Running on Sober

I'm not empty, just sober (and on extended hiatus)

“She Didn’t Know She Could Jump That High”

Her day started out just like any other. It even ended very much the same way. But something had happened in between. She was no longer the same person.

Something had happened to change her: a journey, a quest, a transformation; whatever it was, she was different. She was stronger, fiercer, more resilient. Somewhere along the way that day, she had lost something. The remnants of fear and anxiety and unease that had been fixtures in the deep pit of her stomach had vanished. She couldn’t tell you when it happened. Somewhere along the way, she had also gained something. Acceptance, compassion, contentment. She couldn’t tell you exactly when that happened either.

Maybe it was that morning as she dressed. She brushed her hair and took a long look at herself in the bathroom mirror. “By this time tomorrow, you will have a run a marathon,” she told herself with a half-smile.

Maybe it was at the start line when she stood with a mere handful of other runners, all a bit thinner than she with their long lean gazelle-like legs, all seemingly repeat marathon runners, laughing and joking with each other as she stood off to the side and just watched. She’d thought there would be more runners doing the marathon. Apparently, most had opted for the half-marathon or for the 5k. As the race announcer shouted, “on your mark, get set, GO!” the few marathon contenders shot off like Olympians, all except for one. Her. She started off with a slow jaunt, continuing to look all around her, as if she was taking snapshots in her mind to remember later, to capture each moment as it went by. She had already told herself that she may come in last place, she knew she wouldn’t be the fastest runner. When she cold no longer see the runners in front of her, she accepted that she probably would finish last.

“It doesn’t matter. You are running your race; not his race, not her race, your race.”

She felt calm, as a blanket of still serenity washed over her. She remembered the poem that only moments ago, she shared with her friends, “Winning is rising every time you fall. Get up and win that race.” No matter what happens that day, by simply crossing that start line and facing her fears head on, she would never ever be the same person again.

She had already won.


And win, I did, friends. I started strong and I finished strong, and I had many unforgettable and special moments in between.  I’ll share many of them as my body and mind continue to recover over the next couple of weeks. Sparing the nitty-gritty details, my legs were very sore yesterday, and today, though I am in wonderful spirits, my brain and body are just extremely tired and fatigued.

But in attempt to capture the magnitude and transformation of self, a little story…

My mom and I loved to listen to the David Wilcox song, “Johnny’s Camaro.” It’s actually more of a story set to guitar music, and it is brilliant. We would quote it and laugh over it when something happened that would remind us of a line from the song (and there are many such lines). The song is basically a story of transformation. A young girl changing, growing, leaving as one person, coming back as another.

At one point in my marathon, as I was crossing a major intersection at mile eighteen (of twenty-six), a Sheriff Deputy directing traffic gave me a thumbs up and a sly grin and said to me as I ran by, “I don’t know how you made it this far!”

I wasn’t sure what to make of that at the time, but I smiled and said, “I don’t know either!” and thanked him and kept on running.

It didn’t dawn on me until later the next day. I was thinking of the race and some of the signs and odd things that had happened (there were a lot!). I was thinking also about transformation and growth and the peace and confidence that comes with meeting a goal, how does one put that in words? “I feel content,” I wrote to a friend, “although that’s not quite the right word. It’s more that I feel like I don’t have to prove anything to myself anymore.” And that’s when it hit me, when I remembered the song that mom and I loved. One of its lines echoed in my mind, and I got goosebumps as I realized my Deputy was the same as Laura’s tour guide (in the song). “How’d you get up there?” A question from the song that mom and I would jokingly ask each other sometimes.

“She didn’t know she could jump that high.”

Ah. But I do now.

“Wired Down” Silver Bangle Cuff Bohemian Bracelet available at Minali-Jewelry

“I don’t know how you made it this far!”

I didn’t either. Ah, but, I do now.

Thank you for reminding me Mom.

I think I’ll go buy myself a silver bracelet this week.

Please listen to this song/story. I know you’ll love it. The live version is like an extended deluxe version, and even more brilliant at capturing that “transformation” that, that, “well you know”, than the original. But if you’re short on time, the original version HERE is the one Mom and I listened to; it’s brilliant too. It appears on David’s album “East Asheville Hardware” available on Amazon HERE. (As an aside, I think the album and a silver cuff bracelet would make a creative present for any female in your life that has overcome odds and transformed herself in some way.)

More marathon stories to come, my gratitude to you all for the support and encouragement. I hope today finds you well.


Categories: imported, Recovery & Life, Running

Tags: , , , , , ,

60 replies

  1. Beautiful in every way. Congrats! Enjoy your reward.🙂 xox me


  2. I’m amazed you are coherent enough to write such an amazing, inspirational post. I think I’d be flat in bed asking for my meals to be brought to me for a week (and I wouldn’t move a muscle). Just kidding. Congrats on your victory!


