Tim Davis is the author of “TRIPOLAR: The Story of a Bipolar Triathlete”, which chronicles his journey from childhood trauma into multiple addictions until finally recovering and discovering triathlons and ultrarunning as important tools to help him stay sober and in recovery.
He is a high school science teacher and coach in Los Angeles, CA. He’s happily married with 3 amazing children.
He has been competing and coaching in triathlons and endurance races for over two decades. He has completed 12 Ironman triathlons, seven 100-mile endurances runs, 1 double-ironman triathlon, and several 24 hour races. He is a strong and proud advocate for mental health and mental health awareness.
In this episode, we talk about addiction, bipolar disorder, how to balance spirit, mind, and body, and why this is important so that you can thrive, the use of training logs, and many other topics.
You can follow Tim on his website at www.ultratimdavis.com
Order your copy of “Tripolar – the story of a bipolar triathlete” on Amazon here:
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Marc: [00:00:00] Hey, Tim. Good to have you here. Welcome to the show.
Tim: [00:00:03] Hi, thanks for having me.
Marc: [00:00:04] Very welcome. I have read your book, obviously, tri polar the story of a bipolar athlete, and it starts with a very shocking story. Right? When you were 13, your dad died in a accident. And subsequently you’ve lived through a period of trauma childhood abuse, and even being blamed for your father’s death rights. Can you explain us what happened and how did you overcome these terrible times?
Tim: [00:00:37] sure. so when I was 13, you know, um, when the accident happened, um, you know, me and my sister were just playing with my dad. We were tickling each other and play and chase. And, um, my dad had been drinking all day.
It was a Saturday and, you know, he drank a lot on the weekends. Um, and my older brother and sister were off to work at their, you know, McDonald’s jobs. But anyway, um, he was chasing me. We ran out to the balcony and, uh, I ran down the balcony and back in the other entrance into the house and he tripped.
And, uh, I did not make the right turn back into the house and he fell, you know, Dover and landed head first and, you know, off the second story balcony down on our driveway below. And, uh, it was a really crazy nights. Uh, you know, my mom went into panic mode and my sister went into panic mode. We were all kind of shocked.
And my mom went off to the hospital with him. Um, he ended up being in a coma for eight months before he died. Um, but the night of the accident, when my brother came home late that night, cause he went to the hospital after you got to work. You know, he was the one who proceeded to yank me out of my bed around two or three in the morning and physically beat me up for over an hour, you know, just slammed me into every wall in the room, my bedroom, and kept punching on my everywhere except for my face, because he would never punch me in the face.
Cause then my parents would know, um, but you know, my arms, my chest, my legs kicking me and stomping on me, all kinds of stuff. And I was just caught up in the fetal position, you know, kind of. Yeah, just praying to God that this would end soon and just traumatized. Um, you know, when he was blaming me that it was my fault, our dad was going to die, you know, and he told me that, you know, with a lot of expletives, you know, like you F and killed, dad’s your fault and he’s going to die because, you know, at the hospital, they told us that he had broken his first four cervical vertebra.
And, um, if you break C1 and C2, you’re basically brain dead. Um, so that was not good. So we, we, we, I mean, Know, my mom held out hope that he might come out of the coma, but even the doctors were like, if he’d ever come out, he’s going to have to be on the full term life support machine and his brains, and they’re not going to, so that was rough.
And, uh, that’s kinda, um, you know, uh, It took me a long time to realize that it wasn’t my fault that he died. You age 13, with all that going on. I was just a kid. I didn’t know any better. I really thought it was my fault. And then I carried that cross with me for a long time. Um, and it led me into, you know, using drugs and alcohol to kind of cope because, uh, my wife or my mom never thought to get therapy for any of us.
Um, I mean, this was in the late eighties, I guess. Their mental health was not as, uh, widely promoted or in a positive manner, the way it is, you know, looked upon more now that we know more. So, um, yeah, that was, um, that was a rough journey and it wasn’t until, uh, after college. And when I tried to get sober after, you know, years of kind of drowning that out with drugs and alcohol, that I really dealt with it and went through therapy for four or five years to process it.
And I really come to terms with it. The fact that it wasn’t my fault. I was just a kid, you know, accidents happen that it was just an accident. And, uh, so yeah, it took a lot of 12 step work and therapy work to really come to terms and get over that
Marc: [00:03:39] Terrible times. I’m, I’m really still having literally tears in my eyes hearing that story, Tim.
And you are, you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder, right? Can you tell us a little bit more about what it is about and. what’s your specific type of bipolar disorder is?
Tim: [00:03:59] Yes. Um, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 27 after getting out of like my third rehab and just really being mentally unstable.
I was having anxiety attacks, um, and I was struggling with periods of depression. Uh, I’m a type two bipolar disorder, a rapid cycler, but type one is kind of like the severe manic depressive and, um, It’s just more severe than the type two. So I’m grateful. I’m not, I tell you one, but it’s still being a type two is tough because as a rapid cycler, you know, I can go through periods of really good moods and really low moods all in the course of a day.
I’m on regular mood stabilizers now, which help. Um, but it’s not the only thing that, that helps me stay stable, and in recovery. I think, you know, There’s not a lot of research about bipolar disorder. you know, I believe it’s genetic, but I think there’s also nature and nurture that causes it.
