The Day Wolfie Ran A Marathon

7 Apr

Now I’m further away from my last drink, what ‘the wolfie voice’ means to me is slightly different. He’s no longer telling me to neck wine, but operates in more subtle ways, eroding my self esteem with his negative chatter.

One place I thought I was free of negative self talk was running. My running club friends call me ‘smiler’ because no matter how hard the race or bad the weather, I’m always beaming as I run. Not yesterday. 

This wasn’t my first marathon, but it was certainly my toughest. 

Before Christmas, I’d completed a marathon with a PB I was REALLY proud of and came into this race feeling strong and confident. Surely, all the training plus not drinking for 3 months would mean I could achieve a similar time?

The city I was running in was bathed in glorious sunshine, and I was really excited as the crowds danced to the pre-race music. I had my power playlist ready, checked my sobriety counter and felt a little swell of pride as the pack of runners moved off.

The first 10k was hot, crowded and a little too fast for my liking, so I stopped to take an energy gel and douse myself in cold water. From that moment on, the wolfie voice was in my head the whole race: ‘Look how hard you’re finding this, LAST time you ran a marathon you had the remnants of a 2 day hangover. Sobriety’s not working out so well for you eh?’ (WHAT THE ACTUAL F**K?!) and more general negativity: ‘You’re so weak, so tired, what a failure…’ etc etc

Having 20 miles of that sort of head noise is soul destroying. A fair few tears were shed on the course as I contemplated dropping out. I knew all my running friends were at home checking the race app to follow my split times every 5k and my ego was severely bruised. Should I fake injury and drop out?

All I could turn over in my head between miles 18 and 19 was whether this was a horrific enough experience to warrant a drink. Again, madness. I knew I wouldn’t, but I tortured myself with that thought over and over again. 

Some lessons must have been learnt on that course, with wolfie running along beside me, whispering his venom. What those lessons are right now, I’m not sure. I’ve been upset and irritable all day, but I’m trying to remember that completing a marathon is a huge achievement whether it takes you 3 hours or 5 hours and that it’s a privilege to run at all.

Tonight involves a bath, clean sheets and an early night to reward myself for getting through.

Happy Monday lovely sober bloggers!

26 Responses to “The Day Wolfie Ran A Marathon”

  1. Birdo April 7, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    congratulations on another step (or 26000 steps!) against the wolf! ? You rock!

    • FitFatFood April 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

      Hhahah it felt like 26 million steps when I was out there. Thanks so much x

  2. lucy2610 April 7, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    Running ONE marathon is a lifetime achievement for most. Running TWO is exceptional FFF and as a person who has run one I am hugely proud of you. In all honesty I’m not sure I could run another one – I could physically, but psychologically, I’m not so sure and I’m fairly certain the same stuff would have been running (haha!) through my head too. Big hugs and see you for the 10K Smiler 🙂 xx

    • FitFatFood April 7, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

      Thanks Lucy! Psychologically it is brutal and maybe I should give myself credit for that. 10k is much more pleasant 🙂

      • lucy2610 April 7, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

        You absolutely should! What you achieved is massive whether you beat your PB or not 🙂 xx

  3. Shame Doesn't Define Me April 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    Great job on the marathon!! I’ve never run one, but I sure admire those who do. One thing I am learning in sobriety is that Wolfie will eek in anywhere we don’t plug up or cleanse out. Try to think back to when your mind was clear, you were feeling good about you and your thoughts were positive. See then, if you can target what was going on when he jumped in with the negative self talk. Maybe that moment will hold the key to why he was powerful. Did something trigger you? Were you running past a bar? An advertisement for alcohol? Something even more subtle than that? I have found if I can walk myself back to pre-trigger and mentally relive the good moment up to the time when things started to fall apart, I can identify my role in how and why it happened. This is not a way to blame yourself! It’s merely a tool to help you plan better for the future so life can be smoother.
    Good luck to you! And congrats again on your marathon.

    • FitFatFood April 7, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

      It was the comparison between how I felt this time and last, and last time I was still drinking a lot. Thanks for this comment- a lot to reflect on. I really appreciate it z

  4. Binki (sobernoodles) April 7, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

    Huge achievement and thank you for inspiring us! I know exactly what you are saying about that chattering voice, it seems like it will never go away sometimes, but strength in numbers eh xxx

  5. primrosep April 7, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    a marathon is a great achievement so well done you! and am sorry you felt under attack during it but it is an emotional and psychologically tough time as Lucy says. and we are really experiencing our emotions fully for perhaps the first time in years, so everything IS more intense. have a good night’s sleep in those clean sheets! xx

    • FitFatFood April 7, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

      Thanks oh wise and lovely primrose 🙂

      • Sober Second Half April 8, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

        I agree 100% with primrose when she says that we are “experiencing our emotions fully for perhaps the first time in years.” During the past three months I have found myself in tears over situations that happened–no exaggeration–25 years ago. I remember that I didn’t cry at the time of the situations, rather I had bottled up those tears and then tried to forget about them by drinking countless bottles of red wine over two DECADES. Flipping crazy. So, you were disappointed with your performance during the marathon… that’s a negative emotion that Wolfie is going to pounce on and use to manipulate you for sure. I’m so glad you made it through! In addition to being a double marathoner (I mean, WOW!), you came out of that marathon wiser to Wolfie’s ways and you should be very proud of yourself!

