I had intended for this post to be something radically other than what it is, which is as much testament to my unwillingness to just let things be as anything else. I thought I’d be announcing the successful completion of a marathon.
It’s 10:56 am on Sunday, March 20. I should be 4 hours into a marathon right now–and heading toward the end. Since I am not so talented as to be typing while running, clearly one of three things has occurred: I finished WAY faster than any one of us could imagine me having done, I started and did not finish (or, rather, finished unexpectedly early), or I didn’t start.
Good job if you picked door three for the reality of the situation on this lovely morning. I withdrew from the race on Saturday morning, when we got the phone call that G’s mom went into hospice care. I couldn’t risk being unavailable mentally, physically, etc. when the next call comes–and let us agree that marathons tend to take the wind out of the sails for a while. So, we wait. No call yet, but I’m sure we’ll be making the drive this week. I covet your thoughts and prayers on behalf of G and his family. While this is not a surprise by any means, it has the qualities of feeling so very sudden.
I’m disappointed, of course, even as much as I know that it was the right thing to do. For today, I’m practicing just being with my disappointment but not focusing on it. My attention is for G, who, you might imagine, is in far worse shape than mere disappointment. My legs and running brain, on the other hand, are just confused–trying to figure out why I am being so nice to them today.
I joked with G yesterday that HP* was trying to tell me to knock the marathon crap off, as this makes the third I’ve had to pull out of**–and only one of those three (the second time) was directly because of injury–and it wasn’t completely running related. But, when I reflect more carefully, I tend to get marathon-crazy–obsessed with them in ways that I don’t obsess over shorter races (even half marys) to the point of planning to run while injured in the case of the first cancellation. I finally withdrew because of unrelated-to-running factors, but I really shouldn’t have been considering the race at all since my foot was in far worse shape than I was then willing to admit. The second race went to the dogs, or, rather, a dog–specifically the pit bull that decided to use the beagle and I as chew toys. Three factors conspired: the rabies vaccinations wiped me out for a month, I was (and still am) nervous about running in the dark because of the attack, and my drinking was getting worse. Did I acknowledge the last of these at the time–no, not really, and I wonder if maybe HP didn’t put a dog in my way to force me to stand down and quit trying to avoid the obvious (it was in my head at the time that if I could train for and run a marathon and drink then I didn’t really have a problem. Laughter is perfectly acceptable). And now this. I detoxed twice during the training for this marathon, so I can’t really say my training was…optimal. Unlike the Seattle mary, I was not 100% sure I could finish this time (though, some of that was the staying-in-my-own-headspace problem–letting the descriptions of the course get to me). But, I was prepared and excited.
I’m not so deluded as to believe that the events of the weekend are about me, and I was mostly joking about HP (mostly), but, hey, even I can take a Mack-truck-size hint. I am probably guilty of storytelling at this point–that is, constructing a story to make sense of a reality I simply need to shut up and exist in–but, delusions and humor aside, again being forced to stop trying to be in control and to overdo it, which is absolutely a hallmark of my addict-brain, makes me think there is something I need to pay heed to. That marathon training, having three times now been associated with some kind of attempt to get and/or stay sober (and, in the fourth case, prove sobriety was unnecessary), may not be so good for me at present. I use it in delusional and unhealthy ways–rather than running for the sake of running, I involve myself in an intense training that allows me to shut out other duties and reality itself (or, rather, to pretend that I can do that). So, perhaps no more marathon training for a while; let my head get healthy with the steps of the program instead of my body getting healthy with the steps of the training (not that I’ll stop running. That would be stupid). I seem to be able to get to and complete half-marys and shorter, so I may stick to them. They are certainly more humane for all involved.
*Er, Higher Power, not Harry Potter, for those unfamiliar with my silly abbreviations.
**I did go to Atlanta, wander the expo, and pick up my shirt, though. Damn thing is YELLOW, which should make me immensely visible as I take a jog this afternoon. Seriously, I feel like an Easter egg in this thing.