Skip to main content

Mishka Shubaly: The Long Run To Sobriety

By April 20, 2013June 15th, 20238 Comments

Today on the podcast we GO DEEP.

In the short lifespan of this show, I’ve had the honor of interviewing a wide variety of incredible guests — paradigm busting thought leaders pushing the boundaries of conventional wisdom on a myriad of health & fitness related subject matters. But there is an elephant in the room.  I’ve been waiting for the right guest to get into the issue closest to my heart — addiction & recovery.

If you read my book you know my story.  But I have been reluctant to use the podcast to discuss in depth the most integral part of my life & struggle.  I suppose I was waiting for the right guest for the job.  Someone equipped to handle this kind of discussion.  Somebody who understands.

Well, I found him.  And when I say we go deep, I mean it’s intense.  Big love to Mishka for the willingness to be vulnerable; open and considered in his responses.  It takes courage to be so transparent, and he’s got it in spades.

In many ways, our stories are vastly different.  And yet they are exactly the same.  Alcoholism, struggle, recovery, writing, ultrarunning, redemption.  My long lost brother.  My peer.  My comrade in arms in the battle against the demon that wants both of us — and untold millions — drunk, imprisoned, institutionalized, and eventually dead.

Disclaimer: If you are stumbling onto this episode merely looking for training/nutrition tips, this interview might not be your cup of tea.  And if so, that’s fine.  But I also know for a fact that there are a lot of people out there that will glean insight and inspiration from Mishka’s redemptive journey.  All I can say is that I’m really proud of this interview.  And I hope you enjoy it.

NOTE: there are a few moments of explicit language in case you are language sensitive.

ANOTHER NOTE: The song used to bridge the intro to the interview? “The Only One Drinking Tonight,” by Mishka Shubaly from “How To Make A Bad Situation Worse”


If you like very good writing and quick easy reads, check out Mishka’s array of Kindle Singles.  Then thank me later.

The Long Run*


Bachelor Number One*

Are You Lonesome Tonight?*

Some other cool stuff from Mishka:

Mishka on The Moth: “Shipwrecked”

Mishka’s CNN iReport: “A Marathon for Boston”

Mishka on Twitter: @mishkashubaly

Mishka on Facebook

One more self-serving rant: the paperback version of  Finding Ultra*  is coming out on May 21.  Sure, that’s still a bit off in the distance, but it’s already up on Amazon.  Pre-order now by clicking  HERE*  and get it before it hits bookstores!

Thanks for listening!

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.


  • Steven says:

    Hej Rich,

    Great podcast as usual. I listened to it during a race. It amazes me how you were over 1 hour into the interview before you talked about running. Great stuff.

    I wanted to share with you something: I am 41, and about 18 months ago I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. The doctor did the usual and prescribed medication without any mention of food or exercise. I decided to take control of my health and prescribed strength training and distance running, and in more recent months have changed to a plant-based diet. You (and scott jurek) were big influences on these decisions. Yesterday I visited that same doctor, and I have reduced my blood pressure by 30 points. I have stopped taking one of the medications, and I hope to be off the other one in six months or so.

    When that doctor first prescribed medications to me, she said that I would be taking them for the rest of my life. This is simply not true and is an indication of the pharmaceutical trap that modern society lives in. High blood pressure is a message from our body that we need to change, and I have learned that I have the power to make this change naturally.

    I’m a big believer in medicine. We see miracles everyday that have been made possible by modern medicine. But I am a bigger believer in myself.

    Thanks for the help

  • Samuel says:

    Great discussion. I really hope Mishka starts owning his greatness. Otherwise the resistance he puts towards compliments will get too hard and he will turn to something to “blow off steam”. This very much resonates with me so I understand the low self esteem. Something comes easy to all of us and we can’t go around complaining, saying it needs to be as hard for me as it is for everyone else, or why doesn’t anyone else get it as easy as I do. This discussion was great for me to look in the mirror and hear how bad I sound.

  • Lucy says:

    awesome interview!
    thanks for going there, appreciate

  • Scott Ormond says:

    “Running for me is a way to embrace my life. I care about life. I care about my friends. I want to be here.”-Mishka Shubaly. That is profound and moving. It left a mark, caused me to reflect on why I run. It came to me, “I run to celebrate life.”- my life and all living things. So blessed to have quality people like you all in my life. I appreciate everything. Keep it up. scottyO-Aspen

  • Scott Ormond says:

    “If I wasn’t an alcoholic I’d get drunk every night.”- That made me roll Rich!! Thanks for the comedy as an added bonus. scottyO-Aspen

  • Blissfodder says:

    Stumbled onto both of you through a fb video post this am. Serendipity. Playing with the vegan/juicing lifestyle last year or so, which is leading to a slow, but organic transition into sobriety. I got a lot of validation from both of you. My desire to heal myself led me to return to my hometown to reconnect with the river. I started hiking and doing yoga, trying hard to eat clean and think clear- but it has all been fairy half ass-ed in practice. About a month ago I was repeatedly awakened by the loud speaker coming from the high school stadium across the street. It was 3 am the 3rd time it woke me up and it clicked, “Western States 100 mile trail runners are coming in”. Something compelled me to get out of bed and walk over there and I watched about 5 finishers cross the line. It was like watching the Olympics for me. I teared up and felt this powerful impulse to really commit to my own reinvention. I had a vision that I would turn my hikes into runs and make it my way ‘to embrace life’, as Mishka put it. I tried to transition into running for about a week then lost sight of my vision (and the pleasure it gave me to entertain it). I just want to thank you both for reigniting my passion to not just be sober – but to relish the adventure of discovering what my potential is. I look forward to learning more about you both. Thank you for your public display of vulnerability.

Leave a Reply