Blue sky, a low sun, morning dew on the grass. A perfect morning to run in to work. Today was somehow different to the normal run to work though.
Sitting here, writing this, I still can't put my finger on what made it different. I felt good, the usual heavy legs after a track session the night before but I was spending a lot of the run thinking. Thinking about my Dad.
He passed away in 2006. Addicted to alcohol and cigarettes. In the end, this was what killed him. A downward spiral of misery, drinking to 'make things better', smoking way too much, staying in his house for days on end, his only intake of fresh air came from an open window. The self destruct button had been firmly pressed many years prior with no reset option available.
I've never really thought about his illness. Alcoholism.
Looking back, I had two fathers. I had the one who was dry, sober. Off the booze, the loving father any kid would want when growing up. A father to look up to. The other was a violent drunk, a man who had hit rock bottom and was still trying to dig himself deeper in to oblivion. A father who didn't remember what day or year it was, who couldn't remember a conversation you had with him the previous day.
How does this relate to me? Why write a blog about my father?
Running in to work today after a track session last night, legs heavy, I thought back to how I got in to running. Just to get fit, running 3 times a week was more than enough for me. Then I was running 4 times a week, getting faster, getting stronger. Now I run twice a day, I have a training plan, I have structure to my runs, I've a brand sponsor who supports my running with the best kit available to me but how does this relate to me and my father?
When he didn't drink, after a spell in hospital and being forced to sober up, he was back to his old self. A loving father. He would promise every time he sobered up that this was it, he would stay dry. My brothers and I would beg him to keep his promise. We spoke to the local hotels to ask them not to serve him, we asked the local shops not to sell him drink but he found ways. He found 'likeminded' people who would buy the drink for him, he found ways to get his fix. He would gradually slip back to his old ways.
I see a lot of characteristic of him in myself. For one, my looks, the older I get, the more I get told I look like my old man. I also find ways to get my fix. I don't like going dry, going without a run.
Without a run I don't feel whole. I feel something is missing. Running usually allows me to clear my mind, forget about everything. I find 'likeminded' people to go running with.
I head out in any weather just to get that run in. If I'm going away on holiday I pack my running kit. It doesn't need to be fast or far, but a run needs to be achieved at some point. I look forward to that run, the thrill of putting one foot in front of the other, heading out in to the unknown and finding hidden gems in unexplored cities.
Running is unlikely to kill me if I over do it. But I guess the day after a hard session on the track is similar to a hangover from the night before and the only way to fix it is by running more. A recovery run – the hair of the dog. You might not want it but you know you will feel better after it.
Is running my addiction?
Hi, my name is Owain and I'm an addict.
Oxford Dictionary definition:
The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity.