42.2 K Serving Of Humble Pie. Pass The Seconds.

Early morning reflections before the mayhem began

I promise this to be my last running post for a while.

Or maybe not.  I am apt to change my mind often, being a flawed human being an all.  You know, that thing.

I ran my first ever marathon yesterday.  Many folks have asked me how it went or how it felt, and even a day removed from it, I am still unsure how to answer.  In many, many ways, it was fantastic.  The weather was a bit chilly, the crowds were awesome, the route fairly flat and the organizers did a stand up job.  It was just that pesky thing of running 26.2 miles. In one shot.

My goals were simple:

1) Stay alive

2) Don’t let the blind, obese man pass me.

3) Try and sneak in under five hours.

Now, I can say that I successfully stayed with the first and last goal.  Nothing I can do about the middle one.  Not my monkey, not my circus.  (Okay, it didn’t really happen, but I did struggle to pass an elderly lady power walking. Take that, Aunt Irene!)

I finished in 4:52:30.  Long time to be running.  A long time.  Could have watched half of Dexter Season 2 in that time, or one-and-half Lord of the Rings movies.  The winner had already been crowned, interviewed, whisked to his hotel, bathed, massaged and on the way to airport by the time I stumbled past the final time mat.

Now outside of the expected physical mutiny my body demonstrated, there was a lot going on in this race.  25,000 runners ran this year.  It took about 15 minutes just to get us cattle out of the corrals and past the starting gate.  And once it started, I found myself becoming more and more of a lunatic.  Emotionally speaking, that is.  Imagine grabbing the colours of most major emotions and smooshing them into a Play-Doh type pancake, where the hues bleed into one another and turn to a beige-y mess.  That was me.

I started at the gate with teary eyes.  Thought of the sacrifices I and my family had made so that I could train and to be there.  Ravaged my mind with some of the things that I had been when I was an active drinker.  Thought of the things that have come to pass since.  Felt the cold winds down University Ave. clearing my mind of negative feelings.  Felt the presence of Now more than I had in a long time.  There was a singularity of being one amongst many.  And yet being part of and not apart from.  A sort of paradox.

What, me worry?

I thought of my dad, whose cancer had come back.  How I dedicated the race to him, he a runner himself for decades.  Who had never run a marathon, but raced many other distances.  I felt a calmness come over me and then settled in.

I won’t go blow-by-blow about the run.  It was hard.  But I went through cycles of joy, sadness, gratitude, jealousy, envy and elation.  I went through funks of ennui.  I went to dark places of giving up, of ripping off my bib and taking a taxi back home.  I went to the nooks and crannies of my old ways of thinking – negative, unfocused, comparing myself to others.  Those thoughts would be offset by some “Holy crap I’m doing this” and the kind affections of the tens of thousands of people watching along the route.  The little girl handing out cut up bananas.  The old man standing on his own with bottles of his own water even though there were countless water stations.  Funny hand made signs and several entertainment areas pumping out live music.

But the most difficult journey was not on the pavement, but within.  This was, for me, all about ego strippin’ and not ego trippin’.  I found myself judging the looks of other runners at some points – hey that guy looks like a homeless dude.  She’s overweight.  He’s got a weird way of running.  And these were people who were almost an HOUR ahead of me.  How dare I judge!  I caught myself and would chastise and even laugh to myself.  I found myself struggling with those who I felt should be way behind me.  Embarrassing to admit, but that’s my truth.

I also found myself both in awe and in envy of the well-formed and well-honed runners that passed me going the other way.  I didn’t know their stories, and so who was I to cast them in roles that they probably wouldn’t want to be cast in? Hero, egomaniac, princess. But I thought “perhaps one day, Pauly”.  Perhaps.  So here it comes up again – comparing myself.  I saw people I know on social media just killing it out there.  I found myself jealous of them, and yet, happy for them.  It was a precarious balance.  Near the end, as I struggled mightily to finish, I pictured myself not talking to anyone after the race.  I pictured myself hiding under a rock.  I pictured myself taking my ball and going home.  I didn’t want to feel that perhaps I didn’t measure up in some way.