And I know for me, as I look back and reflect, I was always this anxious kid, from as early as I can remember, self-conscious and worried about what my peers thought about me ever since I started school, even in kindergarten. but I kinda think that traumatic accident, you know, at age 13, might’ve also kind of ignited sort of a bipolar split and definitely the drug use, you know, really excelled it, uh, later in my twenties.
Marc: [00:05:13] And then you have this long story about addiction being sober, relapsing, being sober again and so on. And then finally you found your. kind of therapy, not, not just in, in, in psychotherapy, but also in triathlon, in running ultra marathons and so on. And you also wrote a book about that. It’s called “Tri-polar – the story of a bipolar triathlete”.
So what triggered the desire in you to write a book about your story and your recovery?
Tim: [00:05:48] initially I think it was, during a triathlon I was doing in 2015. and actually it was, it was with several conversations I have with people here and there. whenever I didn’t talk about the story about my dad’s death very often, but you know, when I did talk about it with different people, there were quite a few who suggested, you know, that’s, that’s a crazy story, you know, maybe you should write a book about it, you know, and, and during 2015 I met this guy, Wayne Kurtz.
Who’s a amazing ultra triathlete. and he, you know, we were kind of in the middle of race and we were running some miles together and I was telling him the story and he’s like, man, you should write a book. And that’s when I really, really thought about trying to write a book about, you know, what had happened to me, what I’ve gone through and I’m where I’m at now to so maybe, uh, other people who have dealt with trauma and child abuse or addiction, alcoholism, Good hear this story and hopefully get some hope and inspiration from it.
cause I’m doing way better now that I, you know, have a stable recovery program and a regular exercise routine and I’m a functional member of society again. in my twenties, uh, I kind of went and out in and out of several different jobs when I couldn’t stay sober. I really never stayed at the same workplace for more than two years.
But after I got sober in 2007, I’ve been with the same employer for the last, uh, 13 years now. So, and that feels good to be stable on the same steady job, you know, because in my twenties, I just thought that was never going to happen. And I get depressed about that. You know, it was, it was, my twenties were some dark years.
Marc: [00:07:06] Yeah. And that was a long journey for you with so many UPSes, um, being sober for a week to a couple of months and then falling back into it, right?
Tim: [00:07:19] Yeah. I like to say that I’m a quick study, but a slow learner.
Marc: [00:07:22] Okay. Yeah. But I guess that, that addiction is a slow process, right?
Tim: [00:07:28] Generally yeah.
Marc: [00:07:29] I’ve been there twice in my life. With alcohol, not really being addicted, but you know, at a point where, ou know, like around noon time, when things pop up in my head now beer would be great. You know, that’s for me, it’s a warning sign and that’s basically when I stopped totally to, to, to consume any, any alcohol, but generally it’s a slow process.
How was that, you know, like coming up with you, how did it start all together?
Tim: [00:07:54] How did it start out with me while I was eight years old when I had my first drink, I had an older brother. He was four years older than me, so he was in middle school or junior high, whatever you call it over there. and, uh, he was getting into stuff and how it was his next youngest brother.
So he just let me do what he was doing and I want it to be cool, like the older kids and I didn’t know any better. So, you know, And I did know that like once I took that first drink, it made me feel better. Um, cause I was always kind of an anxious, insecure kid, just like nervous and worried about what other kids thought about me.
But, but when I drank and, and then started smoking weed shortly after that, I just didn’t care. You know, I felt confident and, you know, like I didn’t really care what people thought about me and I just felt like I could do anything. And so, so I sought to get drunk and high quite a bit, you know, obviously as a young shot, it wasn’t doing it every day.
Um, it progressed, as I got older, and it wasn’t until I was 25, when I really first thought about getting sober. When my, when my wife was pregnant with that first kid, I was like, Oh crap. I got some real responsibilities coming. Now I gotta try and do something about this, but then it took another five years before I, I kind of really got a handle on it.
There were five years there where I might get 30 days, or I might get 90 days, there might even get the six month chip, you know, and I was going in and out of meetings and rehabs, but then I would, I, even one time I got a year, but then 10 days after I got a year sober, I thought I could have one drink, which turned into like a three month relapse.
Um, yeah, so it took me a while to really hit bottom. I kind of hit a bunch of bunch of bottoms until I finally really got sick and tired of being sick and tired of, they say,
Marc: [00:09:24] From what you write in the book that’s so true.
Tim: [00:09:28] Yeah.
Marc: [00:09:30] Dark time. So. So reading, reading that book, I think that anyone suffering from bipolar disease or bipolar disorder and any sort of addiction. should definitely read that. I think it’s a really very valuable resource, but besides that, it’s a great book also to understand these diseases and it could certainly also help people who are codependent, right.
And who want to support their partner, a family member, or a friend.
Tim: [00:10:01] Yes, I have a chapter five or six is basically called a Mariah, which is my wife’s name and she’s a codependent. And she goes to Alanon and she’s a big part of my story. She stood by me through thick and thin and, uh, and, uh, she’s actually right.
I recommended to some of her Alanon sponsees and they’ve read it. And it’s been very helpful for them. Uh, definitely I think helpful for not only people who suffer with it, but for family members of people who suffer with mental health issues or addictions.
