Being Myself

For whatever reason I think I’ve been preoccupied with finding myself rather than being myself. Not sure if that makes sense. Maybe a better way of putting it is chasing myself?

Either way, read on if you’d like…

First, let me provide some background;
With the exception of a single beer that I allowed myself to have after an ok race in Fresno (http://www.runfresno.com/) I have been sober for 2 months, 1 week, and 3 days. I actually keep running over in my head almost daily if I should restart the counter because of that one beer but for my sanity I think I’d rather look at the bigger picture. I also keep wondering if I will get “back to drinking” again. Not to say it will be like before. Before was bad. Very very bad. Like full 12 packs, then to Fastrip for another 6 pack, then vodka (if I hadn’t already drank it on another day), then a bottle of shitty cheap cooking wine cause it’s after 2am and there is no more alcohol in the house type of bad. I fully understand that I can’t go “back to drinking” like that again. But in light of recent events, I wonder if I will go back to drinking in moderation in social situations, at family events, etc. I don’t even know if I’m capable of doing that. In my mind I’ve decided that I have to hold on til the end of the year. Just writing it down it sounds like a deal I’m making with myself for it to be ok again. It’s a scary thought but I’m pretty sure I can hold on for the time being

Outside of that aforementioned fog I can kinda see what I was doing. I was chasing myself. I was chasing the person I wanted to be. I know I’m not unique in this but I’m always seeing the shortcomings in myself. I am always staring at that person that is one step ahead of me that I could be. Drinking was definitely a way of escaping that for a bit and for a while it seemed to work but of course, it wears off and you find yourself chasing it over and over again.

I bring this up because I realized a commonality while out on my run this evening. I’ll try to describe as best as I can but of course, I’m not a great writer and know I won’t do it justice. Bear with me, it’s long and terrible.

I know I run because I love that it changes me. There is the obvious benefit of getting faster, stronger, leaner, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that this is part of the allure but I honestly love that it changes me in a different way. I’ve told Alyssa countless times and tried to explain to others but it can be hard to understand. When I go out I am always different when I return.  Running is allowing me that opportunity to be that better version of myself. Sometimes it’s a simple change (breakthrough pace, new fun trail/route, new people, etc.) but most often it’s imperceptible until I get back and realize where my mind took me while out there.

When you get to a point of focus (the familiar term is “the zone”) you brain kinda makes the world sharpen and fall away. I’ve wrote about it before in my old blog but I can still vividly remember the first time knowing I was there. I was running along Stockdale Hwy around rush hour but I couldn’t hear the traffic. In fact, I didn’t even notice the cars though I know they were there because when I came out of this state I was shocked at how I could have missed them. I remember only really having visual focus of myself and the 3 feet in front of me that I was constantly scanning and watching my feet hit the ground. What eventually caused me to break this was that I noticed a drip of sweat  bounce off my nose. I literally watched it’s entire path bouncing from my nose, falling in front of my body, hitting my left thigh and bouncing again to land on the ground. Time was moving insanely slow and it got me worried so  I sort of abruptly stopped. After the shock of seeing the cars again I noticed two things: I was breathing extremely hard and as I looked down at my Garmin watch I ran 3/4 of a mile that I couldn’t remember other than the monotonous ground and that bead of sweat.

At any rate, tonight’s experience was even stranger. I was coming south on Oak St, a spot where  I like running hard cause it’s very slightly downhill with a 1/2 mile stretch of dirt where I can really push and not worry too much about the pounding of the pavement on my legs. I was already moving quick as I got there but once I hit the dirt I sped up even more. It was then I could start feeling the familiar burning in my chest (racers know this as redlining). Once again, I was scanning the path in front of me when I got the weirdest image; I was pulling away from myself! Like there was two of me and I was running away from myself. When I noticed this I got a strong urge to catch up and picked up more speed. I was literally chasing myself! I landed awkwardly on a raised spot of dirt that I literally watched myself do in slow motion and that was that. I was out of it and suddenly realizing that I am breathing extremely hard and my heart is pounding.

The mind is weird and I do accept the possibility that in my lifetime I’ve drunk myself permanently stupid. I’ve definitely been preoccupied this thought of chasing myself rather than being myself so I’m sure that has much to do with tonight’s fevered runner illusion. But I can’t help but look at the clarity of the situation and how so many lines intersect at that one point; that I am trying so hard to to be rather than just be.

It is at this point that I would usually have a drink. Bummer.

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~ by gafoo on November 11, 2013.

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