I’m an addict, pure and simple. But my addiction has brought me five world championship crowns, a little bit of money, chaffing and huge oversized calves. The drug? Sports. And like any addict, when I don’t get my fix, I become like Cruella De Vil (with a decidedly dodgy haircut). I get grumpy, I throw my toys out of the pram, I suffer cold turkey (nothing to do with Thanksgiving leftovers), and I chew on my nails — basically metamorphosing from a relatively stable, sporty person to Godzilla.
While the word « addiction » comes with negative connotations, it doesn’t have to be detrimental. We can channel this craving and obsession into something positive, such as a sport. I think that the majority of triathletes would readily accept that they have a propensity for addictive behavior. But like any good thing — chocolate, caffeine, shopping and exercise — we can have too much of it. Sports can go from being a positive to a negative addition when fulfilling the craving overrides everything else. A day away from the pool or bike causes distress, relationships and work suffer, anxiety levels rise, and health levels decline as overtraining potentially leads to injury and illness. We have all been there. The obsession with filling that log book forces us out on a run when really our Achilles, calf, hip or back is saying no way. Then suddenly we end up nursing a painful Achilles, calf, hip, back for the next month. There is also the link to food control — control over calories and control over exercise. They are emotions and actions cut from the same cloth.
Complete monologue (ESPN W) Here.