Marc: [00:10:29] Yeah, there was this long period when, I was reading your book and Mariah was mentioned the first time.
And, uh, I thought like it’s one times, two times, three times terms relapsing and B I don’t say it’s here, but, you know, uh, I just figured she would at one point be so sick and tired with you. That, at one point in the book, there should be another woman, but no, she’s stuck with you. She’s still sticking with you.
You’re happily married. You’ve got kids and that’s, that’s amazing, amazing woman, very glad person to have you with.
Tim: [00:11:06] I am lucky and blessed. She’s definitely my better half. Uh, there were a few times when she came pretty close to leaving me. Um, and, but, uh, she had even asked her sponsor an Alanon, you know, she wanted to leave and she, she, you know, sponsors kind of give you advice and direction on how to work your program and her sponsor advisor to, uh, to hang on, wait for the miracle to happen.
And I’m so glad that our sponsor did that. You know, cause eventually, you know, a couple of years later it, it did happen. I finally got sober and things have been much better ever since. And uh, she’s bad. She’s grateful. She waited around, you know, and now we’ve been together 27 years.
Marc: [00:11:40] That’s great. 27 years I’ve read obviously, but for our listeners, what happened that made you actually really go to stop and become sober for the very last time. And at that time that lasts now.
Tim: [00:11:56] Yeah Well, there were a couple of things. Um, when I was like 27 or 28, um, I had, uh, you know, I was up for a week on methamphetamine and then I was driving with my little brother and we were high.
I was, I was 27. He was 16 and I crashed the car and, uh, You know, he didn’t have a seatbelt on and his head went through the windshield and he kinda got a broken nose and a black eye. And, uh, that was the first time when I realized that what I was doing could hurt somebody else. So I immediately checked into rehab after that and stayed sober for like six months.
And then the other thing was after my last relapse, you know, I had kinda been homeless living out of my car for a couple months. Cause my wife said, you know, if you, if you can’t stay sober, you can’t live here. So, you know, I didn’t really, nobody else really wanted me around at the time cause I was a mess.
Um, and I, you know, I couldn’t stay employed. I kept losing job after job. And, uh, anyway, I, uh, I ended up, you know, finally checking into rehab again, and my sponsor at the time he took me to a funeral. And, uh, the guy there had 15 years sober, but then he relapsed and died a week later. Um, and then he took me back to my sober living house and he’s like, you know, but for the grace of God there go, I, you know, we have a disease that wants to kill us.
You know, alcoholism is fatal. Um, it kills a lot of people. Most people don’t get sober. And then he told me to look about it and all the other guys in the rehab with me. And he’s like, all those guys are just a bunch of dead men walking. And he’s like, you, you know, you know what, you can die from this disease too.
And your wife and your kids will be sad, but they’ll move on. She’ll find another man to replace you and to be the father, to your children. And kind of when he laid all that out on me, I want to realize that this disease could kill me and that I did not want anybody to replace, you know, You know, me being the husband and my wife and the father to my children, you know, and I didn’t want to do the same thing to my kids.
Cause my dad died from, you know, an alcoholic related accident when he was, when I was 13. So all of that just like motivated me to like, okay, God, please help me. You know, I’m really gonna try and do all 12 steps and really do all 12 steps. And. And that was like when I had that awareness.
Marc: [00:13:52] Yeah. I guess sometimes it’s the way it takes us to, you know, like really being confronted with our own deaths.
So. Like really literally, I mean, we all know that one day is going to be the last one. Right. But it’s so far out. And even, you know, like I, I was a smoker for many, many, many years. I started when I was 12 years old for life circumstances. I needed to be the cool kid on the block. Right. So I, you know, like cigarettes was that thing.
Right. So, so there’s a kind of similarity, but then I didn’t do any of the hard drug stuff. And then that’s on song, but. You know, as, as a smoker, you’ll you, you know, that you’re increasing your risk of lung cancer and all that, but you know, when it comes to stop the, consequences of your actions, that’s so far out in the future that you actually discount that.
Right. So that, that’s that a funeral and, and, and that’s speech. So to say of your, of your sponsor at the time that that really was triggering your mindset change, right?
Tim: [00:14:54] Yeah, definitely.
Marc: [00:14:55] And, what would you say what may you know, like becoming sober again, as one of those processes, right?
You’re, you’re stuck into your habits. You’re stuck into the, and, and, and until the highs that the stuff is giving you, what would you say. About, you know, like getting out of there. What are the key things that, that helps you really get out of there?
Tim: [00:15:18] Um, well, aside from going to 12 step meetings every day for about the first five years of my sobriety, working the 12 steps and, you know, seeing my psychiatrist regularly, uh, I would say exercise, that’s kinda like my, my mission, her mission statement for writing this book is that, you know, regular exercise is critical for maintaining good mental health.
Cause I know for me, if I go more than a couple of days without doing some sort of exercise, I just feel like cranky and restless and irritable. And I just. My mood is not in a good place, but if I just go even do 30 minutes of cardio on a bike or run or swim, then I feel better. And my mood’s lifted, you know, those hormones are released and I feel normal again.
