did do a 10 mile run in a few minutes under 2 hours. Not fast. Not impressive. But steady. I was very tired at the end of it, but I wasn’t wrecked. In fact, BB and I even went walking afterwards and ended up doing another 4-5 miles I think, that day. So I have no doubt that I’m capable of pushing my body from one end of the course to the other. Whether I’ll run the whole way or not, I don’t know. It looks like a tough course, and 13.1 miles is a long way.
But I’m going to try. Here is where I put the principles of my program into practice in my other affairs. Three years ago, I could not run to the end of the next block from my home. A quarter-mile was my functional limit for running without stopping. Now, I’ve done more than ten straight miles. Sunday, I will try to do 13.1. I might make it. I might fail. But if I don’t I won’t have failed in the larger, important sense of it. Just being in a place to contemplate it is already a success from the perspective of life and health and sobriety.
Less than three years ago, I was 50 lbs overweight. Less than five years ago, I smoked a pack a day. Less than 7 years ago, I drank a bottle of liquor a day. Through working daily, one step at a time, making progress, I have let go of my vices and surrendered in my battle with alcohol. I relinquished nicotine. I remain addicted to these chemicals, but I am free of them. And through slowly increasing my exercise, first just walking. Then walking and running, periodically cross-training, I have come to a place where running for 2.5 hours straight is a real, if ambitious, possibility.
I might make it. But even if I don’t, I am full of wonder and gratitude and joy and life. And I will try again. Because it’s all about progress. Not perfection.