General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Triathlons and being sober Rss Feed  
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2015-04-18 6:58 AM


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Subject: Triathlons and being sober
I'm willing to bet that there are a few of you who have taken on tris after quitting booze or drugs. Or perhaps food issues. I thought I'd share my story in hopes of getting some inspiration from others. Here goes:

November 2011, I decided to do a reverse New Year's resolution. I would not drink the month of December and could resume after Jan 1. I needed a break after an especially alcohol fueled college reunion weekend (did keg stands for the first time in 15 years!)

After an awesome holiday season I decided to continue and see what happened.

In February 2012, I got a sudden migraine. I had never had one before. I ended up spending 3 weeks in and out of the hospital. I had MRIs, MRAs, CT Scans, Spinal Tap, but the doctors couldn't find what was wrong. My symptoms were a thunderous headache at the top of my head with what is called "ice pick stabbing" about every 10 seconds. It felt like someone was stabbing my head. Very acute and very painful.

I couldn't work. I could barely function. All I could do was lay around at home and read when I could. I stumbled upon Rich Roll's book "Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself" which opened my eyes to the intersection of health and triathlon.
After 3 weeks my headache disappeared as fast as it came on.

I pledged to eat better and get in shape. I also decided to continue not drinking alcohol.

So during the summer of 2012 I signed up for a 70.3. I could barely run down my street without huffing and puffing. I was 240 lbs but ready for the challenge. I became vegetarian. I got a coach, joined Masters swimming, trained on my road bike, and went for it.

I astonished myself by completing the race, cried like a kid, and later felt the post race blues for the first time.

I decided to try and get in to the full Ironman Florida but online registration is such a crapshoot. I got in and felt it was divine intervention. I started formally training for it on Jan 1, 2013 and finished in November in 12 hours and 54 minutes. Life changer (plus I got down to 200lbs!)

I know I could not have done this if I hadn't changed my lifestyle and not drinking created the sea change.

I hope this inspires you to share your story. Please feel free to share anything and everything.


2015-04-18 8:13 AM
in reply to: JamesA


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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
Very inspiring story! You have taken charge of your life and what you have so far accomplished is extremely impressive! I'm willing to bet that you'll be able to keep it up from this point on.

I'll say that for me, deciding to do triathlons again about a year ago has also been a life changer. About to turn 60yrs and told by the ortho docs that I need new knees and shouldn't run, I decided to go for it anyway. 14 months later I am in some of the best shape of my life, having a blast training and racing, and knees are doing well . . . they just hurt a lot when I drive any distance in the car . . . If they start to hurt significantly when running I'll just switch over to Aquathon . .
2015-04-18 8:26 AM
in reply to: JamesA

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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
... though this was going to be about college aged guys showing up still drunk from the night before and still racing...
2015-04-18 8:30 AM
in reply to: JamesA


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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
6 years sober.
No program.

Basically decided that I was an alcoholic and I couldn't do cool things while under the influence.

One of which was be a good parent.
The other was endurance sports.

Congrats to you.
2015-04-18 12:04 PM
in reply to: JamesA

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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
There's a very long thread in the "Cup of Joe" section of the forum called "Becoming Sober". It's a few pages down but people do seem to chip in here and there. Lots of triathletes who are walking that same path. It's certainly not uncommon to commit to sobriety around the same time as one picks up the tri-bug. My overall resolution to have a more healthy lifesyle is ultimately the reason that 2014 was the year I stopped drinking and started to have fitness goals (which culminated in me doing triathlons). I'm healthier, happier, and a better husband/father because of it.
2015-04-18 6:42 PM
in reply to: #5109082

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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
I was a social drinker but did tend to go overboard aon occasion. I actually gave up drinking for Lent a year ago, started really getting serious about my training and really just don't crave alcohol anymore. The only issue is that I seem to have traded one addiction for another....my name is Daniel and I am addicted to training! First step right?!


2015-04-18 8:34 PM
in reply to: djmikula

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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
Good work, and a good story!

