So, my last year at university I started running, not a lot, 30 to 45min sessions three or four days a week. This helped a little, but not a lot because of the continued drinking sessions multiple nights a week.
This carried on, improving ever so-slightly, for my first year or so after graduation. Then, I moved to London, a city known for it's drinking culture. However, as I knew literally no-one in the whole of the UK, my network had to be built from scratch. From a few chance encounters, my average running background and mentioning to a few folks that I was keen on getting into tri, the network began branching in an unexpected direction. I was making friends who talked about triathlons and marathons as if they were a natural part of life, a completely normal thing to do over the weekend. I was in awe.
With that, I signed up for my first marathon (combined it with trip to visit my brother in LA) and started working toward the shape that I am in today. As the weeks of training went by, I saw a few things: (i) having an organized program was much more efficient at getting me out every day than just taking it as I feel, (ii) the formula to distance racing isn't difficult (increase mileage gradually with a decreased week of work every so often for recovery) it just requires planning and effort and (iii) I didn't have time for all night drinking sessions and I actually preferred meeting friends for a pint or two then heading home.
By week fourteen or so, I was feeling better with each day, running 20mi for the long sessions and the bespoke suit I purchased before training was no longer such a great fit. It was the combined runner's high and visual re-enforcement from my changing shape that made me feel like my life was changing, for the better, on a daily basis.
|Spring '07 vs. Fall '10|
Since then, I've run three more marathons (NYC, Stratford-upon-Avon and Kildere) and am in the midst of planning the next one which will hopefully follow Bolton sometime this fall.