Saturday, 17 March 2012

Exclusive interview

So hey, I know there's been an awful lot of book-related posts around this running blog, but don't you worry. I just started a really long book that's bound to take me days to finish. Unfortunately, I see another week or so of resting in my future before I've kicked this flu's butt, so no running to report about either.

To make it up to you, I interviewed a previous running addict (who prefers to stay anonymous), to serve as a cautionary tale that, sometimes, too much running can be bad for you. Exclusively for Running for Life, here's the story. Let this be a lesson to you all!

- So, when and how did you become addicted to running?
- Well, Shaman, I, like many others, fell into running by trying some lighter stuff first. Cycling, weight lifting, you know. The kind you can easily get at your local gym. Everyone was doing them. Gateway stuff. You could even get them at school. I wanted to be cool, like the other kids. Then one day they just didn't do it for me any longer. I had to try the heavier stuff.

- What was your first experience with running like?
- Wow, man, I'm telling ya, it was awesome. I felt so light, I was flying, and I had the energy to go for hours. I was high as a kite. I floated. I could see the universe, the stars, the end of the world.

- How did that addiction develop?
- I kept telling myself I was in control. "Just one more kilometre and I'm done", I'd say. Bullsh*t. I was kidding myself. The more I did it, the more I wanted to do it. It was all I could think about. I stopped calling my friends, my family. I lost interest in forming a relationship. I could hardly hold down a job. Basically, I didn't have a life outside running. And talk about getting the munchies afterwards.

- Did you have any enablers?

- Are you f*cking kidding me dude? Don't we all? I met some guys who were into the same kind of sh*t. We did some crazy, probably illegal stuff together. I mean, (whispers) trail running? Do you know what a kick that gives? If you're not hooked by that point, you get hooked! And even worse, man, ULTRAS! Man, we were out of our heads! (laughs) Talk about good times... (stares away into nothing, reminiscing)

- Did you have any tough periods?

- Oh man, don't remind me. There were times I could not run, maybe because I was on holiday, maybe because of the occasional visitor, and then I got the shakes. I tried substitutes, queued for hours at the local store for a magazine handout and stuff, but they weren't like the real thing, you know? They'll tell you it is, but it ain't.

- So how did you decide to quit?
- It went too far. I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into the addiction. Talking about it. Dreaming about it. Everyone could see it happening except me. People told me I should get help. A personal trainer or something. Someone who could help me find alternatives, like yoga. I wouldn't listen. I thought I had this under control. Until I couldn't help but listen. I got a stint in prison.

- You did time in prison?
- It was ugly. I overdosed during an ultra trip, and got the flu, man. I was a mess. Lost a lot of weight, couldn't go outside, watched reality was the lowest point of my life. But it kept my ass away from running.

- That sounds painful.
- It was! The withdrawal symptoms were worse than injuries. I tried telling myself that it would all be over soon. That the pain would go away. I just had to wait it out. I counted the hours and minutes. Watched YouTube clips about the Western States 100 to get my fix. Finally, I stayed off of it long enough to realise that I was only hurting myself. This addiction was the problem, not the withdrawal symptoms. That's when I decided to quit.

- How did you go about doing that?
- I joined Runners Anonymous and followed their twelve step programme. First, you have to admit that you have a problem. You have to look at yourself and admit it. Then, you have to change your lifestyle. It won't be easy, so you'll need a sponsor - no, not that kind of sponsor. Someone who'll support you, like a physiotherapist, or an orthopedic. Someone who can tell you about the damage you're doing to your body. Then you have to help others see the light. I'm planning on converting my previous enablers. I got so much help from others in group therapy, I'm hoping that they will, too.

- How's life going for you now?
- I've been clean for one week, and so far so good. Of course, I still look upon colleagues that sneak out for a quick round on their lunch break as the lucky ones. I wish I could join them, be as careless as they are. But then I just go inside and distract myself with cake or watch some TV. One day, I know I'll be able to look at runners not with envy, but rather with pity. They don't know what they're missing, that they're wasting their lives. 

1 comment:

  1. Running anonymous ;)
    Tyvärr fick jag skippa löpning idag med. Sån tur att jag har dig som peppar. Jag vet att två veckor inte är hela världen, men det känns så. Det var ju så bra..
    Nytt försök i morgon (inga krafter än)
    Nu kryar vi på oss lite till.
    (Och STORT tack igen för dina peppande och fina ord)