“I’ll be happy if running and I can grow old together.”
– Haruki Murakami
A few years ago I took up running. Again. This time it took.
I use the word ‘run’ loosely because it’s more of an old lady mincing little steps run. Anyway, at some point my then 20 year old very fit daughter and I decided we’d run a half marathon.
I trained for months, which meant running longer distances and more often. I went from not running at all to running 3 miles three times per week to 5 miles four times per week., then upped my distance in the weeks leading up to the race, topping out at 8 miles. I was slow, but I felt fitter than I had in years. Oh, this was also about the time I found MM, so that helped tremendously.
So, race day comes. My daughter and I hung back with the slower folks, then I told her to take off and meet me at the finish line. Of course she had time to finish the race, read a book, and have a mani/pedi before I arrived. haha.
That last quarter mile was just amazing! A crowd of complete strangers was lined up, clapping and cheering me on. I was sagging with exhaustion, but got this huge burst of energy from a bunch of people who didn’t know me from Adam, but were waving and yelling encouragement for little old me!
By the way, my husband filmed my last few yards, and I was flying! My legs grabbed the pavement, my arms pumped with power, and I was a gazelle! Except I watched the film later. and I actually looked like an albatross trying to get in the air. Here is a video to give you an idea. Pretty funny, huh?
Anyway, the day after the race I took the day off from running. I had really pushed myself and my body, and a day off made sense. The next day I had a full schedule and decided that another day of rest was the way to go. The third day I just didn’t feel like it. Hey, I just ran a half marathon, baby, so I was entitled. I deserved a little time off. The fourth day after the race I lay in bed going through a litany of excuses in my head, and actually came up with some half decent ones. Still. I knew.
So I dragged my sorry behind out of bed, laced up my old shoes, and stepped outside. It wasn’t a long run, just enough to help my body and my brain remember why I had done that race to begin with.
Did I do it so I’d be fit once and for all and be done with it? We all know it doesn’t work that way. You can’t just run a half marathon one time and be fit for life. (Would that it were that easy.)
Nope, I ran that half marathon for two reasons. The first was to prove my own strength to myself. I was 62 years old, and I wanted to feel physically and mentally strong again, like I had when I was younger, knowing I could set myself a goal and reach it. The second reason was that the half marathon goal itself gave me the motivation to get up early, to set aside other activities, to make time in my schedule 4-5 times per week, and to push my body beyond it’s regular comfort zone. That’s where my real goal lay, in the strength and determination to not just get fit, but to change my habit to actually stay fit.
So, Dryuaryans, you see where I’m going with this, don’t you?
You have done it. You set yourself this goal of abstaining for the month of January, you struggled through the tough times, and you did it. This was your marathon. You proved to yourself that you could set a goal and work hard to attain it. You laced up those abstaining shoes even when you didn’t feel like it, when you wanted to quit. You are stronger than you were before this race both physically and mentally. Can you hear the crowd roar?
And now you get to take a day off if you want. Maybe two. You might even find yourself like I did, running through that old rolodex of excuses. But you know. You know why you ran this race. You know you can’t just take one month off from drinking, and then you’re fine to drink any old way and any old amount you want. Uh uh. Doesn’t work like that. You ran this race to get fit and stay fit with alcohol.
You don’t have to run a marathon every month, though there are plenty of people who do. Some people find abstaining so good that they choose to run back to back marathons all the time. Excellent way to go.
But many choose to return to 3-5 miles four or more days per week. You trained hard for this, you gave up some things to get here, you know the drill. The point is to hang on to your new strength and your new habit. Don’t let them slip away.
Post Submitted By: Horselover, MM Member