  6. One day at a time April 7, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

    Don’t beat yourself up about it. You did a fantastic job. You are a far stronger person than you give yourself credit for – mentally & physically. You are doing amazingly well and don’t you forget it x

    • FitFatFood April 7, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

      Thank you- will try to remember this when the voice pipes up!

  7. soberlearning April 7, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    Running a marathon is an amazing accomplishment. Finishing a marathon with negative voices in your head is even bigger. You fought the wolf and you won. It is representative of your life right now. You are fighting and winning. Wolfie was testing your resolve, and you kicked him back to the curb.
    You ran 26 miles, you have a medal, you have the aches and pains, you beat the Wolf, life is awesome, you are hitting home runs all over the place!
    Check another sober challenge off your list, have a lovely bath, enjoy your fresh sheets, and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
    FFF score 1- Wolfie 0!

    • FitFatFood April 7, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

      OH WOW- I just got a bit teary reading this. Thank you thank you thank you.

  8. carrieonsober April 7, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    The thing about Wolfie is he doesn’t care who, when, where he attacks! He can take the good out of super important stuff, he can try and worm his way back into our lives and catch us when we are vulnerable. And whilst you are being a super- hero-style-sober-rock-star, with your new home, huge career move, try and remember that adding regular marathon running to all of that, in early sobriety, is going to make for the odd wobble in confidence. I’m in awe of how much you are achieving, but please don’t be so tough on yourself. You are fighting for your recovery all the while too, and you are fucking winning that race!!
    I know it’s shit when your times are not the one’s you deserve but you are doing all of this and in early recovery too. So, those guys at the running club might not know what a fucking superstar you are for that, but I do. And more importantly, hopefully, you do!!
    Well done xxxxx

    • FitFatFood April 7, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

      CARRIE! Thanks so much.

      You’re right.

      When I stand back, there is a helluva lot going on, you’re so right. And I can’t expect to be the best sober me every day. Yesterday I wasn’t the fastest, but I took on a big challenge and maybe thats enough 🙂 No, I KNOW it’s enough.

  9. Debbie April 7, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

    All I can say is – wow 🙂 You are amazing. #1 – entering in a marathon; #2 – running a marathon; and #3 – finishing it even while feeling totally pummeled by wolfie. You are my hero! You deserve the best night’s sleep EVER 🙂

  10. thirstystill April 8, 2014 at 12:11 am #

    Well done you for finishing! Running a marathon is a huge thing to do, and doing it in misery is amazing. I find that since I quit drinking, I hear my own self-critical voices a lot more than I used to. I think it’s just part of the work of quitting, getting at the trouble behind the trouble, if that makes any sense at all. Anyway, you rock for finishing the blasted run and for keeping on doing so well through all your challenges! Hooray you!!! xo

  11. amy April 8, 2014 at 4:07 am #

    i’ve had the same experience. kicking ass on a race in drinking days and slogging it out AF when i thought i’d take it down! similar experience with quitting smoking – thought i’d knock 40 mins off marathon time or some such – not to be – yet! but just wait. great job out there!!

  12. Chris H April 8, 2014 at 5:35 am #

    You ran a marathon. You are awesome.

  13. nomorewine4me April 8, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    Even 40 years ago I couldn’t have done what you just did. Enjoy, you are amazing.

  14. floridaamosAmy Yanni April 28, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    Hiya, just chanced upon this. I’m an experienced marathoner (over 130) and newbie sober person (less than a year). In fact, I decided to try sobriety on the eve of a marathon. Have run a few more since.
    That wolfie voice is one I call my “Id voice” (as in Ego, Superego and) and she is always wanting to natter on about s*%t at the worse times, e.g., in marathons, if I walk thru a water stop, she starts in telling me how much more comfy that is and why don’t we just walk the rest of the way? I’ve run Boston 8 times and I’m not interested in walking a marathon, so you see how persistent and bossy she can be.
    While sobriety is wonderful and I can’t believe it took me so very long to wise up to that being so, I know I don’t have to tell you it doesn’t resolve all of life’s difficulties. I could kill wolfie for crashing your marathon; really, that was so not necessary. You sound like a committed runner and you obviously trained well for this last one or you wouldn’t have been feeling strong and confident. I have had similar experiences (and I’ve also run decent marathons while hungover, life is not fair, right?). Some days you just don’t “feel it” is all I can say to describe the unpredictable variables that occur on race day.
    The tough ones you finish, however, are the ones you learn from AND they are the ones that end up, oddly enough, giving you confidence down the literal and figurative road. You made it. You finished. You didn’t drink. You even wrote about it and admitted to having quitter feelings. You faced this all with courage and honesty. Rather publically, as a matter of fact, i.e., in your blog.
    As time goes on, you will, I believe, come to see this particular marathon as one that tested your mettle as never before. You will come to be proud of that, and that you passed any and all tests. You explored your thoughts, both on the course and then in the aftermath. You examined your feelings. You cried. You finished. You finished, even with wolfie hanging around your neck and shouting in your ear for at least four hours, I would guess. Heck of burden to be toting for 26.2 miles.
    That makes you a beast, in every great running sense; you bested wolfie at his own game. And in my book, that’s an AG award performance as well as a Boston Qualifier. Congrats.

    • FitFatFood April 28, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

      WHAT AN AMAZING COMMENT. Thank you- I think you’re right! Really appreciate such a kind and wise comment- look forward to hearing more about your own journey x x

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