I had the pleasure of getting to interview Todd Crandell, from “Racing for Recovery”. Todd’s story is unique. Todd was a drug addict at a very young age. He used drugs and alcohol from the age of 13 until 26 years old. As part of Todd’s journey to recovery, he started racing IRONMAN events and eventually even Ultraman. His story goes way beyond this though. You can learn more by reading this interview and watching his movie “Running with Demons”. Check out the interview below!
Paul: What is “Racing For Recovery”?
Todd: Our mission at Racing for Recovery™ is to prevent all forms of substance abuse by promoting a lifestyle of fitness and health for all those affected by addiction.
Prevention and Recovery Services
Racing for Recovery™ is a federally approved 501 c 3 non-profit organization.
Paul:How did you get introduced to drugs and alcohol?
Todd: I started using drugs at the age of 13 due to a simple choice to try them. I do believe genetics and the suicide of my mom when I was 3 had an emotional impact on me that I was looking for something to fill that void with. I started with sports but again made a choice to try alcohol and things just snowballed from there to where I was drinking 2 fifth of whiskey a day and 3 or 4 grams of cocaine plus anything else I could get my hands on.
Paul: How long were you were you addicted drugs?
Todd:I used drugs for 13 years. I quit at the age of 26 on Apriil 15, 1993 after receiving my third drink driving charge and having a .36 blood alcohol level at noon.
Paul: How did you make the transformation? Why Triathlon?
Todd: I began triathlon in 1999 as I was always fascinated with Ironman and watched the Hawaii one while addicted and thought "someday I want to do that race" and I have done it in 2006 and 2012. It improves me physically, emotionally and spiritually
Paul: When did you do your first triathlon? Tell us about that experience?
Todd: My legs felt like rubber as I stumbled down the road. I was nauseous, dizzy, a little disoriented. Pain seemed to radiate from every part of my body. My friends and family had warned me; they told me that I was hurting myself by doing this, but I ignored them. I had to do this. It meant so much to me, in fact, that I would do anything to achieve it. As the puffy clouds in the blue Florida sky began to circle around my fevered head, I gritted my teeth, determined that I could tol- erate the agony for just a little while longer. Because very shortly I was going to feel really, really good.
God, it was great to be off drugs and alcohol!
The last few miles of the Ironman Triathlon were excruci- ating; but, next to my wedding and the births of my children, this was the greatest day of my life. If my rubber legs, vacant expression and fuzzy mind were symptoms I had experienced
before—in another, darker life—this time they were not due to wanton ingestion of outrageous amounts of illegal sub- stances. No, on this day, November 6, 1999, I was about to become a member of an elite group; one of the few people in the world—probably less than 50,000—who can say that they have finished an Ironman.
Paul: Tell us about your organization, what do you do?
Todd: www.racingforrecovery.org - I started this program to give back and help others and we do that through support group meetings, counseling, speaking, 2 books, 2 movies, and our events such as a 5k and triathlon.
Paul: Any big plans for the future? What are your long term goals?
Todd: I would like to get a facility to have people live the Racing for Recovery lifestyle 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I will continue speaking to schools, business groups, rehabs and churches to share our mission of HOPE. I want to have more support groups and events across the United States and have our books and movies be in the hands of all who are impacted by addiction.