No one in particular
Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 10/26/2011 9:34PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I am not a fast runner. I was never even a runner. But I became one.

I was a smoker, I was a fat slob, and now I can run. It frees me, but it also has become my life crutch.

As many others, especially those who had never run in HS or college, I have become obsessed with running.

I am not the only one. From all the blogs I've read, videos I've seen, and people I've talked to, runners, and especially mid-life-crisis hobby-marathoners, are completely obsessed with their running.

Wake up early, eat healthy, run, think about running all day at work, talk about running to anyone you see (and who of course doesn't care), sleep early and do it all over again.

For no glory. For most of us, of course it's a personal challenge. But once you did it, should you do it all again? Is it that important to break 4 hours, 3:30, 3? Perhaps. I am all for doing the best with what you've been given. I'm all for transcendence.

But this has a cost. Your gf, your wife, your kids, your career. Keep things and perspective. It's hard to balance. I am 30 years old and have only been running 3 years, and I know I personally think more about scheduling my spring or fall marathons than thinking of (and applying to) new jobs, and focus on moving up (I do earn 6 figures, but I know I am about 5% focused on my career at the very most).

I am not the only one in that vicious circle. Some of you are faster, and can run 1:10 halfs. That still isn't sufficient. We are not pros. Yet we behave 95% like them and train not so much less.

I love running and never want to give it up. I can't however live in the fear of injury, and feel at a total loss when it strikes. I can't rely on running to cure my depression, while becoming my addiction. I am an INTP, I am obsessed, I like numbers and lists and stats and schedule.

Running had been waiting for me to find it my whole life. But running has no responsible gaming department. I need to grow up and address my own issues, instead of "studying" tempos and VO2max.

I know I am not alone. I hope some of you find good balance. I just know many of us hobbyjoggers focus way too much mental energy in something that used to be a hobby and has now become a costly center of our lives.

How does this happen?

Thanks for reading my rambling rant. This post had no point other than laying down my thoughts. If you relate at all, please feel free to respond with your honest advice.
It's rough
RE: Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 11/13/2011 9:59PM - in reply to No one in particular Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
This is a really interesting post. I have been injured for over a year, had plans to run in college, and to be honest, I still can't let go of running. I feel like I won't ever be happy without running. So I don't have any advice. OK, well sort of....Find other things you enjoy. Pursue other passions. If you don't have any other passions, find them when it's on your own terms. You will be a lot better off if you find things you enjoy other than running WHILE you can still run, than you would be if you waited until you were injured or couldn't run for whatever reason, and were then forced to make yourself pursue other things just to keep from going crazy. It's hard. I'm struggling...a lot. But that's my two cents. Good post.
Concerned Citizen
RE: Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 11/13/2011 10:12PM - in reply to It's rough Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
http://www.amazon.com/Positive-Addiction-Harper-Colophon-Books/dp/0060912499

I remember this book being mentioned as discussing "addiction" to running; I've heard it was good. Lore of Running has a good section on it too (basically, you probably aren't addicted to running, and shouldn't worry about it unless it is unduly interfering with other aspects of your life).
Haus
RE: Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 11/13/2011 10:27PM - in reply to No one in particular Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
In my opinion and I am no psychologist, we become addicted to running for a few reasons.

1. It's something we can control
2. Gives us a HUGE sense of acomplishment and leads to an incredible natural high
3. It's one of the most natural things a person can do
4. Makes us feel good about ourselves and builds confidence
5. Improvement is almost limitless. The more we can devote the better we get.


I don't think all addictions are negative. I think if running makes you feel good and leads to happiness keep on doing it.
Intergalactic
RE: Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 11/13/2011 10:57PM - in reply to No one in particular Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Hmmm... I am an extremely obsessive person, and I have had multiple addictions (some mostly good, some mostly bad), and I was certainly completely obsessed with my running in high school. I was not a mid-life crisis runner, but I did stumble onto running as a freshman in high school and, after being overweight for most of my life up to then, felt a huge sense of accomplishment. I had a lot of success on the track team, and the praise and respect I earned for that was an incredible reward to fuel my obsession. The thing is, I never enjoyed running THAT much. It was somewhat of a compulsion. But I did enjoy it, and I enjoyed my teammates and the success we had as a team (I laugh with I think about me laughing at my coach who said that the team accomplishments would mean the most to us, because that has sure proven the case for me as I am closing in on being a decade removed from high school (YIKES)).

I felt like a big burden was lifted when I stopped running competitively in college, though. The problem is that except for a few short periods, I've never found anything that has replaced running and academic performance in my life - those things provided goals for me and gave me "something to do" with my life, and it's been easy for me to say "what's the point?" when I've been tempted to pursue other things in a similarly passionate fashion, even though I know that I need a healthier "obsession" to get me out of bed in the morning and to give me a sense of purpose.
gdsafgsa
RE: Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 11/13/2011 11:15PM - in reply to It's rough Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

It's rough wrote:

This is a really interesting post. I have been injured for over a year, had plans to run in college, and to be honest, I still can't let go of running. I feel like I won't ever be happy without running. So I don't have any advice. OK, well sort of....Find other things you enjoy. Pursue other passions. If you don't have any other passions, find them when it's on your own terms. You will be a lot better off if you find things you enjoy other than running WHILE you can still run, than you would be if you waited until you were injured or couldn't run for whatever reason, and were then forced to make yourself pursue other things just to keep from going crazy. It's hard. I'm struggling...a lot. But that's my two cents. Good post.


