I’m John Howe, a 37 year old single father that lives in Eugene Oregon.
I was raised in the small town of Silverton, Oregon where I excelled in swimming and running as a youth. After High School I moved to Eugene to attended college at the University of Oregon where my new lifestyle involved an escalating amount of alcohol and drug use. After separating with my wife, this cycle of abuse spiraled out of control. By the end of 2007, I was severely depressed, overweight, and using on a daily basis. Quickly my life was pulling apart at the seams.
These years of addiction and alcoholism came to a head in 2008 when I was arrested on drug charges. Soon after, Children’s Services barred me from contact with my son. My life had hit rock bottom, and I felt I had dug myself into such a deep hole that there was no way out. My brother had recently died of heart disease at age 36, and I knew that If I was going to survive I needed to make drastic changes. So, I turned to running as a way to cope. At first I couldn’t complete a single mile, but I persevered.
Running opened the doors to a whole new life style for me. With daily exercise, my depression started to fade. Before long I was able to run much further, I started getting fit and eating healthy. To keep my edge I kept pushing myself towards tougher goals, and to my delight I found myself up to the task. In 2009 I completed the Portland Marathon. Next I set my sights on completing a triathlon which i accomplished in 2010. Two races later, I found myself competing at the USA Triathlon National Championships. Now I’m training to return to Nationals, but this time I have myself set on earning a coveted spot on Team USA Triathlon to represent The United States at the world championships in 2012.
I live a hectic life as a single dad. My son Robert is an amazing young man. At age 10 he is already an accomplished martial artist earning his purple belt in Taekwondo, and participates on their elite demo team. In school he is a member of the Talented and Gifted student program. But most important to me is that he is an incredible son. I cherish the time we spend together riding our mountain bikes, hiking local trails, and playing video games. Balancing the demands of being a father while working full time and training for triathlon is exhausting. But at every turn I find myself surrounded by amazing people whom are willing to make sacrifices to help me reach my goals. With their love and support I have found a life more fulfilling than I ever dreamed possible. The thing about hitting rock bottom is that it has a way of putting things in perspective.
Its painful and embarrassing to admit to the mistakes I’ve made. Part of me would very much like to bask in the glow of my accomplishments and keep the dark stuff locked up in the closet. But there was a time when I had lost hope for a better life and I know I’m not the only one to feel this way. I am ashamed of the things I did, but so proud of what I have made of myself since. I’m writing this triathlon blog to tell you that there Is always hope for a brighter day, you just have to make it happen.