Many times I have been caught up in a downpour..strange as this sounds it is a beautiful experience. Usually, the traffic and pedestrians around disappear in disgust and there is the gift of just me and the elements rubbing alongside together. I have not yet mentioned the fun of achieving quicker times and feeling fitter. I soon began to notice my times improving and also my distances. This leads me naturally onto :

My 3 ½ year running ‘career’ has led me to finish 2 ‘half marathon’ races; 1 ‘ultra marathon’ trail race around London of 34 miles; and 2(virtual) marathons. I am due to run the Paris marathon this autumn but my hip problem may scupper those plans.

Having listed all that (as I feel sadly compelled to )

I will say that my so-called ‘achievement’ of completing these races is really no match for the pleasure I get of going out after a stressful day and feeling the wind in my face as I plod around the waterfront looking at the ripples across the quay. My frustrations and pent up anger usually evaporate away into the air. I am not a particularly fast runner; I am possibly not the slowest. What I would say is that the joy I have from running is something I would want others to experience and would encourage anyone with 2 good working legs to give it a try. If I had not gotten sober, it is something that would have passed me by completely!

The bittersweet nature of me; an addict that runs

Very shortly after I began to run on a regular basis, my natural instinct to ‘overdo’ things began to show itself. In a typical ‘addict’ style, the feeling I was getting from running was one I wanted more and more. I began to go out as much as I could. And not only that, but (similar to my experience as a child) I didn’t want the good feeling to stop, so I would run and run and run. (!!) Soon I began to see how far I could go…within a few months I was able to run about 10 miles. I began to see consistent improvements in my times but predictably I also began to experience niggles of pain and signs of injury. This continued to be a part of my running. My desire to ‘feel good and push on through, despite the groaning and resistance of my body is still the reality I live with. I often berate myself for my inability to do ‘anything in moderation. Especially those things which I want to hold on to and continue to enjoy in my life. So in a similar vein to my journey of sobriety, I have had to learn to listen to my body, to eat more regularly and to rest when I have overdone training. I am trying to run more regular distances and to include core strength work in between sessions. (which I find hard work and rather tedious!) My current struggle is a persistent throbbing in my hip area. I am faced with taking painkillers and still trying to maintain some running while I seek out medical support. My fear is that my short-lived running experience will be halted, and I have to prepare myself for that……

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