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The Oz-Man runneth!
Ozzy Osbourne is burning up the track and recently challenged an ENQUIRER reporter to join him during his jogging workout at the UCLA track. When I accepted, I frankly expected the 54-year-old rocker to poop out after a couple of laps.
After all, the amazing Blizzard of Oz -- who has battled the double demons of drink and drugs -- sometimes appears to be in a doddering daze on his MTV megahit "The Osbournes."
Well, I couldn't have been more wrong!
I found that out when I went on the run with the singing superstar as he sprinted like a pro for more than four miles without a break -- more than 16 laps around UCLA's quarter-mile track.
When I caught up with the heavy metal legend, he was barely out of breath but had stopped to hoist my 8-year-old son Daniel onto his shoulders.
"I feel great," Ozzy exclaimed in an interview afterward, as his trainer Pete Steinfeld helped him do stretching exercises so his muscles wouldn't tighten and cramp.
"Working out, and especially running, is my new addiction," revealed the heavy metal star.
"It's replaced the drink and drugs that I used to do. It's how I get high now -- naturally.
I can't pretend that I haven't fallen off the wagon, but right now I'm clean and sober and feeling better than I have in a long, long time."
While Ozzy has always tried to keep in decent shape, he revealed he started running on a regular basis to get out of the house . . . and away from the cameras that document his family's every move.
"I had been isolating myself and had started drinking again," he told The ENQUIRER.
"I hid in what my wife Sharon called my 'bunker.' It was very unhealthy."
His trainer Pete chimed in, "So we came out to get some fresh air and Ozzy liked the way he felt.
"When he first did a mile, he ran it at 12 minutes and 40 seconds. Now, he's running a mile between 9:05 and 9:25, depending on the day."
In addition to the running, a reborn Osbourne also works out in his home four or five days a week -- an hour and a half a day. He does cardiovascular exercises, lifts weights and even firms up his midsection with a medicine ball workout.
Health-conscious Ozzy revealed almost everyone else in his family is happy to skip working out.
But the singer is going to extraordinary lengths to stay in shape -- including changing his diet.
He's given starches the boot, powers up with protein, and eats several smaller meals throughout the day.
"My diet consists of nonfat cottage cheese, fruit and turkey," reveals Ozzy.
"Instead of having breakfast, lunch and dinner, I'll have a bit of protein in the morning, then I'll have a protein shake about noon. And then at 2 p.m. I'll have some turkey.
"I try to eat about eight times a day -- but in much smaller portions."
It's a far cry from his old routine.
"I-I-I would eat anything, but with a 12-pack of beer inside me," he said.
"Then I'm on the phone, and smoking pot. I'm eating f---ing burritos up the ying-yang, f---ing pizzas, any s---.
"I think I'm the only guy who's ever been to Japan and come back heavier.
"I came back in February 2002 weighing like 190 pounds, and I'm now 160 pounds," said the 5-foot-10 singer.
"All my mistakes -- all my stupid f---ups -- I can categorically tell you are a direct result of alcohol and drugs or both.
"I don't have those in my life right now. And I'm happier and healthier than I've ever been!"
-- By Michael Glynn