I sympathize. Running is a great obsession until you get hurt real bad. I was ripping off 120-mile weeks and living large a few years ago, but I'm something of a shell of my former self, having been battered down by many, many injuries and setbacks. Still looking for answers, hoping I'll figure it out, but also seriously toying with giving up on it all, just because I'm so exasperated and I feel like I "ought" to move on.
From200mTo8k
RE: Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 11/13/2011 11:17PM - in reply to No one in particular Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I totally know what you are talking about and am glad that you see the pattern. I believe that if our parents loved us unconditionally and if it was a "felt" love, then we grow up feeling and knowing that we are lovable just in the fact that we exist. On the other hand, if our parents love was conditional based on actions that we did or didn't do, then we become obsessed with accomplishing this or that goal. We don't know what it is like to sit there and receive the love of our spouses, children, etc, and we miss out on how good it could really feel to just be still while feeling their warmth. Since we don't fully know how to allow ourselves to feel this, we are driven to feel something we perceive as better than what we are currently feeling, which is empty. If we obsess about running, then we don't have to even really feel. We can stay up in our heads. If we can only run this or that time, then we will judge ourselves as lovable, but then there will always be another goal.

Some people on this site incite the kind of narcissistic thinking that can drive someone who feels unlovable to strive to be more than they are. There are people on this site who will call you names, "troll," "fat," "old," "stupid," etc. Unless you run 100 mpw, you know nothing. Unless you broke 14 in the 5k, your posts aren't worth reading. Some people make personal attacks rather than focusing on addressing the content of what someone wrote.

All of this can make someone strive to prove that they are "not a troll," "lean," "young" or "relevant," "intelligent," etc., in order to be seen as lovable. The truth is that no one else gets to determine our worth. We could quit running today and have as much worth as we have now.

All this said, my wife is on the couch waiting for me to get off of this message board. I think I had better go now and do what is right, that is, what is right for me.

If you have time, check out the videos at http://www.vaticanvalues.com/power_of_being. Video 3 (scroll down that page) addresses something called self-affirmation which is relevant.
It's rough
RE: Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 11/13/2011 11:29PM - in reply to gdsafgsa Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Well can you run at all? Are you still in school? I've found that really focusing on school at least gives me something productive to do. I'm not happy by any means, but at least I don't feel like I'm doing nothing of value.
mask your voice
RE: Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 11/14/2011 1:41AM - in reply to No one in particular Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Midlife crisis running beats being a religious nut, a war of warcraft nut, gambling nut, sex nut, and many other nuts.
kangs
RE: Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 2/25/2012 8:56AM - in reply to mask your voice Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
bump

This topic is relevant to most of us who center our lives around running. I don't have the answer for it. Now injured, life feels meaningless. I suppose if you have a family and a good job that you enjoy it would be different. Finding other things you're passionate about is no that easy. You simply can't fake true love and I love running.
break it up
RE: Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 2/25/2012 9:05AM - in reply to No one in particular Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Quit your bitching. I am the same way but unfortuneately I was a fast runner who concentrated only on running when I was younger and now make 30k a year. Yeah. You have a tendency to be obsessive and that is not conducive to a well-rounded life, especially with relationships.

Its probably good to find a way to life life with more balance but some of us are uncomfortable with that.
kangs
RE: Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 2/25/2012 9:30AM - in reply to break it up Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
This statement is what I want to focus on. Why do we assume that it's just a matter of waking up one day and deciding, from now on, I'm going to be a more balanced person, truly enjoy this or that activity, find fulfillment in X or Y...

I call BS on that. Some things you just naturally love and are pre-disposed to do. It's not like we can control what we like or dislike. Yeah, if I could change my personality I would, but being a well-rounded person is not some learned character trait.



break it up wrote:



Its probably good to find a way to life life with more balance .
redux
RE: Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 2/25/2012 10:31AM - in reply to No one in particular Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Ok. 4th time trying to reply to this.

Running has its own culture. A niche culture, but a culture. Like a small country in a world dominated by you-know-who. It has a right to exist, and to exist proudly and unafraid.

It's a culture I understand and love. It exists separate from the world culture at large and I won't apologize for finding love and acceptance here when I haven't found it elsewhere.

It may be small and inconsequential, but so are the families so many of us proudly cling to. So, I dote over my running and I will not apologize.
The MonBRO Doctrine
RE: Running and Obsession/Addiction/Depression 2/25/2012 11:49AM - in reply to redux Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You guys should read Bannister's "The Four-Minute Mile". The dude squeezed in runs during his lunch break and broke the world record. Even if running has advanced since those days most of us haven't run 3:58. You don't have to dedicate you're whole life to running to be good at it.