This was where it got ugly for me. Never mind “Construction” – this was “Destruction”. Ugh.

And that one of the reasons I drank.  To cover up that feeling of not measuring up. To sabotage myself?  “Hey – if you think I’m a screw up now, watch this.” type of thinking.  I saw all of them – the happy, fast runners and then me.  The bridge troll taking up the rear.  I didn’t want to commiserate with them.  I wanted to stay the lone wolf and recoup in my cave, resentful and wanting.  But I realized that I had a choice.  I could do that, be miserable and cut off from what little ties I had to the running community, or I could just take it as is.  Get ego out of the way and let it be.  Just be content in what I did and leave it at that.

Ego – it always comes down to that for me.  What did I expect?  To run under four hours?  To light the place on fire?  Those runners I both admired and lightly vilified have trained very hard for many years.  Some are naturals.  Some are built for running.  Period.  To compare myself to them is folly.  Old habit.  I don’t win.  I had to see that this wasn’t a challenge against anyone else except myself.  I have a hard time with that still, but I am hanging my hat on that right now.

Like recovery, this road had twists and turns, times where I wanted to give up, times where the wind was against me, times where others helped me along.  But unlike recovery, this had a finish line.  In recovery, we trudge the road of happy destiny.  There is no finish line – the path is the destination.  Just being on it and pushing through is a victory in many ways.  And we keep at it, regardless of external and internal circumstances.

My desperate tweet near the end. Yes, I had time to tweet. That’s how dead I was. Judge me.

I decided to stay positive.  I clapped back when people clapped encouragement.  I encouraged others to keep going.  I smiled at volunteers, thanked everyone I could and gave high fives.  I chose to stay connected, when everything in me wanted to shrink back and play small and hollow.  And this is still new to me.  It was like watching another dude doing that.

Sure I have my dreams.  I would love to qualify for Boston one day (I would have to run over one-and-a-half hours quicker than my time yesterday).  It could be two or three years from now, it could be ten years, it may never be in the cards for me.  All I can do is my simple best – put forth a noble effort and leave the outcome to Creator. I am looking for a coach now and want to take it a bit more seriously.  I liked my 42.2 kilometers of humble pie, in a strange way. Sloppy but satisfying. It had a cleansing tone to it.  But in the end, I have to see it for what it is.  I am doing my best within my means.  Any sort of expectations only ramps up resentments.

Today is a rest day.  I am having a hard time sitting still, but doing my best to chill and stay in the moment.  My mind is at some sort of rest too.  I just found out that my dad’s cancer hasn’t reached his lungs, so we have that in our corner.  There are still surgeries to be performed, but we know it will be alright.

I ran a race.  It was a new experience for me.  But in the grand scheme of things, it’s not much compared to the journeys many other people are on right now.  Like my dad’s. Or those still struggling with addiction.

Perspective is a grand thing, ain’t it?

Bling bling

P.S The only two people I ran into before the race were two guys – one is a champion runner and also an addict in recovery who I know from social media (and we plan to have coffee soon) and the other was one of my counsellors in treatment.  Funny that they were the only two I met.  Coincidence?

79 Comments Add yours

  1. You know as well as I do there are no such things as coincidences…
    Great job on the run. The symbolism is fantastic. But just as the physical pain can take over, the mind can bounce us back to a better place. Way to dig deep, finish and enjoy (??) doing so. That took guts and you did it.
    I guess the 5k my sil wants me to run with her this weekend isn’t such a big deal after all. Well done, Paul.

    1. thanks Linda – and I did enjoy it. I really did. The more distance I have from it, the more my perspective shifts ever so slightly. And that 5K? That’s a distance, my friend. A year ago I would have killed to run that distance in one go! Good luck with that run!


  2. Congratulations Paul! All of that training, all of those months culminated in a fantastic run! Good for you! I am impressed, no matter what the time of the race is, you are still doing better than anyone sitting on their couch.
    Tweeting and running, you crack me up. #runchat
    Wear that medal proudly.
    Your deserve it.

