Yesterday I ran in my third 5K of the year – more than I’ve ever done in one season. This one was unique in that it took place on the runway of the Greensboro airport – a place that most people never get to be on unless they are in a plane. Though it wasn’t my best run ever in terms of how I felt, I still managed to set a new personal record for finishing that distance event. And I felt good enough after I finished to take a Tai Chi class at my office which as very rewarding as well.
While both of these were positive achievements, unfortunately, the last few days have been filled with some emotional situations and challenges – both personally and professionally. There are a lot of things I could write about but for now I’ll focus on this: Today I had a drink as a response to stress and in hope of blocking out the overwhelming emotions I was feeling.
At the moment it is not important what the issues are – just that I hit a point where I said “Screw it.” I poured myself a small shot of Drambuie (over ice and shown above) and sipped it while I digested my dinner and an upsetting email. Not good.
Worse, the drink was not satisfying in any way and I did not enjoy it. So I was drinking only to numb myself. As a result, afterward (and even while having the drink) I felt guilty because I went against what I have been practicing for the last 3 months and let myself down. And for what?
Then as the evening wore on, I also felt that drink in my body – not the buzz or euphoria that come with drinking but instead my typical kidney pain – so it was not good on a physical level either.
After I finished my cocktail, Dave and I went to MUSEP – Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park – which is something of a summertime ritual with many of our friends. I was able to relax a little and enjoy a beautiful evening around some folks that I love dearly. Interestingly, a couple of people went out of their way to tell me how proud they were of me for quitting drinking– and even that they’d been reading my blog. I felt like I’d let them down too and was quick to tell them that I wasn’t perfect and that I’d had a drink or two here and there – including today. Funny, I actually felt like I had to justify it by saying I’d had a really tough day, blah blah blah. But it didn’t matter to them – they were all still proud of me for doing something so challenging, brave and introspective.
And then I thought about one of my insights I had after yesterday’s 5K race. As I was stretching after the race, I was going through a list of “Lessons Learned From Running” in my head. One of these was this: Setting a Goal – and Going After It – Is the Important Thing.
As I said, I set a new personal record yesterday. BUT…it was it not the goal I set so initially I was a little disappointed in how the race turned out. That being said, as I was cooling down I realized that if it were not for my initial goal of finishing in 33 minutes, I probably wouldn’t have pushed myself hard enough to finish in 33:58.
So even though I was not perfect in the execution of my 5K goal, I still did better in this event than I ever have before by having a goal. So in terms of not drinking, perhaps today felt like I lost some time in the race, but I’m still well ahead of where I would be without my goal of not drinking for a year. Besides the “race” isn’t over yet and I still have plenty of reasons to be proud of my efforts and achievements.
Thanks for being a part of my process and for supporting me through the successes and “failures” I’ve had with it. My true success is the growth I’ve had and the way (I’ve been told) my journey has helped other people to take a look at their own lives and habits differently. If my story helps even just one person to be happier and live a better life, then it’s worth it to me to share it.