When I randomly signed up for a half-marathon last year I was worried. Not about the running. I’ve always fancied myself a “runner.” I believe that when I run I look like a gazelle, gracefully bobbing down the street. I believe that the hot runner guys recognize me as a fellow elite athlete, even as they sprint past me.
I knew I would be a fantastic runner.
My concern was how this “running” thing would affect the rest of my life. Would I have to wake up early? Would I have to start showering regularly… like EVERY SINGLE DAY? Most importantly, would I have to stop drinking? See, I expected to like running. But I already knew I liked beer. So I did some research. I was excited to learn that a lot of people consider beer the night before a long run to be beneficial.
The night before a training run was my friend’s birthday. I had a glass of wine. I decided if one beer was good, then one glass of wine was good too. And if one glass of wine was good, two glasses of wine was probably better.
I thought about the things in beer that make it beneficial to runners: flavonoids, B vitamins and chromium. Wine must also contain vitamins, I thought as I poured another glass, it’s made from fruit for chrissakes. On my fourth glass of wine, I pondered what a flavonoid was.
What followed was the worst run-jog-hobble ever. It took me two-and-a-half hours to go 8 miles.
That’s 18.75 minutes per mile. Your obese grandmother’s pace is 18 flat. It was bad. I hid my water bottle in the bushes because it was too heavy to carry. I gagged, I cried, my legs cramped up, and the sun seemed far too bright.
Did I learn my lesson and become a teetotaling hard body? No. But I learned to be careful. The night before the marathon I drank two beers and five glasses of water. And it was great! I finished in a respectable time, I didn’t feel like I was going to die, and I learned that I really, truly, enjoy running.
I guess the boring lesson is, everything in moderation. I’ve managed to find a way for my running and my drinking to co-exist. The good news is that when I’m in training, I’m a pretty cheap date.
Liz Marsh’s “Running Under the Influence” runs every other Tuesday in the Colorado Daily.