    1. Thank you SL…yeah, I kept my phone off the entire time. I was walking for about 2 min and wanted to take a pic. Then thought, what the hell, throw a tweet out while phone was on. Ha ha.

      I will enjoy the spoils for a bit (I ate like a PIG today…lol)

      Hope you are well, my friend 🙂


  3. lucy2610 says:

    Awesome job Paul 🙂 You beat my time! 😉 And yeah what’s with the tweeting at the end? I couldn’t see straight let alone use a mobile phone and move at the same time lol xx

    1. Thanks Lucy! I could barely move a muscle…except my two thumbs…lol. Have you run lately? Did I know you ran – have we had that discussion ??

      1. lucy2610 says:

        Hey Paul – I think we’ve touched on it briefly in the past. I haven’t run in an organised race for a few months – run 3 times a week for fitness & endorphin buzz 🙂 Did the London in 2011 and had a time of 5:12 xx

        1. wow! You did London?! that’s awesome!! That’s one of the top marathons ain’t it? You’re my hero 🙂

          You would have done well here – it’s pretty flat, this course. And 5:12 isn’t far off my time. We would have been near one another;)

  4. sherryd32148 says:

    First – so happy to hear about your dad. He can beat this. I’ll be praying.

    Second, and I don’t know how to say this because I am CERTAINLY not a runner so please take it in the spirit in which it is intended. I am so proud of you!!!! Not just for completing the race but for the way you completed it. With a soul-searching purpose that is inspiring. You didn’t “just run”. You used this race and all the training that went into it to prepare not only your body and mind but your soul for this life altering event. You’re such an amazing man and I am proud to know you.

    You’re my hero dude.

    Bravo and rock on.


    1. Damn you Sherry for getting me emotional with that. Thank you. I know my dad will be fine. I can feel it. Thanks for the prayers.

      You are very kind with your comments. I do enjoy the running and now feel more balanced with it in my life. I think it’s just the beginning. or not. LOL. I have learned to let go of what is to come or not come. I certainly would like to do more. Who knows if something else will capture my imagination? I hope so, but have all of this in balance. Recovery first, everything else follows suit 🙂

      Glad to know you too, my friend. Blessed to have you as a friend.


  5. AM says:

    Congratulations Paul, that is one hell of an achievement!
    And sending my thoughts and prayers to your dad.
    All the best,

    1. Thank you AM. I can’t tell you how much those thoughts and prayers are 🙂


  6. ainsobriety says:

    Yeah you. Lots of thinking in that marathon. I guess that’s what just under 5 hours gives you.

    Motivating and inspiring. Thank you!

    1. Thank you A. I laughed at the idea that 5 hours was the “gift” to me…ha ha. Tried to block out some of the thinking – had my headphones on for all but the last mile. Wanted to soak in the crowd noise 🙂

      Thanks for being here!


  7. mishedup says:

    just awesome.

    1. Thanks M…appreciate the sentiments 🙂

  8. byebyebeer says:

    Way to go, Paul! So happy for your accomplishment, but even more for your perspective and love how you broke down the wide range of emotions and thoughts you had. As for comparing, I would be happy to have your pace for an upcoming 10k, a mere fraction of a marathon. I’ve been at this awhile to know I’m not a natural runner, but find thrill in getting outside and doing it anyway. Perspective is such a blessing, indeed. The moments where I’ve lost it sound an awful lot like that destruction zone you described.

    I’m sorry to hear about your father, and hope he gets more of that promising news.

    1. thanks Kristen! I too am not a natural born runner. I just don’t think I have what it takes. And that’s okay. I just want to do the best I can, I suppose. The elites and very good runners looked like gazelles out there…lol. I watched a video (albeit a short one) of me running and I resemble a pregnant yak…ha ha. I laugh…why not?