Marc: [00:15:57] Yep. Yeah, I can. So correlate with that. I’m doing those sports normally. Well, I’m not a triathlete, but you know, like doing weight lifting and stuff like that.
Tim: [00:16:06] it doesn’t matter what sport it is, as long as you’re doing something to kind of get your muscles moving and get your blood flowing, you know?
Marc: [00:16:13] Yeah, exactly. So what, what drove you into this infernal tria … triathletism … triathlon
Tim: [00:16:21] I like that word triathletletism. I think it’s a new one. I like that. I might use that. Um, what drove me into. Well, when I was a year and a half sober, you know, like in my first year of sobriety, basically my sponsor, my therapist, all my friends and the 12 step meetings were like, don’t worry about what you eat.
You know, just, just stay sober, stay off the drugs and alcohol. So I basically ate like a pig because I’m kind of a food addict too. And I ended up gaining like 60 pounds in my first year sober. And then when I was a year and a half sober, you know, I’m only five foot nine and I hated being over 200 pounds, you know, and I was around 200 for a long time.
But then when I stepped on the scale and it said 250, I remember that was December 31st, 2008. It was new year’s Eve of 2009. I was just. I kind of just like, Whoa, this rounds up to 300. I’m like, I don’t want to go that way. And I just, I made a new year’s resolution to stop eating seconds, uh, to start going to the gym or exercising every day.
And then I had a rule I wasn’t allowed to watch TV or play video games until I did my exercise every day, because, you know, before it was a year and a half, when I wasn’t going to meetings and I wasn’t working, I was just sitting on the couch, playing video games or watching TV, you know, and it just. It’s just a couch potato.
So I made a commitment. You can’t chill out on the couch, so you’ve done your workout first. So,
Marc: [00:17:37] And what did, I mean, okay. That sounds like a new year’s resolution, right? I did do it for a week and then you fall off the wagon and you know, like everything’s gone. So
Tim: [00:17:45] Yeah. Yeah.
Marc: [00:17:45] Helping you to actually stay with it.
Tim: [00:17:48] I just, I don’t know. I really let my anger, like, just channel this drive to like, not be fat anymore. Cause you know, I was depressed because I was overweight and I was angry and I just didn’t like who I was. I didn’t like, you know, my head, a negative self image. Um, so trying to, you know, just keep my eye on the prize and know that if I just keep doing a little bit, every day, gradually it’ll come off, you know, and little by little, you know, four months later I lost 40 pounds.
Six months later, I lost it all. And I was back to running half marathons again, because I had run a few marathons in college. But then, you know, when I got out of college now I got away from all that stuff with drinking and using and having kids. And, but then I got back into it and I just, I dunno, I just had a passion for it.
You know, I try to try out on a few months later and I was like, I did way better than I thought I would, you know, I mean, Probably really not that good in the grand scheme of things, but, you know, I got 16th in my age division, which I thought was amazing. Cause I thought I was going to get last place. So I was like, if I, if I really tried this stuff, I can get better.
So I just like, you know, I ended up buying the gear and you know, like, because like the first triathlon I went to, I had this old rusty mountain bike and I was wearing basketball shorts because I was a basketball player for years and I just had a cracked helmet and all these other guys are in there and they’re like, they got these tight arrow bars and these helmets, you know, and they’re like, Hopefully glasses and that’s yeah.
Skin tight suits. And I’m like, geez, look at all these freaks. Yeah, little did I know a few months later I was going to be dressing just like those guys.
Marc: [00:19:10] Exactly. Yeah. You have to, right. So it’s basically having, having that, you know, two things that, that you’ve basically said, one is to get away from who you were, right.
You said you were sick and tired of being fat of being untrained and all that. And then to have that picture of yourself to be, as you have been before, like being able to run a half marathon or a marathon. So these, these still things actually, right? The combination of the two that they’d be away from.
Tim: [00:19:42] I wanted to get back in shape and fit into my high school clothes again, because they know in high school, I played a lot of sports and in college I ran the marathons and played a lot of basketball. And actually at that time I had to stop playing basketball cause I was 35 and my knees were just, uh, couldn’t handle all the twisting and turning anymore.
I can jog great, but I just can’t, you know, in basketball, you gotta stop fast. You gotta turn right fast. And I just, like, I’ve had two knee surgeries and my knees just don’t do that very well anymore. And it hurts a lot. So I kind of retired from basketball at age 35. And now I just stick to these, you know, less high-impact sports, I guess,
Marc: [00:20:16] like running up the triathlon on yeah, yeah.
Tim: [00:20:18] Running, swimming, biking, you know, some people say running is heavy impact, but you know, if you’re just jogging in a straight line.
Marc: [00:20:24] So the considered life is about, , how to lead a considered life. , and my definition of a considered life is a life that is intentional, that is reflected, and that is sustainable. as opposed to just drifting along. Just doing whatever you like and regretting what you did afterwards, because that happens to all of them.
And, and also what I’ve found many of the so-called performance coaches, they are teaching people or they are coaching people into going at maximum speed all day long. Right.
Tim: [00:20:59] Yeah.
Marc: [00:21:00] And that’s not sustainable. So one of, one of my principles is like, surprisingly, I’m a performance coach as well, but surprisingly, like be kind to yourself, don’t overdo it.
