Seven years ago, Mitchell Ammons decided to completely change his life. Mitchell used heroin and other hard drugs from the age of 19 to 26. It was the only way he thought he could deal with himself and his emotions. It completely numbed his pain, it was his escape and he saw no way out. He lost all self respect, self worth, and he had pushed away his friends and family.
After those wandering years, Mitchell discovered running, and it has taken him somewhere that he never thought he would go. Running has given him the community he always wanted and best friends who love him for who he is. It’s given him personal success, accomplishment, self discipline, motivation, patience and persistence. It allows him to dig deep into his soul and push himself harder than he ever thought imaginable. Now, he sets goals and works his hardest to achieve them. He would never say that running saved his life. Instead, he chooses to focus on how the sport transformed his life beyond his wildest dreams.
In this interview, Mitchell, who recently became part of the SAYSKY Athlete Team, talks about his achievements in sobriety, as he wants you to know that anything is possible. He shares his story and his battle with drug addiction in hopes that someone will relate and maybe in that moment have the courage to reach out for help.
You’re very open about your past struggles with addiction to heroin and other drugs. What drew you to running in the first place, and how did it help you on your path to recovery?
I am very open about my past, I am not ashamed nor do I regret anything. I used heroin and other hard drugs for almost a decade. The struggles I went through have made me the person that I am today. I was about 2 years sober, and although I was not using drugs, I was very unhealthy. Since I was on this journey of transforming my life, I decided it was time to add some sort of exercise into my daily routine. I had always enjoyed running, I ran track in high school and I was pretty good at it. While in my addiction I had always dreamed of the day I could be a runner again. I started with running half a mile a day, after a couple of months I was up to running around 8 miles a day. I decided it was time to join a running group, and a year later I ran my first marathon. Running completely changed my path to recovery. It gave me purpose, work ethic, discipline, it taught me patience and gave me the need to work towards and achieve my goals. Running has truly changed every aspect of my life.
How do you hold yourself accountable so that you don’t go back to old habits? Has Instagram and other social media platforms been of help in that regard?
I'd say running and knowing I have to show up every morning ready to work towards my goals keeps me accountable from going back to old habits. I have found something that I love as much if not more than the high I used to get. I post a lot on social media about my addiction and my future goals in order to have that means of accountability. I also post in the hope that someone out there who is struggling will see that it is possible to get sober, that it is possible to find something they can love doing, and that it is possible to achieve things they never thought they could.
Can you tell us about your biggest accomplishment in running?
As of now my biggest accomplishments in running are probably placing 25th at the Chicago Marathon, and running 1:05 in the Houston Half Marathon. I have big plans though. This December I will be shooting for a 2:16 marathon at the California International Marathon and to qualify for the United States Olympic Marathon Team Trials.
You are currently working as a realtor, and well as running high mileage on a weekly basis. What is your best tip for anyone out there trying to balance a working-and-family life with running?
I work full time as a Realtor here in Austin TX, I love it so much. It's definitely a grind but the people I've met and the work I've done definitely make it worth it. I still train hard, running 90-100 miles a week and soon to be more. My time management is very important. If I can, I try not to work past 5 or 6pm in order to rest and be present with my family. I wake up at 4:15 every morning. I start my day off with a core workout, head out for my run at 5:30 and I'm in the office by 8:30. If I could give a tip to anyone trying to balance work, training and family life... I would say, there is no job or workout worth missing out on spending time with the ones you love. I do my best in both but at the end of the day if I have to choose between work/training and my family, I choose my family every time.
What’s next up for Mitchell Ammons?
Next up, the California International Marathon in December!