      10K is nothing to sneeze at. As I mentioned to Linda in an earlier comment – the “shorter” distances are ones that I would have killed to do when i started out. I couldn’t understand running 5 or 10K, let alone longer. I am actually thinking that perhaps I should run more 5 and 10K races. Easier on the body and I don’t use up a whole day for it!!

      And thanks for well wishes. My dad will be fine, methinks. I am not stressed about it, especially now that the cancer is contained.


  9. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Congratulations on the race, what a wonderful accomplishment physically and emotionally.

    I know you wrote before about exercise possibly become a new addiction, to take the place of drinking without realizing it, so I am glad you have finally gotten more perspective on that. The constantly measuring up thing, I definitely can relate to as well. Thank you for the thoughts and inspiration today ❤

    1. Thank you, J. And you are right, I have been able to find a bit more perspective on this for sure. it feels all balanced out now. I love the running, but it doesn’t demand all my attention. I do it when I do it. And then I move on. Ah to have had that balance in my life before! Was never a reality.

      I understand what you say about how you relate to the measuring up. We all do it in our ways, don’t we? I was even doing that with the fit(ter) bodies I saw during the race! You know what I mean.

      Anyway, thanks for being here. You always light up my day when I see your avi 🙂


  10. Wahooo! Welcome to the marathoner club! Congratulations!!!

    I totally got clocked by a blind runner too. Running a marathon is hard — it’s the mental aspect that is most difficult for me. It’s humbling but it also is much like the work of sobriety.

    As for coaches, I highly recommend McMillan Running. I use one of their coaches, and she’s helped me with more than just the physical training.

    1. Yay! I was hoping you would catch this post!
      And yes – it’s damn hard! The mental part has always been troubling for me, especially on my long runs, but I have been caught off guard on shorter or mid runs by the negative chatter in my head.

      Doesn’t matter if I have music on or whatever – my mind trumps it all. I run alone – no clubs, etc. so I wonder sometimes if running with others helps. I am gun shy when it comes to social scenes, and I don’t think I can talk while running! So we’ll see.

      As for the coach, I have had a few people (like you graciously) give me recommendations. I imagine a “live” coach, but it seems that many if not most coaches coach online. I am going to investigate further. I am no rush, and if the cost if prohibitive, I may just skip it. Frankly, I didn’t “train” as much as I just ran a lot. You know? No hill work, no intervals, etc. (I was worried about my Achilles acting up again).

      Anyway, thanks again for the response!! And yeah, I am going to update some of my bios – “marathoner”!



  11. Well done. It’s a great accomplishment. Next, on to whatever makes you happy. 🙂

    1. Thank you Jake – nice to see you here on the blog! I am used to you out on Twitter 🙂

      Blessings and thank you. I always enjoy your kind words.


  12. Running From the Booze says:

    WoooHooooo!!! Congratulations Paul!

    *wayne and garth not worthy salute*

    1. Ha ha…thank you for that. Muchly appreciated.

      Hope you’re doing well 🙂


      1. Running From the Booze says:

        All is well here. 🙂

  13. jrj1701 says:

    Sounds like the run was a good experience for you, you finished. Good show, and congrats.

    1. thanks JR! Hope all is well in your corner of the universe 🙂

      1. jrj1701 says:

        BTW what is your dad’s name so I can add him to my Church’s prayer list?

        1. Joe. Thank you so much, kind sir. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it 🙂

  14. Congratulations, Paul! What an accomplishment. And another thoughtful and beautiful post. That feeling of not measuring up? Oh, my, yes, I know that one. I can see it so clearly in just about everything I’ve done, my whole life. I am hoping that really working the Steps will heal me to the point that I only do it about 57% of the time.

    1. 57%…lol.

      Working the steps first time around (and working them now again) showed me just how prevalent this character defect of mine has been. A big one. Still likes to pop up (Steps 6 and 7 come into play here for allowing me to be willing to be relieved of my shortcoming and humbly asking Him to remove them). Catching it early on helps me. Also getting deeper into why I feel I don’t measure up brings me more clarity.

