If Running was Poker, I’d Be in Rehab


Hello, my name is Kelli, and I am an addict.  It dawned on me the other day that I am addicted to running.  Yes, it actually took that long to figure out. I knew I loved running, and fell deeper in love with it this last training cycle, but I really think I upped the ante and became addicted.  I’m sad and slightly anxious that I don’t have a race in the near future, especially a marathon. I ran a marathon less than two weeks ago and I’m chomping at the bit to run another one. The mind wants something that the legs simply cannot (and shouldn’t) deliver. I’m getting withdrawal symptoms.  Irritation. Obsessive thoughts about running. Crankiness. Wanting to train for something. I miss my Training Peaks emails.

I started thinking about how my husband felt about the whole thing and my continuing preoccupation with running that will soon be paired with swimming and biking.  I asked him the day after we got back from our Boston trip, “So, how do you feel that “this” is never going to end. I’m always going to want to compete, to get better, and to run races? It’s. Never. Going. To. Stop.”

He likes to play poker so then I started thinking, wow, what if I played poker and spent as much time/money thinking about and playing poker as I do running. Yikes. I’d totally be in rehab.

Thankfully for me, he is really understanding about my passion, my love, “the other” in our relationship, and I believe I balance everything pretty well. My family is first, but running is not even close to other things behind it (you’d totally understand that if you saw my yard and my junk drawers and closets and well, you get the picture).

So I looked up the “signs of addiction” and wasn’t surprised at what I found.  I am, indeed, addicted to running.

I compiled a few signs, adjusted them to the running addiction, and listed them below along with my answers. Go ahead, see if you’re addicted too.

****Disclaimer time: Now really, I’m just poking fun at this, I’m not making light of someone’s true and detrimental addiction to a substance or an unhealthy relationship with running.****


*  Do you start running and cannot stop? Have you made at least one serious attempt to give it up or slow down, but was unsuccessful in that attempt?  *I was going to run “one more marathon”. Four marathons ago.

*When you stop running, do you suffer from withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings, bouts of moodiness, bad temper, poor focus, a feeling of being depressed and empty, frustration, anger, bitterness, and resentment?   * WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME ALL THESE QUESTIONS??????

* Do you continue running despite injury?  * Does this count if you pretend the injury doesn’t exist? Oh, see below for “Denial”.

* Do you make financial sacrifices in order to continue running and related activities?  * Um…. define “sacrifice”.  The bills are paid on time and the kids are fed.  We took the kids to Boston! They didn’t want to go to Disney anyway. Hey, isn’t there a race at Disney?  

* Do you take risks in running that you normally wouldn’t take in every day life?    * If doing something to cause a driver to think or say, “damn runner” , then I have succeeded. Do I get a medal? And I don’t listen to my 5k play list when I drive anymore.

If you've ever said, "I signed up for WHAT?!" then you know what endorphins are and what they can do. Dangerous.

If you’ve ever said, “I signed up for WHAT?!” then you know what endorphins are and what they can do. Dangerous.

* Do you use running in helping you deal with your problems?  * “Step into my office” said the sidewalk.

Um, not really.

Um, not really.

* Do you find yourself obsessing about running and lose focus on your other every day activities? * Ok, well, like I said above, the kids are paid and the bills are fed. What? I think about food.

* Do you ever run in solitude and not tell anyone about it?  * Is the sky blue and the grass green?

* Do you feel you are in denial about your addiction to running?  * Everyone else does it.


*Do you find yourself running in excess, causing dizziness or fainting, abnormal hunger, loss of toe nails, excessive muscle cramps, strange tan lines, and/or signing up for ultra races?  *I currently have a blue toe nail.  Add red nail polish and it isn’t a bad shade of purple, y’all. And I have a farmer tan. It’s cool. And the raccoon eyes are just from sunglasses.  


* Have you dropped other hobbies and activities besides running? * There’s other hobbies and interests besides running?

* Has your running caused any issues in your relationships?  * Hmmmm, maybe that’s why my husband grinds his teeth at night… And most of my friends are runners so if we’re all doing it, then it’s okayyyyy!!!!




So there, my friends, are YOU addicted to running? I hope that if you are, it’s a good addiction and you maintain a healthy balance with other people and activities in your life. Better go, time to RUN!!!!


Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “If Running was Poker, I’d Be in Rehab

  1. I don’t know if I’d call myself addicted, but running is definitely a big part of my life.
    I can agree to a lot of the questions to some extent, but in my head not in a negative way (OK maybe that’s denial :).
    I see running as a positive thing for me, and to me the word addiction has a negative connotation that I just don’t see with my running.. although maybe the actual definition of the word addiction doesn’t necessarily mean something negative..

    • I definitely see my “addiction” to running in a positive way. It’s done a lot for me, both mentally and physically, and I don’t plan to ever stop running unless I have to and then cue the denial 🙂

  2. I probably have a problem. It’s less bad for me than my actual alcoholism and a decent replacement for booze (plus, alcohol would wreck my running because how it messes my blood pressure up big time)… So, not changing anything soon. Not even going to join a 12 step program. And just to be serious a minute, running does take up less of my time than my drinking did, even if I really am obsessed with running.

  3. I definitely have an endurance addiction. It is not solely running 🙂

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