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Running Keeps Me Sober – Oscar Gonzalez

Running Keeps Me Sober Oscar Gonzalez Run Tri Bike How It All Started
Oscar Gonzalez
Year started: 2022
Next race: September 17, 2022, Jangover 75k, Phoenix, AZ
Favorite gear:
  • Hoka One One Shoes

Since I was a teenager I have had addictions that I have spent most of my life trying to overcome. From a very early age, I did all different types of stuff to help me with my sobriety. Sports was a big help growing up but what I didn’t know then was that running would lead me to sobriety. Running Keeps Me Sober and this is my story.

I did not start running until I was much older in age, but running came to light at the worst times of my life when it came to addictions. I was looking for any outlet possible to make the process easier and running was a big help.

Running Keeps Me Sober

Running keeps me sober by just giving me an opportunity to release all my energy and stresses. It allows me to stay active on a daily basis and keeps me in check when it comes to sleeping, eating habits and the decisions I make throughout the day.

For example, if I have a long run on Saturday scheduled by my coach, I know I have someone who is expecting me to do my workout, who keeps me accountable and is expecting me to be at my best. I know I cannot stay out late, drinking, or even just binging tv. I know I cannot skip meals and expect to be ready by 5am to run.

All this comes from running, and not just running but holding myself accountable by communicating with my coach and most importantly investing money into myself to see results.

I Was And Am An Athlete

As I mentioned earlier, growing up I played all types of sports. I played basketball, baseball, football, soccer and also boxed. Running was not on the list of sports I participated in while growing up. Actually, it was the last one that would cross my mind. I could not understand how running was considered a sport.

Now that I am older, I don’t think there is any other sport that could take its place or even remotely compete with the pleasure I get from running. I truly believe the only thing I could replace running with would be the honor to be able to coach athletes, in boxing, or running.

Coaching has always been a dream of mine. The ability to coach athletes to a high level brings me joy. You may ask yourself why I haven’t pursued that path. The reason is that I still feel like I am the athlete with much more to learn. I don’t know where the tipping point is for me converting from athlete to coach, but I know when I get there that I’ll have plenty to give.

Drug Relapse. The Beginning Of Running.

In 2019, I was a couple months in from a really bad drug relapse, and was going through a very deep change in my life. Everything I knew about myself, what I thought about myself, life, and the world had completely changed.

For the first time in a very long time in 2019, I was able to see the light behind the dark tunnel and on my way to the light I stumbled across running. I had help from a special person. They sent me to a leadership program, that eventually lead to staying sober and committed. It was the start.

I have always been a very energetic and outgoing person. Movement and hard physical pain from a result of a positive achievement was something I loved. For a very long time I only received those moments, life highs and lows, from drugs. It wasn’t until I first ran my first 5k that I felt and understood there were other options to feel the same way that drugs made me feel but without killing myself.


I Love Trail Running

I ran my first 10k Trail run, and that reminded me of being a kid. As a child I was in love with being outdoors and connected with nature. Running reminded me of the kid I once was. That race brought me back to basic choices we have to make to live a good life. Most importantly, it reminded me that I once was someone with dreams and goals to become a professional athlete.

I am not a professional athlete and may never be, but I became an athlete again after a long time of not feeling like one. I felt that I was more of a drug addict. This image reversal gave me so much confidence, but even with the confidence I would still have battles throughout the year that would make me lose the confidence until I asked for help.

When I started running in 2019, my first real attempt at a long run was a 30k night run. I had a great base and was able to run far, I just had no idea about nutrition and water intake. I did not understand electrolytes or sodium intake and the importance of staying hydrated.

That day I had the most horrible experience ever, I finished the race but it took my soul. Since that day I had a very real fear about running far, and part of me had accepted I was not able to run far. The next year Covid hit. 2020 was the perfect excuse for my fear to just allow me to give up and stay inside. I completely stopped running.

I’m Back

In 2021, I returned back to a boxing gym. One of the main gyms where I spent a couple good years, fighting my sobriety back and forth and trying to stay around positive people and coaches. Mid-way through the year, the running bug had come back and I was experiencing the guilt of quitting on something I truly enjoyed.

I kept having reminders of what I was doing and my goals I had with running. That finally made me come back to the sport and give it another shot. I came back with the idea that I had to run more and more but still had no clue that nutrition and hydration was the actual key to success.

I ran a couple races between 25-30k and even though I was finishing, I was not feeling right and strong. In January of 2022, I ran a 20 mile race. I was able to finish but again experienced the worst bonk since 2019. It was an instant soul taker and was again back to step one like in 2019. That same day after the race, I went home completely demoralized. All of a sudden Coach Will Frantz messaged me, it was such a random message at the perfect time.

Just What I Needed

At the moment I did not know who coach Will Frantz was. Then we spoke a bit and I explained to him my running situations and goals. We both clicked and since then, he has been my coach and has taught me so much about nutrition and hydration. Thanks to Coach Will Frantz I was able to run a couple more times this year from distances ranging from 20 miles up to 37 miles.

Just Ask For Help

As I look back at this year, I realize all I had to do was ask for HELP to get me one step closer to achieve my goals. It took me a while to realize that at times all we need is a community around us to make our goals one step closer. The same with sobriety, I struggled for so many years to stay sober and make changes in my life. Those changes did not start until I finally accepted that I needed to ask for help. This lesson has completely changed my outlook of life. Running keeps me sober.