      For me, fear of not measuring up gets into fear of not being seen, which gets into fear of being rejected, and the fear of rejection brings me the fear that I will somehow die. Dramatic, but there is in the end, ego’s fear of death which ultimately begets other fears. Pride is in the mix too – I don’t measure up so that means others won’t like me, or that I will be seen as weak, etc.

      Lots that plays into it for me. Letting go of the facades is my challenge and just accepting myself. Accepting me as God sees me and created me. When I judge His work, I am trying to play God myself…ya see?

      Anyway – I am rambling, but your comments gave me pause for reflection here 🙂


  15. I think you may have inspired me to tackle a 26.2. Good job man, finisher (marathon) and a quitter (booze).

    1. Thanks Bob! (Nice to see you here on the blog – used to seeing you on the Twitter!). Many people in the blogging community here inspired me to start running in the first place (through osmosis and their great stories) so maybe this is just passing it along? 🙂

      Thank you

  16. DB says:

    Strong work!!! weird I was an amazing long distance runner…won a lot of races in my time. Not sure why the love was lost. I ran before I drank..Maybe I should return to it. p.s. I am doing well.
    My son -in -law was at my home visiting, (he is in the army), he wanted to do a bit of training up and down my driveway,, well I participated.. let’s just say the young man was impressed..once a runner, always a runner.. Keep running and please keep writing…

    1. Well, look at that! I loved that I learned something about you 🙂 A distance runner! And sounds like you still got it. Would you try to go at it again? Just for fun? not racing per se, but just to get the legs back on the pavement? I am excited to hear either way!

      Glad you’re well and I look forward in hearing more from you about this!


  17. runningonsober says:

    Way to go Paul! Do you have any idea how many people would love to have your finish time? Add another hour to your time and that would be me. So stop with the calling yourself slow, because you make everyone slower than you sound decrepit. :p like when Twiggy calls herself fat. Dear god what does that make me?

    So yeah we get in that comparison game, but never forget there are those out there comparing theirselves to you.

    All the head games, the doubt, the crowds….yes! You did it. You are a rockstar. Though I am kicking you out of the turtle club.

    Use this time to celebrate and relish in your success. Don’t be in such a hurry to dismiss and move on. What you accomplished is huge. Bask in it. Enjoy it. Run for the joy of it.


    (Sorry about your dad. Mine too. It’s hard. Running helps.)

    1. Hey Christy – thanks for responding!

      I have a hard time in the basking, but I will do my best. Thanks for the encouraging words. I am looking forward to my next run where I don’t have my Garmin, my fuel belts, etc. with me, just my shoes and the fresh air. No pace to keep, no splits, none of that stuff. I just have to wait for my knees to give me the word 😉

      I am shopping for a coach now. Gonna try to improve!

      Anyway, congrats on your FP (again?!) and so bank in THAT 🙂


      1. runningonsober says:

        Meeting a goal sure is nice, but sometimes having no goal is even nicer. Enjoy those upcoming shoes-only runs. They’re the best!

        Thanks 🙂 basking, lol, yes it’s nice. Nicest really though to “share” my mom with others. Makes me happy.

        Have a good recovery Paul!

  18. I know I said this, but dammit, I’m saying it again anyway. So unbelievably proud to “know” you, and for realsies, you inspire me!

    Also, beautiful post!

    Also, completely awesome podcast, I listened to it yesterday!

    1. Thanks Josie! Glad we’re on the same team 🙂

      You inspire me just as much, my friend. Can’t imagine not knowing you!

      And thanks for listening to podcast…Chris and Jeff are great guys.