Right. Because that is going to lead in into trouble. Right. So if you, if you have a predisposition to seek a high. In order to compensate, you know, like too much work or a bad mood or anger that you have because you are you’re too stressed or whatever, then you are at least address to drop off.
Right. Or I have many people going into burnout without noticing, right. Because you’re just doing too much. And then maybe you’re running a marathon and then you are so high from running a marathon that you run like immediately continuing the second, third, the fourth one without stopping.
Then you just fall dead and, and that’s kind of fandom in them. Right. But that’s why
it’s here. Relate with them.
Tim: [00:21:59] I’m an exercise addict now and I have pushed my body to some extremes, but, um, I have also kind of suffered from what’s called over-training syndrome. So I’m pushing my body too hard, where I’ve had to kind of my cortisol levels and my kidney were so low that I basically had to take two weeks to two months off of just really laying low to let, let things recharge.
So, uh, I, you know, I don’t encourage that and I wouldn’t promote that a hundred podcasts because I, you know, I often say one of the most elusive things in life to do is to achieve balance. Um, but for me, I do believe I’ve achieved a balance between what I call the connection between the mind body and spirit, you know, and for me, taking care of my mind is I meditate every day and I listen to what my psychiatrist says.
Uh, taking care of the spirit for me is, uh, the spiritual connection I get from going to 12 step meetings and working the 12 steps. Cause that’s like my church for me and running in nature. Cause I feel like I’m connected with God when I’m trail running is my favorite thing to do. So I just love being out in the local mountains and trails.
And that’s the third thing I do is extra regular exercise, but maybe not as much exercises I do, but I just encourage people to do some form of regular exercise. Even if it’s just walking around the block a few times, you know, just something where you get your body moving a little bit every day. That’s right.
So many of us just have sedentary jobs where we sit in a desk all day, you know, you got to get up and move around a little bit. Your body needs that and your mind needs it.
Marc: [00:23:19] So it’s about, and, and, and that’s, that’s very good way to set it. It’s like the, the connection between mind, spirit, and soul, right.
To have this, connection, the balance. And one thing that, didn’t come out in the book, actually you’re meditating every day.
Tim: [00:23:35] Yeah, that’s just something I really started doing in the last year or two I’ve kind of felt like I was meditating when I was running and training, but now I actually do sit still meditation because I have different people who argue about ways you can meditate.
Some people think you can meditate while you exercise some people I don’t. But my kind of spiritual guru has encouraged me to do sitting still medication. Cause I be in the bipolar person, I have a lot of hypomania, so I’ve kind of when I’m up, I’m up, you know? And so that’s to try and kind of help me.
Marc: [00:24:04] When you were doing that for the past year or so, how, what, what’s the change that you actually notice?
Tim: [00:24:10] Um, I noticed actually more peace, just more inner peace, like things that used to bother me. Like w when I’m driving on the freeway and somebody cuts me off before I used to get mad.
I mean, when I was younger, I used to get mad and flip them off. And then I used to just smile and wave like a smart ass, but now I’m just like, whatever, they’re in more of a hurry, I’d rather be safe. You go ahead and get in front of me if that’s what you need. You know? So I just noticed like more patients into arts and with my kids too, I have three kids.
And they’re 21, 19 and eight. And, um, you know, it’s funny the 21 year old and eight year olds, sometimes they get along great, you know, but then sometimes they fight, like they’re like siblings fight. And so, you know, now I just, I take deep breaths and I know that, you know, a lot of times they can work it out themselves, you know, and sometimes I need to intervene, but, you know, I just, uh, I’m more relaxed about all of it, you know, I just like.
You know, this too shall pass. So
Marc: [00:25:04] yeah. It’s like you’re more centered, right? You’re more connected also to yourself.
Tim: [00:25:10] Yeah. And then I felt like that can help me be a better service to other people around me too, because you know, I can be the voice of common reason in the face of a storm, even if it’s just a little storm.
Yeah. Sometimes a little storm can be perceived as a large one. Right.
So you already have it for the little person. Yeah.
Marc: [00:25:28] let’s come back to the balance between mind, body, and spirit for a moment, because that seems really important to you. Can you tell us more about that?
Tim: [00:25:37] I’m like a big promoter of trying to take care of your mind, body and spirit.
Um, it wasn’t until I learned how to do those things, um, in, um, conjunction or cohesion with each other that, uh, I kind of became. Steadily, um, stable and sane, my sobriety and recovery. Um, and you know, that’s kind of why I called the book tri polar, um, cause you’ve got to take care of the mind, body and spirit.
I really like Trinity’s, you know, three, the Holy number. Um, I like triathlons, you swim, bike run. Um, and for me to take care of my, my mind, I see my psychiatrist regularly early on. It was like every couple of week or two weeks, you know, and then it was every month and now it’s just, I have a quarterly checkup.
Because I’ve been stable 13 years. Um, so that’s part of taking care of my mind and just stay an educated about mental health issues. Um, taking care of my spirit for me is working my 12 step programs cause that’s like going to church for me and also, um, getting out in nature, um, which is also the third part, taking care of my body.
