“I’m a member of the New York Road Runners,” says Carl, proudly. He made it into the NYC Marathon “the old-fashioned way—I raced in nine [NYRR] road races, then volunteered in one.”
Quite a change for a guy who, until a few years ago, was a chain smoker who would spend half his day drinking and the other half recovering so he could drink some more. And along the way he had an on-and-off relationship with pop star Lady Gaga. It was all tremendous fun, Carl says...until it wasn’t.
“I was pushing 30 and I knew that I had to get out,” he recalls. “I wasn’t obese or anything. I was just a bartender who drank too much and ate like [expletive]. I just said, This is enough.
“Everything started with the run.”
“The run” happened on a dark, frigid night in February 2008, when Carl decided to jog from his Brooklyn, New York, apartment to a pier in Red Hook, a mile-something away, and then back home.
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“I wore old, crappy basketball shoes,” he says. “I didn’t know any better. I just said to myself, You know what, dude, just go down there and come back and who cares how long it takes.”
That first run, he says, “sucked.” But two days later, he did it again.
Carl chronicles his journey from self-described “out of shape, bloated [expletive]” to self-taught runner in his book, The Drunk Diet: How I Lost 40 Pounds...Wasted (St. Martin’s Press, 2012). It’s part memoir, part nutrition-and-fitness primer, part self-help guide—all of it brutally frank, and most of it profane. (Chapter 1: “How the [expletive] Did I Get Fat?”)
“I’d read basically every diet book in the bookstore,” Carl recalls. “I was standing there with the 25th book in my hand, like, Okay, am I really gonna buy another [expletive] book that’s just going to say the same things over and over—you can’t drink, you can’t do this? I just threw my hands up and said, ‘I’m going to write my own damn book and call it The Drunk Diet.’”
And so he did.
The Drunk Diet isn’t a running book, and doesn’t claim to be—Carl, who has now lost 55 pounds (down to 165), devotes just one chapter to running, and his advice boils down to, “Just put your [expletive] shoes on and go”—but make no mistake. Luc Carl is the real deal. He broke four hours in his first marathon, Las Vegas in 2010, then got his PR down to 3:27 at the 2012 New Jersey Marathon. His goal is a 3:19 at this year’s New York. Then a Boston qualifier at NYC 2013 (he’ll need a 3:05). Then, Boston 2014.
“Running is the most important thing in Luc’s life,” says his friend Josh Wright, a fellow marathoner and rock ’n’ roll aficionado. “He says that all the time.”
Not that Carl has forgotten his rock roots. In addition to his SiriusXM hosting gigs on channels called Hair Nation and Ozzy [Osbourne]’s Boneyard, he jets around the country to MC at concerts. “Rock ’n’ roll will save your soul,” he says.
Right now, though, he’s focused on marathon number six. And with a half PR of 1:35, set earlier this year, Carl seems ready to break 3:20.
All this from a guy whose life was once a “nonstop party.” Today, he compares the runner’s high to the other kind.
“You can go buy weed on the corner, but you can’t go buy running on the corner,” Carl says. “You have to go out and get it. You have to earn it. That’s the best part about running.”