... and Bill Wilson retreat.
I originally signed up for this race because they give out cool belt buckles for medals. And because I seem unable to not sign up for races. Winter is racing season in Texas; and marthoners come out in all their glory. Many of the same faces are there every week. Yup- as many marathons as physically possible.
Logistically, everything went well. I made it out of and back into Houston despite rain and closed freeways. Traffic is the most important topic in Houston; avoiding it that is. I encountered no traffic in Fort Worth, but traffic is an important topic there too. I expected it to be a bigger race; only about 300 were entered in the marathon.
Logistically, everything associated with the race itself went perfect. Nice aid stations. Easy packet pickup. Plenty of parking at the start.
My hotel was nice too. Nothing broken. The air conditioning was quiet.
So I get into Fort Worth and my hotel. I have with me a new book: "My Name is Bill." A biography of Bill Wilson, the co-founder of AA. Very interesting details about Bill; his family background, his life hurdles and finally the AA years. It was interesting to me to see how Bill's personal emotional problems fit in to the writing of the 12 steps. then it was interesting to me to see how my own emotional problems fit in with that frame work. I have of course been working the steps for 30 years, but this gave me a fresh perspective on how I feel about it.
And then, since I'd get tired of laying on the bed and reading, I'd get up and pace back and forth in the hotel room reading pages 62-63 of the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous out loud to myself and refreshing my memorization; which pages are about selfishness and self centeredness and turning your life over to your Creator.
I haven't drank for 30 years. I don't really remember what alcoholic craving was like. I do remember succumbing to it. I remember buying alcohol day after day. I remember trying to hide the gin from myself on the top shelf of my pantry. I remember that when I felt too drunk, I'd put my finger down my throat to throw up.... and then drink some more.
It was good to take the time out to think about all this.
Then on Sunday, I was up before the alarm to go to the marathon. I was there early so I continued to read my book in the car. At 30 min before the race, I got in line at the porta-potties. Then got back in the car; it was a tiny bit chilly. Just before the start, I got out of the car, walked about 50 feet to the start and shivered for about 10 min. Then we were off.
The course for this race is almost all on bike path; so traffic was not a worry. I ran 100% for the first 8.5 miles at about 11 min per mile pace. Then I started running 7 min and walking 1 min for the rest of the race. I got to talk to several people along the way and greet a some I hadn't seen for awhile.
I spent a good deal of time noticing the difference in how my body feels when I am doing a fast marathon vs a slow ultra marathon. I had the option of pushing myself at the end of the marathon because I had a certain end point. With a 24 hour race, I'm always conserving because I don't know how long I'll keep it up. Also, I get less blisters with a running marathon than I do with walking an ultra (an issue I don't know how to solve). I am extremely pleased with my 5:04 time. It averages out to about 11:45 per mile. I'm happy with that because I train much easier than I race.
The belt buckle looks cool. Unfortunately, it is not properly designed to be used as a belt buckle. Rats! I really wanted a marathon belt buckle to wear. Now I have two that can't be worn.
Any results from all my AA pondering? Well, I did real well with a personality issue at work today. That is progress. I'll take it. Concentrating on turning my life over to a higher power and remembering that "of myself I am nothing" always works to make my relationships better. For that I am grateful; and I did thank whatever higher power there is as I drove home today.
I'll post pictures when they come out.