Um, regular exercise every day, at least 30 to 60 minutes of something. Um, you know, and obviously as an endurance athlete, quite a bit more than that on the weekends and, and some other training sessions. Um, but being out in nature, um, I feel like I’m connected with God there. So it’s not only taking care of my body by running and hiking in the mountains, but it’s also, uh, you know, taking care of my spirit by just feeling like I’m out there connected with God and mother nature
Marc: [00:27:01] And for you.
This has contributed, a big part to your recovery from addiction as well, right?
Tim: [00:27:09] Yeah. That is correct. I don’t think I could stay sober and recover without being able to do some form of exercise. You know, his, uh, the mood stabilizers weren’t enough. Like I still had some anxiety and, uh, manic thoughts, you know, racing, thoughts.
That’s bipolar people. We have, you know, especially when we’re a manic episodes, we can talk a mile a minute. It sounds like we’re on drugs, but we’re not. And so, you know, taking the stabilizer slows it down some, but the regular exercise really helps kind of keep me. I guess even in normal, my wife can tell if I’m on more than two days without doing some exercise, she’s like you’re really cranky and restless and irritable and discontent.
You need to go work out,
Marc: [00:27:49] go have a run and then come back,
Tim: [00:27:53] go do your little five mile run. I have this thing when I’m lazy. And I was like working out, I’ve got to at least do five miles or it doesn’t count. So she’s like, go do your five miles at least. So,
Marc: [00:28:01] yeah.
The mind – body – spirit connection is, is really important.
And I think I see that when dealing with people, in my coaching practice as well, right. Typically people are coming with any issue around, it’s not like mainly professional performance, uh, when they’re stuck in, in, in the workplace, on, on specific topics. But then when it goes a little bit deeper, We always come to this Trinity, as you say between, there’s not just a.
The work issue. It also has this systemic connection to, you know, the personal life. And then when you try to work with them through the process of remediating, you always come to the point where, okay, what’s your nutrition like, what’s your lifestyle like, are you meditating? Do you taking care of your mind of your spirit?
So, you know, it’s, it’s really, really important.
Tim: [00:29:01] Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned meditation too. I try to do for at least 10 minutes a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less, sometimes more than once. You know, I’ll just do a few minutes here and there. And when there’s time, you know, cause we live busy lives and I’ve got three kids.
Um, so sometimes it’s just sitting in the car for a couple of minutes, taking some deep breaths wherever I can fit it in now.
Marc: [00:29:21] That’s helps the breath to bring down the sympathetic nervous system.
Tim: [00:29:25] Yeah. And for me, that helped calm down my, my anxiety, which I still get, you know, being bipolar just kicks up a lot and just sometimes I have no idea what causes it.
Marc: [00:29:35] And it’s just like, it’s triggered by no particular thing. Right. It just pops up in your body and it’s there and then you have to deal with it, right?
Tim: [00:29:45] Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, so it’s either the quickest thing I can do is introduce deep breaths or, or, you know, or go exercise, which really helps, you know, kind of reduce my anxiety.
Cause then it, after you get a workout in, it feels like it kind of goes away or at least slows down. So
Marc: [00:30:01] yeah. What would you say are, you know, like average Joe, um, wants to go into triathlon or into longer distance running? What would be your recommendations for a person like me? For example, not a big runner.
Tim: [00:30:19] I guess my recommendation for anybody is to first and foremost, start where you’re at. Um, so, uh, I, you know, for an average Joe I don’t know what kind of other exercise they may do. Maybe they don’t run it all and maybe they play racquetball basketball or pike, or who knows what sport they’re into.
But, uh, if you want to get into triathlon, you know, start out with the small steps, um, sprint triathlons. Or, you know, running five K’s short distance races, and then, you know, train for that, um, you know, one mile at a time and then build your way up from there. That’s kind of what I had to do in 2009 when I, uh, was really overweight.
And, uh, before I really got into the fitness aspect of my recovery, because I, we used to weigh 250 pounds back at the beginning of 2009, and then I lost 60 pounds in six months. Um, but I started out that first week. I just trying to run a mile and it took me 12 minutes and I was. Pretty depressed and angry because in high school, the mile was my event and I used to run it under five minutes, but I was like, okay, this is where I’m at.
You know, I’m just going to keep running one mile every day. And, you know, eventually I’ll get faster. The weight will come off, you know, and, you know, cause I, I also seriously modified my eating habits too. Cause I had some. Horrible eating habits when I first got sober. Um, so those were all big components.
And eventually, you know, six months later, I’m running a half marathon in under two hours, you know, but it doesn’t, I didn’t go to running a half marathon that first day at sort of 50 pounds. I mean, maybe I could crawl my way through it in four or five hours, but,
Marc: [00:31:45] And I think that’s a very important message here to give to anybody who wants.
To implement whatever change, right? Whether you are starting to run long distances or starting to sport, whatever sport you’re doing, um, it’s, it’s just start where you are. It’s not like don’t compare yourself with, I don’t know, the Olympic runners and don’t compare yourself with Tim Davis because you know, like he’s at a total different level, but it’s like, what’s your level today.
And then. Evolve it from there. Take one step after the other and compare yourself to your, to yourself of yesterday and improve step-by-step right?
