Mid – August, 2007:
I arrived home from work, drunk off of CAMO XXX malt liquor. It had been my routine that year to pick up a couple of shitty beers on the way home from work to blow off some steam. At the time, with my then-fiancé Lynea having left Oregon early to set up our new life on the east coast, my friend Brian was living with me. Later that fall I was planning on returning back east with Brian to join Lynea, therefore completing my exodus from Oregon, to start a family on the east coast, my home growing up as a kid.
Later that night, while nursing another beer in bed, Brian returned to our house from working all day. He came in to my bedroom, saw what was going on, and insisted that I get the hell up and put on my running shoes. I fought it at first, but Brian ended up winning. Reluctantly, while nursing a strong buzz, I put on some running clothes and joined Brian outside to appease him.
We started to run, I had no pain in my legs because I couldn’t feel anything, just my buzz. I don’t remember speaking much with Brian while running. I felt guilty and shameful knowing that the last two years of drinking and drugs were catching up to me. I felt heavy, slow, and fat. I hadn’t worked out much since I started my then-current job in 2006 selling real estate.
At around a mile and a half of running we turned around to head back home. For some reason, maybe due to my buzz, I started to feel good. Brian and I picked up the pace. As we got closer back home we kept driving the pace. With around 400 meters to go before we arrived home I started to sprint and passed Brian. Although I was drunk the last few minutes of that run began to reveal a revived sense of freedom to me. Maybe I could run? A couple of minutes later after Brian and I caught our breath he said that I had just put down a 23:00 5k. “No shit,” I thought. He continued by saying that I could run and that he was impressed with what I had just done considering the past two years I had been completely sedentary. At the time I didn’t hear or believe him. I wasn’t ready to hear him. At one time in my life I had been a fairly fit endurance athlete. But now my hopes and dreams of re-attaining that fitness had left my conciousness. After hitting the shower that night to wash off I returned to bed and cracked open another beer and passed out.
Fast forward to today, 9 years later. Just last month I completed my first 100 mile race. I run races in length that are inconceivable to most people. Running has become a cornerstone in my life, so much so that it is my method of meditation and mindfulness. I spend countless hours and miles running and exploring the wilderness of Oregon and beyond. Without running I don’t know where I’d be in terms of recovery from alcoholism and addiction. Today, with running in my life, I feel more at peace.
As I reflect on that hot August night when Brian drug my drunk ass out of bed to go run with him I am humbled by how far I’ve come since that run. Looking back, that was the first time that summer that Brian saved my life. We’ll get to the second time later on.
So, how did I get here? Well, let me tell you….