  19. Congratulations, Paul!! As you outlined your emotions and thoughts, it felt like I was running right there with you. The roller coaster is amazing isn’t it? You captured it all so perfectly and my eyes welled right up with understanding. It makes me long to do another one, this time with a better attitude! Interestingly enough, my attitude was better on my first marathon when I ran it a good 30 minutes slower than my second. You have reminded me why people put themselves through the pain and agony. Thank you for sharing…I feel so bad that I almost missed it! I would have been twitter bombing you had I realized!
    I’ll not miss your NEXT one! xo

    1. oh cool – you’ve run more than one? You’re my hero, Michelle. I should have asked you more questions 😉

      I certainly learned a lot about things on this one. Mentally, it’s brutal. Mental toughness is not one of my fortes, to be honest. I am an easy giver-upper, but this was good to break through, as I was able to get past the negative self-talk and actually pull through. I can use this when my mind tends to want to drag me into something easier and softer.

      it was fun, and the more time I have away from this, the more content I am with it. (I wish I could post my finish line picture here in the comments, but it’s on my twitter feed – it’s gotten a lot of reactions!)

      Thanks for being here, Michelle – so glad you made it here!


      1. Ohhh! I must go look at your picture. What an accomplishment. As you tend to be, you are way too hard on yourself. “Mental toughness not a forte””
        What?? Mental toughness means going on despite the negative self talk that can stop you in your tracks. You obviously went on and soaked everything in, learned lessons while your ever-present gratitude broke through. That’s got mental toughness written all over it! xo

  20. Phoenix says:

    I like your running posts! 🙂 They are written very well: engaging, moving, funny, interesting… and you managed to tweet during a run! 🙂 Score!

    1. Thanks Pheonix…I had time to tweet that once because I was down and out for a short spell! My wife thought it means 2 minutes as opposed to 2 miles as she panicked to get into the line up at the end! lol.

      Thanks for the kind words and for being here!


  21. sillymelove says:

    WOW awesome job! I run 2 miles every mornig and I can’t imagine going more than that!!! I hope you got yourself a foot massage! or better yet a full body massage! My motto is: It’s not about being the best, it’s about being better than you were yesterday…. so maybe your next marathon will qualify you for Boston 🙂

    Sorry to hear of your dads cancer… prayers!

    1. I hear ya on the 2 miles. I started with the couch-to-5K program where I would run a minute, then walk a minute and a half, etc. for 15 min. then that was it. I slowly built that up over a few months. I was envious of those who could run 2-3 miles in one go! But doing it every day like you is fantastic. Consistency like that is not in my vocabulary! Congrats for that!

      And your motto is something I am understanding more and more. I am already coach shopping so that I can improve myself!

      Cheers and blessings

  22. mike says:

    4:52:30 the first time out and only recently picked up competitive running? Poor dear. Let me get out the worlds smallest violin.

  23. Bea says:

    I really relished reading this, fella. God bless. Keep on running, in every way possible. Makes me happy. Fanbloodytastic x

    1. Thanks Bea – will do. Glad you’re here 🙂


  24. nonotesnotes says:

    Congratulations, and thanks, you gave me a fair bit to think over…. I can totally relate to that “drinking to cover up being a screw-up”. I think that was half the reason I ever drank… It’d give me an excuse too, if I did/said something dumb.
    You know what though? When I’m sober I do less dumb stuff, and when I do I know it’s me, and I’m learning to accept that. It’s better the alternative (I drunk too much AND I’m dumb).

    Maybe I will start running, a marathon has always been on my bucket list but I’ve never run more than very very occasionally.

    1. thanks for this – and I too can relate to what you’re saying. When I am sober, I can still do dumb things – I am human. But the difference now is that I can learn from those moments rather than just chalk it up to my drunkneness and sit in guilt. We are human, and that is something I have to remind myself of still 🙂

      Running is great – glad I took it up!

  25. jeffstroud says:


    Running is a form of meditation. You can clearing see that in your self dialogue, as with meditation it is staying the moment, recognizing the voices but letting them pass.
    I know nothing of running, expect running away. Which is not what you are doing here. You I believe have come face to face with who you were to who you are, and who you wish to become.

    Congratulations a job well done.

    1. Hi Jeff – you are right. I have referred to running as my moving meditation. Helps when I actually turn off the headphones when I do it though!