Tim: [00:32:30] Right. Yeah. And I mean, unless you’re a professional athlete, you don’t need to compare yourself to anybody. And for me as an amateur, triathlete and dura has been there for many years.
The, I mean, in my thirties when I really got into it, you know, I, I didn’t really compare myself to other people. I, I just looked at my own times, you know, and the only person I had to beat was myself or my previous best time, you know, and I chased personal Rutgers for a long time now in my mid to late forties, um, I’m not getting any faster.
So now I’m just kind of out there having fun, which is actually more relaxing because I just go out there and do the race and get the finish line and get my medal. And it’s like, I’m good to go. You know? And some of the reasons I do are really long. So just finishing is a battle in itself.
Marc: [00:33:06] You are doing those ultra triathlons as well and Badwater and all this crazy stuff?
Tim: [00:33:11] Uh, I do would, would like to do Badwater it’s got an expensive race fee and they only take a hundred entrants every year. Um, but it is on my radar. Um, so, and I have done the Angeles crest, a hundred mile endurance run twice and the Kodiak hundred mile endurance run. And, uh, I’m actually signed up for the Tahoe 200 mile endurance run next September.
Which would be my first attempt at that long of a distance, trying to run 200 miles in four and a half days. So
Marc: [00:33:40] you still have those two years to prepare rights. So that’s
Tim: [00:33:43] really
Marc: [00:33:46] great. So importance about connection between mind body spirit. Starting where you are just getting the better version of yourself every day and not trying to get anybody’s else’s better version of anybody right?
Just keep yourself in focus. Yeah.
Tim: [00:34:05] Gotta be your best self set, small goals that are attainable and achievable. And, uh, don’t beat yourself up. If you don’t get out there and walk or run a mile one day, maybe you’re too busy. Just get out there the next day and start over. Start over here at that day, you know?
Marc: [00:34:20] So yeah. Do something.
Tim: [00:34:22] Yeah, I think a lot of people start with these new year’s resolutions. You know, the gyms are always really packed in January, but by February it already dies off again. And me as a person who goes to the gym a lot to swim and do weights, uh, I kind of get, I kind of get a little frustrated because the gym is really crowded during that month, you know?
And I’m like, where are you guys? The rest of the year? And then I actually get happier in February when it’s less crowded and I can find a parking spot, but I mean, as somebody who’s trying to promote fitness, I should encourage everybody to stay out there all year and, you know, deal with it. The extra people, but it’s kind of nice when the gym is less crowded after, after all the people give up on their new year’s resolutions disappear.
And I wish they wouldn’t honestly for their own selves, you know, just start over again in February. Don’t wait to get into a whole nother year.
Marc: [00:35:04] Yeah. And pay another entire year of gym just use a month or two, which is crazy.
Tim: [00:35:09] They make a lot of money off the people who don’t show up at the guy at my gym.
He’s like, yeah, 90% of our clients never show up. They’re paying our business. So we, we love that. They’re, they’re paying for the memberships.
Marc: [00:35:22] Exactly. Right. And one of the things that, that we actually want to also mention here is the importance of consistency, right? It doesn’t necessarily mean that go from zero to seven days, two hours per day, but.
You know, like make a plan and stick to the plan, like start with like three times running or whatever sports per week, and then, you know, take it from there. But if you say I’m going to go three times, you go three times and that’s better than saying, I go seven times and then you go just two of them.
Tim: [00:35:58] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Um, set, like set something that’s smart, attainable, realistic, you know, um, most people live really busy lives and work a lot of hours. So yeah, three times a week is reasonable. Yeah. Just thinking you’re going to go seven days, times, you know, seven days a week. I think for a lot of people, they think that, and then they don’t do it and then they just get depressed and kind of give up or whatever.
So, yeah, definitely. Set realistic goals, you know, and then if it had drives you, you know, in three days a week, it’s easy and you feel like you could do more than you can build the four or five, if that’s something that you desire and you want to keep improving and going longer or further or hard or whatever your goals are.
Marc: [00:36:37] Yeah. And then you also mentioned the importance on keeping a log, right? It’s right down the, the training sessions that you have, what you did, how much you did, how long you ran, or how much weight you lifted. Right. And I think that’s really important.
Tim: [00:36:54] Yeah, very important. I mean, I think, uh, for me ever since 2009, I’ve kept a little notebook in my car and I write down every workout I do, and having gotten to triathlons, you know, it’d be like, okay, I swam, you know, 2000 yards a day or I spend 4,000 yards a day and I just get, you know, one, one line, each page, you know, or 10 miles biking or 50 miles biking, whatever it was.
And then I could go through and kind of see where I was at. And it’d be like, Also for me to avoid burnout. I could see like, Oh look, you’ve done three hard weeks in a row. You should kind of do a recovery week for people who train to do long distance stuff. You can’t just go out there and grind all the time.
Are you going to burn out? So you have the general cycle for endurance athletes is kind of three hard weeks and then one recovery week. And especially if you’re training year round,
Marc: [00:37:38] Yeah, and I think that’s also important, whatever sports you do, you know, I I’m, I’m more, uh, no, the, uh, weightlifting and fitness area, but also they’re you do these kinds of macrocycles across several weeks.
