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January 7, 2013

Former Drunks Make Unstoppable Runners

by Brendan

No data points in this Salon article by Caleb Daniloff (a name I don’t know), but it does make sense on the issue of why and how former drunks can turn into excellent runners:

http://www.salon.com/2013/01/06/former_drunks_make_unstoppable_runners/thoner_sm

If you don’t want to read it all the way through, here’s a key quote:  “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.”

It’s hard for me to imagine that the “single-minded focus” that I used to spend on getting the next bottle and consuming it could transfer to a single-minded focus on running, but I do manage, when sober (and for the past 58 days) to run 3-6 miles a day, 6 days a week.

Here’s my executive summary:

1. Former drunks are used to spending a lot of time alone (certainly true in my case, though I get it that some people are bar drinkers).

2. And are used to\inured to discomfort (hangovers, stress, anxiety, fatigue, et.)

3. Used to setting goals (how to acquire the magic elixir, how much to use, and also how to control their drinking — for me, attempts to control never worked, at least up until now).

4. Can plod on and on repetitively.

Well, well, well.  Maybe Daniloff is on to something.  I’ll have to see — never managed to be a former drunk before.

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