I was addicted and I didn’t even know it!
In 2010 I completed 11 endurance events culminating in my first Ironman triathlon. By then, after training 20+ hours a week, months on end, I felt burnt out…it takes a psychological toll…and at the end of November 2010, after 14+ hours to complete my Ironman race I stopped. I quit. I “took some time off”. I didn’t train.
Oh boy, what I mistake. Quitting cold turkey threw me completely off-balance, something I’m now only aware off several years later (oh and turning 40 might not have helped). Look, I’m no pro-athlete, but when you train to the level needed to complete an Ironman and stop it’s going to mess with the chemical balance in the brain. Exercise boosts serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine levels, neurotransmitters (chemicals) linked to feelings of wellbeing and conversely depression.
For the first time in my life I experienced feelings of depression, a loss of a sense of purpose, of who I was as 2011 came and went. I couldn’t find the motivation to train, when I tried I just couldn’t get back in to it. In 2012 I completed a number of races including Wildflower long course (half Ironman distance), yet I didn’t get the sense of fulfillment I once got and my training petered off. Activities that used to bring joy/fulfillment fell flat.
If an addiction can be defined as:
[div3 class=”quote” class2=”quote-l” class3=”quote-r”]Any behavior that you continue to engage in despite the negative consequences that the behavior leaves in its wake.[/div3]
Then I was addicted to NOT training. I’d break my habit to only relapse and stop training again.
Well as of 2013 I’m glad to say I’m an addict no more, I’m clean…I no longer NOT train and it feels good. I will train for endurance events for the rest of my life, it is part of my identity, who I am…and that’s one of the most powerful forces in the human psyche.
It’s surprising where addictions can show up, what are you addicted to NOT doing?