Whilst I am still young (24) I drank fairly heavily as most do from 18-22 (18 is drinking age here in Aus), before I decided I would rather do something on Sunday instead of recover... Now I barely drink, never to excess and find I don't feel like a beer at the end of the day like I used to.

Go triathlon
2015-04-20 12:43 PM
in reply to: djmikula


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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
Originally posted by djmikula

I was a social drinker but did tend to go overboard aon occasion. I actually gave up drinking for Lent a year ago, started really getting serious about my training and really just don't crave alcohol anymore. The only issue is that I seem to have traded one addiction for another....my name is Daniel and I am addicted to training! First step right?!


That's my story for the most part. It ran it's course. However, I do believe the course was headed in the wrong direction had I not stopped. I was driving after happy hours, finding way to go out when I should have been at home. Fortunately I discovered tri and found a whole new path. Very lucky.

btw, we started a group at FB called Sober Triathlete. It's at www.facebook.com/groups/sobertriathlete if anyone is interested. We have about 30 members from here and slowtwitch.
2015-04-21 10:48 AM
in reply to: JamesA

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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
First congratulations. As the child of an alcoholic mother and grandmother I can tell you the life changes you made have an impact on lives far greater than just your own.

My motivation came entering my late 50s at 250# and realizing that working hard all my life in hopes of having a fulfilling retirement was kind of pointless if I dropped dead prematurely due to my lifestyle choices. By no design at all, I attended a local tri to help my daughter set up a booth for the American Diabetes Association. I saw people in their 80s finish. I saw people 350# finish. I figured I could do this.

I have been at this three years. Had some setbacks with Achilles tendonitis early on and losing a year after being hit by a car while riding. But it is an addiction and I am still at it. Stepped up to Olys this year and hope to do IMAZ next year.

An interesting unintended consequence of committing to this sport is that it has helped improve my relationship with my family and friends. Because I have to find time to train I finally figured out it is OK to not be at work all the time. So if I can work semi normal hours so I can train I can also find time to be a better husband, father and friend.

You made an excellent trade up in addictions. If you have to have an addiction, you can do a lot worse than triathlons. Thanks for sharing.

2015-04-21 5:11 PM
in reply to: Stuartap

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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
Mad props to those who pull themselves out of addictions.

I've never understood why someone would go to all the work of swimming, biking, and running thousands of miles all summer, changing eating and sleeping habits then pour a man-made poison down their throats on the weekend or after a race. Moderation in all things, they tell me... But I just don't get it.
2015-05-31 4:35 PM
in reply to: simpsonbo


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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
that would be "triathlons and trying to get sober in time"


2015-05-31 5:07 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober

Originally posted by CRS Mad props to those who pull themselves out of addictions. I've never understood why someone would go to all the work of swimming, biking, and running thousands of miles all summer, changing eating and sleeping habits then pour a man-made poison down their throats on the weekend or after a race. Moderation in all things, they tell me... But I just don't get it.

Beer tastes good.....it's not complicated.

To the OP - good for you!  Addiction ruins everything......not saying you were, that's a personal thing, but it sounds like you are happier these days.



Edited by Left Brain 2015-05-31 5:09 PM
2015-06-01 1:32 PM
in reply to: JamesA

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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober

As a teenager I was keen on going to soccer matches in the UK. Part of the social scene was to drink on match days and we used to play a game based on the players on the pitch. Basically a soccer team sets up its 11 players in a formation split between defence, midfield and attack. 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. So we used to drink pints of beer in a smilar "formation" before, during and after the match. Then go out drinking in the evening. Often we would drink the night before and then often meet to drink the next lunchtime. Its then you realise that some weekends (Thursday night to Sunday night) you might have drunk 35 to 40 pints of beer. Plus chasers.

I still drink. But realising that I had a bad relationship with alcohol was the best thing I ever did. Some have to cut themselves off. The first year I did anything about it I trained for a 10k and nowadays tri-sport gives me focus. Training and the advenure of competing is an investement in myself and my health that is the polar opposite of the self destructiveness of binge drinking.

Sunday this week I will finish BOP at my local sprint. Go home and celebrate with some nice beer. But it will have been earned.