  3. Tears, tears!
    You sure as shit won that race!
    So happy for you, in awe, and inspired. I’m not a runner, so that won’t be my “jump that high” but I need one, I surely do.
    YEAH YOU!!!!!!!
    Now go soak those weary bones!


    • I have a feeling you’ve found your tree already Mish, the second you decided to reclaim your life. You just don’t realize yet how high up you really are, because you haven’t let go to allow yourself to swing yet. You can come down now.🙂



  4. You’re amazing. So awesome.


  5. You are very inspirational. The clear, open, upbeat and honest way in which you write, your energy and enthusiasm and positivity comes across really strongly and I’m so enjoying and appreciating your writing so thank you very much for sharing with us here. I do mean that. I wish I was feeling as upbeat and positive as you right now but I know it will come again. My marathon is a bloody Masters thesis and right now it is bogging me down so badly I feel sluggish and dumb, to be frank. But I will press on and keep on running (marathon analogy continuing on there). I also LOVE that bracelet and would buy it in a heartbeat if it wasn’t so expensive in another currency that would make it even more expensive for me and it would take forever to arrive… so I just went on a local crafty-website and bought a cheap but funky leather bracelet instead. Thanks for the inspiration! xxx


    • Aww thanks Mrs D. I remember you encouraging me at the very beginning of my blogging adventure- you’re just as appreciated now as then. 

      And you know what? A bloody Master’s thesis IS a marathon, just like all these crazy NaNo novel writers this month.🙂 you’re gonna have good days, and you’re gonna have those sludgy crappy days, but you’re gonna finish and be that stronger and smarter from the whole experience.

      Fortitude. That’s what it is. Fortitude. And you have it.

      (and good for you for getting a bracelet! I haven’t decided on this one; it’s gorgeous but not the most practical to wear daily. A simple silver bangle or even a leather corded wrap with silver accent or some gemstones would work too. I think something that catches and reflects the sun, that bright “Africa” sun, would just be perfect.)

      As someone reminded me, plan your work and work your plan Mrs D. You’ll rock it. xx


  6. So very proud and happy for you. I love the narrative at the beginning of this post and how the confidence built, just like in your song. Which was great, by the way. Love the deputy and how you made the connection…gave me goosebumps. Congratulations on your race and all that you gained.


    • That connection hit me like a ton of bricks (on my already sore duck legs). I looked up the song on YouTube and listened to this live version- I had never heard it before. My god I was crying and shaking like a, like a, like a, well you know… Somethings you just KNOW. This was one of them. And like Laura at the end of this live song, I’m just so grateful for the whole experience.


  7. And now you know.
    A great summation line for most of lifes big moments.

    Congratulations! And keep walking a little taller.


  8. Congrats to you! You should be very proud of yourself. Finishing is indeed winning.🙂


  9. Yay!!!!!! You so rocked this! What a wonderful journey and what a beautiful post. Oh…and what a winner you are!



  10. I am so proud of you – you are really an amazing person ~


  11. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. You are one powerful woman…oh yeah and I’ll add fierce! Can’t wait to read more. LJ.


    • Hell yeah, don’t forget that “fierce!”😉

      Thanks for the continued encouragement! I’m trying to enjoy this post-marathon-afterglow as long as possible before reality sets back in, hahaha.


  12. I never doubted for a moment that you would succeed in this race.. In effect it’s more than a foot race it’s reflective of your life race and you are a WINNER!!!


  13. Fantastic result on completing you marathon, the other week I walked over 27 miles in 6 hours, that was hard enough, but I could never run it, you are one brave and strong woman, keep it going.


  14. So when is your next marathon? Hahaha


  15. Christy, I am SO impressed that you did this! It’s really different from doing some one-time splashy, spectacular thing. This you planned and worked at, day after day, going farther, getting stronger, until you were ready. That’s determination and commitment, and it takes a strong, gutsy woman to do it. Huge congratulations on the journey and the finish!

    Love, Susan

    P.S. I’m sorry to say, when I saw the picture of the silver bracelet I thought it was a Slinky. Of course Slinkies are very cool.🙂


    • A slinky!!! How perfect is that?! AND you just saved me $90. Perfect!😀

      Seriously, that’s so kind of you. I really appreciate your thoughts. It was pretty cool to actually STICK with something that long instead of losing interest or moving on to the next shiny object that caught my ey…. Oooh SLINKY!

      All my love…


  16. Congratulations. What a wonderful post. Running a marathon is but one day of your life. But that feeling…that wonderful moment when you finished and completed your journey. May you hold onto that memory forever. You won. Again, congratulations.


    • Thank you so very much! That feeling…. yes! I wish I could bottle it up for everyone else to feel. That feeling of success, of not giving up, of fortitude… there’s no other feeling in the world like it.

      I’m so glad you commented, thank you!!!


  17. Congratulations! I know just what you mean.


  18. You are so amazing. And you put it into such beautiful words here. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! This should appear in Runner’s World Magazine. Seriously. Send it somewhere. What a story. I’m sharing this with all of my runner friends – you are an inspiration. I’m teary eyed.


