Pittsburgh Half Marathon: Complete!
Well, dear friends and readers, I did it. With the exception of a brief pee break at mile 2, I ran the entire half marathon from beginning to end. I finished in 2:38:05. Good enough for about 12,000th place. Or 750th or so among my sex/age group (Males, 35-39). My entire goal was to finish. I had no designs on time. I vaguely hoped to finish without having to stop running and walk. And I did. I set that goal for myself about a half year ago, if you recall. I wrote that this year I wanted to run a half-marathon without stopping to walk. Well, I did it. It’s done.
I was emotional at the beginning of the race. I teared up during the national anthem. I kept imagining breaking down and crying at the end of the race. Each time I saw the images in my head I would feel my eyes filling up. But when the time came, and I crossed the finish line, I didn’t feel like that. I didn’t feel especially elated either. Mostly, I felt tired and sore and my foot hurt. I felt happy. I felt privileged. My new partner ran every step of the way with me, even though she’s much faster than me and could have left me in the dust. We ran with three other friends from twitter (SciTriGrrl, Scicurious, and NParmalee), and stayed at Geeka’s house. It was fabulous.
I feel like people must be tired of reading about my gratitude. I fear that it may come off as insincere “humblebragging”. And you know what? I am damned proud of my accomplishments. I have done some things these past six and a half years. But I can’t take credit for all of it. Not even most of it. I am not sober by my own will or hand. The best I had, the best I could do, was drink and ruin and raze. By finding people who had quit drinking, and doing what they told me to do, and by working the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have managed to stay sober now for more than six years.
When I’m sober, I can do things that astonish me. But not just when I’m sober. Because I’m sober. If I had never been a drunk, I could not do many of the things that I do successfully today. I had no plan for living. Because I know that I have a disease lurking in the wings to kill me, I have learned to make (mostly) better use of my time; my efforts. I still have all the same miserable deficiencies I did when I was a drunk. I just also now have a plan for mitigating them. I usually do a halfway decent job of putting it into action. Not always.
I don’t fight alcoholism. I can’t. I lose every time I try. I fought cigarettes. I feel like I won. Though I know that that addiction, too, is just waiting for me to return to nurse. And I am fighting my tendency to obesity and diabetes. And so far, today, I feel like I’m doing a good job at it. I fight my laziness and my resignation. I try to recognize and accept the things about myself I can’t control. And I try to engage with and take agency in the things I can.
I’m doing reasonably well in life, all things considered. I can focus on negatives and challenges. AA helps me to step back and focus on positives and solutions. I am sober. I am sane. I am capable of running (well, jogging) for two hours and forty minutes in a row. At least, I was on May 4th, 2014. That’s good enough for me. For now. Who knows what the future holds. And compared with where I’ve been, it’s really something amazing to have a future.