2015-06-29 11:50 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober

I agree badmo, realizing and accepting that one has a bad relationship with alcohol is the best thing that one can do. It took me a while to realize- by then I had  a strained marriage and very strained friendships. Not to mention the effect it had on my health. It took me 3 months of alcohol rehab in Calgary to fully recover and get back to my life. Been thankful to the guys over at Canada Drug Rehab ( http://www.canadadrugrehab.ca ) since that.



Edited by haryyspeax 2015-06-29 11:51 PM
2015-06-30 9:16 AM
in reply to: haryyspeax


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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
on the other end of the spectrum, I'm surprised at the number of triathletes I have met who are alcoholics but don't acknowledge it because they think training means they can't be alcoholic. one person I know drank a bottle of vodka a day, and usually accompanied by consumption of other liquor as well. a trip to a race always included a stop at the liquor store pre-race for a night before bottle. after she started having serious heart problems, she got sober but also quit training. another person I know drinks at least 10 bottles of wine a week, but since it's wine, apparently it doesn't count as alcohol. also, I've traveled to a couple races with him and he drinks at least three glasses the night before a race. going on a long bike ride with him is always planned around alcohol, he brings alcohol in a cooler so first thing after the ride is done is grab a drink, and as fast as he can get his bike on his rack, he ditches everyone and is off to get his drinks ordered, telling everyone else to catch up. I see a lot of this and fear for the health of those who "get healthy" by adding strenuous exercise to the substance abuse.

addictive personality is tough and I congratulate those who are able to trade the bad for the good rather than adding more stress to their bodies. may you have a long, healthy life and congrats on the start!
2015-10-05 6:06 PM
in reply to: Dutchcrush


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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
for any of you who are sober, or thinking about getting sober, we started a FB group called Sober Triathlete. You're all more than welcome to join:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/sobertriathlete/


2015-10-05 6:19 PM
in reply to: JamesA

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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober

Originally posted by JamesA for any of you who are sober, or thinking about getting sober, we started a FB group called Sober Triathlete. You're all more than welcome to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sobertriathlete/

Oh....great.  We've already lost a ton of members to FB and now we're going to lose all of the sober ones.  We're doomed to a fiery crash.

2015-10-05 7:37 PM
in reply to: Left Brain


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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
Inspiring story. I admire those that can go cold turkey. I've come to the conclusion I have a lot of vices but only one glass to fill. I gotta keep it filled with something or life gets boring. I used to get drunk and smoke in my early 20s but just got tired of it. I still have a lot of vices, but here lately my glass is mostly full of triathlon. It's unique because it carries the most pride. I still keep a little room for some other stuff though.
2015-10-05 8:16 PM
in reply to: runtim23

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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
Got no issues with alcohol, but quit smoking 7+ years ago after 30 years of the habit. I have zero temptation to start again and all the training I'm sure has something to do with that.
2015-10-06 7:39 AM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
Originally posted by Left Brain

Originally posted by JamesA for any of you who are sober, or thinking about getting sober, we started a FB group called Sober Triathlete. You're all more than welcome to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sobertriathlete/

Oh....great.  We've already lost a ton of members to FB and now we're going to lose all of the sober ones.  We're doomed to a fiery crash.


Guess that means you are stuck here with me!
2015-10-06 5:35 PM
in reply to: Danno77


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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
I have just started drinking non alcoholic beer and it's not bad. My bottleshop has quite a variety.


2015-10-07 8:06 AM
in reply to: Danno77

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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
Originally posted by Danno77

Originally posted by Left Brain

Originally posted by JamesA for any of you who are sober, or thinking about getting sober, we started a FB group called Sober Triathlete. You're all more than welcome to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sobertriathlete/

Oh....great.  We've already lost a ton of members to FB and now we're going to lose all of the sober ones.  We're doomed to a fiery crash.


Guess that means you are stuck here with me!


Yep....I'll certainly be left here after that rapture as well.
2016-04-11 9:44 AM
in reply to: 3mar


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Subject: RE: Triathlons and being sober
checking in. how is everyone doing?
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