      Thank you for the wise words – seems to be a running to rather than a running from. A new change for me 🙂


  26. JJ says:

    I love University Ave., what a great road for a run. Well done, a magnificent effort of training and perseverance!

    Not mere coincidence you meeting the two people–but Jungian synchronicity.

    1. thanks JJ – University is quite roomy 🙂

      Jungian synchronicity? I love that. I am gonna read more about that NOW. Thanks 🙂


  27. stacilys says:

    Wow Paul. Congratulation on your first marathon. My hat’s off to you. I run a bit, almost daily (at least during the weekdays), but it’s not my forte. I could never do a marathon.
    Well, you certainly had a plethora of thoughts, emotions and introspection during these almost five hours, didn’t you. You have quite the mind my friend. Love it
    “Imagine grabbing the colours of most major emotions and smooshing them into a Play-Doh type pancake, where the hues bleed into one another and turn to a beige-y mess.”
    –This one here I can imagine very well. My daughter really likes play-doh and does this often.
    I’m rootin for ya Paul. I want to see you in Boston.

    1. You’re too much, Staci. Wish I had friends like you out here. We’d be yapping incessantly. But I’ll take the online form for now. I know lots of folks run for fun and fitness and don’t worry about time and pace and all that. They approach it the way some people approach making dinner or cleaning – something we do as needed and perhaps with a little flair (ok, maybe not the cleaning…but the cooking yes!). Perhaps it’s that part of me that has to tackle something full on to have some meaning. Or I just like it (don’t overthink Paul…lol)

      Anyway, thanks for being you – spectacular you!


    2. stacilys says:

      Awwww, this made me smile. I feel so special now. Yea, I’d love to yap incessantly with ya. I’m sure we could definitely down a few pots of java in one sitting too 🙂
      “Perhaps it’s that part of me that has to tackle something full on to have some meaning.”
      –I’m like that too. I used to be all or nothing. Still am actually to a certain extent. Like after I moved to Brazil, I was already translating speeches and classes after five months. My hubby think I have a real gift in learning languages, but I just think it was an attitude of discipline and constant study. Also, the whole fitness thing. I’m obsessed. I used to work out incessantly, and that would be after giving physical conditioning classes all afternoon. I could go on and on, but then if I did, I would end up writing a book. And this is your blog, not mine 😉
      Thanks for being you too Paul. You’re the spectacular one.
      p.s. btw, so sorry to hear about the horrible event there on Parliament Hill. I used to work just a few streets over from there when I lived in Ottawa.

  28. Nice read paul. I say I have no hobbies; I collect second careers. I ran for health early in my sobriety and then I trained for and ran two marathons – Ottawa and Toronto. That was 20 years ago and the only thing that has toned down my progressing to triathlons was an HIV diagnosis whereby my doctor urged me to take it easy. Why couldn’t I just run for pleasure? It’s hard now to stay at it because I don’t have a frightening goal ahead of me.

    I was playing guitar, it relaxed me and then compulsively learned everything I could about songwriting, wrote dozens and dozens, recorded five, got so enmeshed in the indie music scene that for 10 years I’ve hosted a radio show every week devoted to other indie artists. It has crushing demands on my time and energy but it’s hard to do anything – healthy or otherwise, with balance. Maybe I am better at it, a decade in, but I still have a day job and of course, my recovery to manage and I have more unfinished projects than I want to admit.

    You’re a great writer Paul. thanks for sharing; I identified quite a bit.

    1. Hey Joe! Oh my, I was reading your response and thought – wow, I am like that in so many ways…when I get into something, I GET INTO something. And wow, you even upped the ante on how I go about it! I can relate to not running for pleasure – I need a goal. Same as I can’t pleasure skate. I need a puck, a team and a goalie to beat. And it has to be a battle to the DEATH…ha ha. I do have my pleasure runs – like the one I had yesterday. But on the flip side, I am already getting a coach and already am planning NEW GOALS. (Sorry for all the caps in this response, just one of those days).

      Balance – oy vey. I have written about it many times and it’s a struggle today, in general, to keep that perspective and practice of just being able to do something for no other reason than its intrinsic value as opposed to a means to an end. Tough.