And then within, within the week you have heavy days, you have lighter days, you have recovery days and so on you can’t just. Grind out, five days a week on, on maximum power, maximum performance. Even if you do muscle groups splits or whatever. Right. So cycled through and, and learn from, learn from your mistakes as well.
Right. And that’s why it’s so important to keep a log as well.
Tim: [00:38:15] Yeah. I think, uh, yeah, keeping a log is great because you know what you’ve been doing, you know, when you need to maybe let up a little, so your body can recover, you know, when maybe you need to be pushing a little harder, cause you’ve been slacking off too much.
It just, uh, it it’s, uh, I guess a thermometer or whatever it takes to gauge where you’re at.
Marc: [00:38:33] Yeah. Right. And, and the other thing is, what I’ve found is in, I had times when I was, you know, not keeping a log because I thought, you know, like I’m just training for fun. I don’t need that. Right. But then there is something missing and that’s something missing for me at least is the self accountability.
Tim: [00:38:50] Yeah.
Marc: [00:38:51] If I keep a log, right. I’ve write down every training. And then if there is no training written down on a particular day, I, I just wasn’t training. Right. And then when I, when I go through, it’s like, I should not, not train. I should have something in the log there. Right. And that’s kind of an additional motivation to go there so that you can actually maintain your training streak or whatever.
Tim: [00:39:15] Right. Yeah. I know some people are really into the streaks. So, you know, I know some runners that want to do, you know, when I have this running streak every day and there’s some guys that have it, like going on a thousand days where they at least ran one mile every day on it. Even on the days, they don’t feel like running.
They’ll get out there and at least do a mile and a half long streaks for me as a triathlete. I don’t, I don’t, you know, and having two knee surgeries, I take at least a couple of days off a week from running. Just let the knees recover from the heavy impact. And then I cross train on those days. So.
Marc: [00:39:43] Yeah, I think that’s very important.
I mean, I, at times when I was training, literally seven days per week for one or two hours, right. And I cycled through like having light days and just stays on the “dreadmill” or whatever, you know, like when I,
Tim: [00:39:57] I call it the “dreadmill” too. I love that. I hate the treadmill. I used to use it alive, but you know, for speed work, but now it’s just like, I just want to be running outside with the fresh air.
Marc: [00:40:09] it’s, it’s a, you know, just, just go there because typically when I run outside, I run too fast. But if I, if I want to keep my, my heart rate, like in the 100, so 120ies, because I’m pretty much untrained. I’m not, I’m not the big endurance athlete. It’s more like weightlifting my sports, but, you know, so I go on, on the treadmill and, um, do an hour or whatever.
But, uh, if, if, if in, in those times when I don’t go go to the gym, like every day I’m getting crazy.
Right. I really had to scale it
back because it was not just a habit. It was becoming, uh, nearly an addiction. Right. And that’s the other thing you can get there, like being addicted to run or being addicted to work out.
Right. Which is not the worst addiction you can have, admittingly.
Tim: [00:40:58] Yeah. My Friends and family told me, uh, you know, when I got sober and started doing this stuff, they’re like, you know, we’re glad you finally found a positive, healthy addiction besides, you know, the drugs and alcohol and the other things I was doing.
So, uh, I think, and also for people who are serious about getting better at whatever their sport might be, whatever their fitness goals are, you kind of have to be a little obsessive because it helps you stay consistent, though. If you’re you kind of addicted or assess it to it, then it’ll keep you on however many days a week.
You want to stick to getting out there and working out weightlifting or whatever your sport is.
Marc: [00:41:31] Yeah, I think it’s, it’s part of those, uh, useful and healthy routines and habits that one can develop, because I think we all need what’s mean to them habits. They give us structure and they give us something we can hold upon.
Tim: [00:41:45] Right. Yeah.
Marc: [00:41:46] And as that can be the, uh, Detrimental habits and destructive habits. There’s also the ones on the positive side that we need to then consciously nourish and develop, right?
Tim: [00:42:04] Right. I totally agree.
Marc: [00:42:07] Tim, when people want to know more about you and your book, you have a website, right?
Tim: [00:42:15] Yes. It’s ultratimdavis.com.
Marc: [00:42:18] And the book again, to remember it’s “Tripolar – the story of a bipolar athlete”. It’s available on Amazon, right?
Tim: [00:42:27] Yeah. It’s available on Amazon, Apple books, Barnes and noble Indy books, a few other distributors it’s available in paperback, Kindle or ebook and a audio book. So I know for me, I like to listen to audio books when I’m out running or cycling for a long time.
And I killed two birds with one stone by listening to podcasts or audio books instead of just music the whole time. So.
Marc: [00:42:50] Perfect. So we are going to put all those links into the show notes so that people can actually refer to and download from there.
Tim: [00:42:57] Yeah.
Marc: [00:42:58] So Tim was a great time talking with you. Thanks a lot for having been here.
Wish you all success your future endeavors, including the Lake Tahoe in the next September.
Tim: [00:43:11] Yeah.
that one scares me, but I always say if your dreams don’t scare you, then you’re not dreaming big enough. So
Marc: [00:43:18] That’s a good final quotes. Thank you. Have a good time. Enjoy it.
Tim: [00:43:24] Thanks for having me.
Marc: [00:43:26] you, Tim. Bye bye.
All right, bye.