Former drunks make unstoppable runners

on 07/01/13 at 12:18 pm

Booze News

imagesExercise can provide an excellent escape from addiction. A sober marathoner offers 8 reasons why…

Many drunks won’t be swayed by the symbolism of a turned calendar page. But each year, plenty of chronic drinkers and struggling alcoholics figure that January is a chance for a fresh start. To them, I say run. You’re already pre-programmed to chew up the pavement—even tackle a marathon. In fact, you’ve spent a good chunk of your bleary-eyed, morally dubious days and nights developing the perfect toolbox: single-minded focus; endurance; tolerance for mental and physical distress; prowess at spending time alone; aptitude at navigating embarrassment. You can use these tools to build a new house, rather than deepening the ditch. So for the newly sober, instead of fretting about how far you have to go, here are eight reasons why you should think, “look how far I’ve already come.”

1. Stamina

You know how to keep your eye on the prize. You’ve gutted out hangovers and sweated through anxiety-ridden mornings—all while trying to ignore the song of that first cool sip, the delicious sigh waiting in the cooler case or kitchen cabinet or bartender’s hand. Just get to noon, to 1 pm, to the somewhat respectable hour of 3 pm (that’s when the school day’s done, after all). On the other side of the coin, you’ve danced full-tilt boogie through weekend benders, uncapping and uncorking on waking, passing out and then hitting repeat, often on little food and water. This stick-to-itiveness will serve you well during the long miles of a marathon. You’ve run into doors, pavement and all manners of immovable objects and kept on going—so you’ll be ready when the marathon’s wall starts cracking its knuckles around mile 18.

2. Tolerance of physical and mental distress

You’ve probably woken up with bruises and cuts, perhaps a sprain or broken bone, so you won’t be freaked when a blackened toenail falls off during training. You’ve certainly come to with skull-splitting headaches, a tongue like cactus skin, and wincing rays of guilt slicing your brain. You’ve forced yourself to work, woozy and nauseous. You’ve thrown up in the bushes and then stumbled into the office. You know scalding heartburn and beer shits. You’ll be able to handle any race-day GI issues stirred up by the mix of Gatorade, energy goo and nerves. Plus, you’re used to the performance anxiety of just being awake, so you won’t be so fazed by the starting-line jitters.

 

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