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  • Jason Wood

Routine To Torture

By: Matt Billas

Running was the way, the only way. It gave me purpose, adrenaline, and a competitive spirit. It necessitated mandatory breaks and rest to be able to run another day. Rest was good because it let me live to run another day, better and harder. It was a generally healthy relationship, give and take, even if it was grounded in something ingrained in me from participating in a sport in high school.

Then, I lost it, and not by choice but by actions. I overdid it and ultimately paid the price. Running two road races in a week on hilly courses while training in the midst of it was unkind to my body. I reaped what I sowed in the form of a broken bone and therefore mandatory time off; a change in my norm. Biking became the only alternative and in my mind an insufficient one.

It didn’t give the same rush or drive. I did it anyway and sought it because I thought I had no other choice. Something was better than nothing. I found myself doing more, pushing harder in time and miles even though it never resulted in what I was ultimately seeking. But I tried, and as it remained insufficient, I sought other ways to “be healthy.” Enter an eating disorder, OCD, anxiety, orthorexia, the whole gamut.

Months and years have passed since then, and here I limp again, a bum knee with tendonitis; swollen ankles, pain. But I won’t get fooled again; there are other ways to be happy and healthy. I’m still standing.


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Sounding the siren on men's mental health.

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