    • Aw man, now I’m teary eyed again too! Those are very very Very kind words NM, thank you so much. I hadn’t even considered publishing, wow that’s really special coming from you, as I’m in such awe of your writing talent.

      Thanks for making my day my friend! ~ Christy


  19. Hey. Wow. I don’t really know what to say but at the same time feel like I could just incessantly say so much. The simplified version. Nice. Freaking. Job! I’m so glad to have read your bits of story. Truley touching and nicely written. I’m so looking forward to following more. This marathon was just the tip of the ice berg, I bet you a million bucks. Congrats so very much and keep kicking butt!


    • Woo-hoo!!! I’m fired up from your comment, thank you so much!!!

      I saw that you ran your first marathon last year, yay! So you know *that* feeling, don’t you? It was soooo rewarding and thrilling. I think I did get the marathon bug; would love to do another. My turtle legs will never get to to Boston, but I’ll certainly cheer for you every step of your way!🙂

      Thanks so much for dropping by and for the awesome kickass comment! You made my night!


  20. You are such an inspiration!


    • Awww thanks Al! I’m glad you think so. But as mushy as it sounds, I’m really fortunate to have amazing blogging friends who inspire me too when I need it, and often when I don’t even know I need it. I hope you’re having a great Sunday!


  21. Nice Song by David Wilcox. Thanks for sharing. I’ve seen David in concert and he’s quite good. He’s good enough to make his living with music which is awesome, yet he’s not big time, so you can get reasonably priced tickets to his show when he plays in the area. Thanks for sharing the extended version.

    I’m enjoying your blog, and I don’t enjoy blogs. So it’s a very good one. I found because of a recommendation of one of the Moderation Management participants who post on line (Mary Kay). I can relate to your posts because: I love music, have been a runner for 10 years until a knee injury ended blacktop days (24 half marathons 2 fulls), and I developed a drinking problem.

    Currently Moderation Management is working very well for me, but if it doesn’t I’ll be going completely abs like you, Mary Kay and many others. I hope to keep alcohol a small but enjoyable part of life. Moderation Management helps folks determine if they can do that. If they can’t abs it is.

    Thanks for your good posts and introspection. Excellent blog.



    • Hi Eeyore, thanks for the kind comment, sounds like we have a lot in common! That’s cool that MK referred you, I’ll be sure to thank her later.

      I thought it was awesome that you’d seen Kris, but I gotta tell you, now I’m just plain down right jealous. I’d LOVE to see Wilcox in concert! Your description of him was perfect- successful and living his dream, yet not so over the top to be outrageous in ticket prices or packed venues. I shared his song “Leave it Like it is” a couple months ago, I think it was in a post about my tendency toward perfectionism. (Looked it up HERE, and yep, that’s what it was about.) I’ve loved him for years.

      Interesting about Moderation Management. I’m glad it’s working well for you! I know most abs wish early on that they could moderate, but that was always my downfall and ultimately why I quit for good. I just couldn’t moderate no matter what, and it was frankly just easier (not easy, just easier) for me to give it totally up. I say whatever works for you though. If you ever want to bounce ideas around let me know and I can generate a post around it. (There was a great post about “Fake Beer” and if it was a good solution- lots of great comments on that one…)

      Nice to hear about your running background too. I’m sure I’ll be able to learn a lot from your experiences!
      Hope you have a great week, glad you dropped back by!


  22. Hey Christy,
    I’ve been lucky enough to see David twice – once in NJ and once in CA. If you really like he you should subscribe to his email list ( and get updates from when he might be playing in your area. Concerts are usually at small venues and tickets about $25 dollars. and he puts on a very good show (as the live video can attest).

    Moderation – vs. abs. Interesting even successful moderators who were problem drinkers (alcohol abusers vs. alcohol dependent) will admit that abs are often easier than moderation – because it takes the the thinking out of it – you just don’t drink. Counting drinks, timing them, counting abs days can be an issue for sure. Some at MM find success with moderation, others go perm abs and some just go away and we never know. In general the abusers are more successful than the dependents but individuals vary a lot. I’m glad you’ve found happiness with your program like Mary Kay.

    Running – well I don’t have much to share except that I did eventually take up the running walking method as I was getting older after reading about it from Jeff Galloway. I never did his intervals exactly, but his concept was that short walk breaks rest the body, uses different mechanics and can prevent lactic acid build up and fatigue. He says you can have a faster time even with the slow down. That proved to be right for me. I would run 9 minutes and walk 1 and that got my times down. Others just do the water break walk through, but then you’re at the mercy of the spacing. At the end when I was less fit I would run 4 walk 1. It’s actually very helpful for getting a negative split and you’d be amazed how many people you end up passing at the end. This was especially true in my marathons but also the halfs. So that’s something you might consider.

    Thanks for the blog




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