      You have an interesting CV…ha ha. Glad we crossed paths, kind sir.

      I hope you are well 🙂


  29. Paul says:

    Awesome achievement Paul. Congratulations. I too am proud of what you have accomplished. I wish your Dad the best and hope he gets well. As a cancer survivor, I know some of the trials he faces. He will need your strength.

    1. Thank You Paul – means a lot to hear that from you. On all accounts 🙂


  30. Love it all, Paul. Such a well done narrative. PROUD of you! Love the opening goals (stay alive!) and moving (literally and otherwise) tribute to dad. You replayed what we all do on our own journey. If we compare ourselves to others, we’ll RuN the pendulum swing between the judging and the envy. A victory you won in your perseverance – not only for yourself but for your dad and us.

    1. Thank you, Diana. I am glad that you had a chance to read it and find something in there that transcends a simple run. I do have that tendency to compare (dreadful habit of mine) and you are right – it drags me here and there and everywhere and end up a muddy mess.

      I hope you are having a wonderful weekend 🙂


  31. mike says:

    Have you ever heard said in meetings:
    “Try to identify and not compare”


  32. hurthealer says:

    Congratulations! I have so much admiration for you- it’s not just that you ran the marathon, it’s all the training beforehand to get you in there in the first place. You don’t run a marathon in under 5 hours without commitment and a huge amount of inner strength. You’ve buckets of both Paul.
    As I read through this, the comment that stood out the most was ‘I chose to stay connected.’ That’s a great attitude. Keep connected.

    Fabulous read as always! 🙂

    1. thank you Carolyn for this. I appreciate the kind words and that you were able to relate at the connection level. I am so glad that we have connected 🙂

      P.S Love the new look of your site!

  33. Erika says:

    PAUL!!! Congratulations! Running that distance and finishing in one piece is damn admirable! I seem to come back to your blog in key moments haha. Seriously, 42k is a big deal!!! I loved the post because I laughed so hard at the beginning but ended it knowing how wise you are. Oh the comparing, we all do it, I am glad I am not the only one haha.
    I nominated you for a Liebster award on my blog, so if you want to, you can participate!
    Sending you lots of love and peace, dear friend.

  34. I’m very late in congratulating you so congratulations! What an amazing experience! Sometime a run is a run and sometimes it’s so much more. I’m sorry for what your dad is facing, too. Blessings to you both!

    1. I am even later in getting back to you, Karen! Thanks for the kind words!!

  35. Craig says:

    WOW! What can I say, you did it. A huge congratulations and I tip my hat to you. A marathon is no easy task. And I feel a bit bad for not posting sooner. I have your blogspot bookmarked now, I look forward to many other blogs. I actually wrote my first ever blog for my employer about #stwm, with the intent to inspire others. I wasn’t looking for a thank you, or a pat on the back, but I got all of it, but all I was just hoping for peeps would be able to take something from it. If you would like to read it, I would have no problems passing it along.

    Maybe we can tackle ATB in 2015, happy training, and happy thoughts.

    I hope all is well with you and your dad.

    Cheers friend!!!

    1. Hi Craig – sorry about the delay in getting back to you!! I am glad to see ya here, my friend.

      Please do send me the link to the blog – or I will just message you in the Twitter that we know so well 🙂

      And yes – I am doing ATB in 2015 – you gonna be there? Gotta meet up for sure then!

      Thanks for the kind words and for being here. Means a lot!


  36. jenkirk72 says:

    GREAT post!!!! I hope I can be as raw and honest when I finally get around to running mine. Very inspiring!

    1. Hi Jen! So great to have you here!

      Yeah, the raw and honest…that’s what I do around here 🙂 Keeps me on the level, my friend. I am sure you are going to do great! And congrats on the Liebster award again! 🙂


  37. Great run and blog post. I was at the same Toronto marathon, and completed my 1st full on that day as well. I was 4 minutes behind you! 🙂

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