Running and Drinking – My Parallel Universe

RUNNING: When you get to the point where you begin to fall into your stride around mile three and suddenly things you never really considered important suddenly mean more: time, shoes, stride, efficiency, cross-training efficacy on heart-rate recovery (OK, that’s a little over the top, even for super-nerd, but you get my drift).

VODKA: When you get to that point when you definitely realize that you strongly prefer a specific type of vodka (Belvedere) for your martinis.

Agnes & Friends

Agnes & Friends

Recently, during a training session with the amazing Magen at my gym I was bitching about how I’d somehow inadvertently put back on ten flipping pounds or thereabouts. What the eff? Magen started in on over-training and my body starting to betray me and potentially keeping extra fat available in case I suddenly up and decided to train during cocktail hour (please, that’s not possible). She suggested that I take a week off from strength and if I do anything at all, have it be a couple of 1500M swims or a 2-3 mile run. Quick cardio and only twice in the week off. Again, what the eff? I literally said, “Why can’t you tell me that I drink too much or that I eat too much frosting?” To which Magen just laughed in response while the lady on the old rickety nautilus machine said “You should walk – last summer, I walked and I still drank and I managed to lose 4 pounds on vacation.” OK, thanks for the pointers!! She later told me I should also get one of those beach cruisers and go everywhere on it, even to the store to get milk – “Get one with a big basket!” She came all the way down from the land of old people machines to the training floor to tell me this. I love that she recognized a fellow alcoholic. Cheers to you, Agnes, or whatever your name is.

I also asked Magen if it was time to admit that you have a drinking problem when you realize quite clearly that you strongly prefer a specific type of vodka (Belvedere) for your slightly dirty martinis. She laughed, but I went on to explain that I also have a preferred shaker, a set amount of ice and a definite number of times it should be shaken. A tiny aside: My dad believed very strongly in stirred martinis so I feel as though I’m betraying him by admitting to my shaken preference, but I’ve also betrayed him in using vodka instead of gin, so there’s that. martini olivesI like only a tiny bit of olive juice and while I enjoy small olives in the bottom of my highball glass (NOT a martini glass – wouldn’t want to spill a drop), I do not like to eat them. I’m often pleasantly surprised at the number of people in my life who know how to make a martini for me. Kudos to you!

My drinking habits have progressed nicely I think from those days of mountain dew and tequila in the can (way underage and boy, did that make me ill). Magen and I decided that it’s only a problem if you don’t have a preference – like what if you actually were fine chugging Papov in your martini? That’s a borderline vanilla-drinking problem.

While I continued to breathe heavily and bitch about my workout, I started thinking on a completely different plane, but parallel to the vodka conversation, that I’d also come to a bit of a nice place in my running. It was probably a month or so ago when I started working towards the 10k goal that I had a bit of an epiphany on a 5 mile run in the country. Actually the country is my neighborhood, mmmmm can’t you just smell the burnpiles and cow poop? At least there’s a nice view, but I digress.

I had just finished up my loop on the super view road (see photo at left). morning runI can only run to the cattle path at the end of this road because the local rumor is that the land past that point belongs to Ronde and Tiki Barber’s mother and she doesn’t like to have her place disturbed. I actually know she lives in DC, but I’m not trying to ruin a good rumor. After the loop, I’m close to three miles but I have a really curvy, shady fun run down to the river and the wooden bridge at this point. All of a sudden as I’m cruising past Tex’s new place (see previous post), I realize I’m totally getting into my stride – my legs are reaching, my arms are pumping nicely front to back and my back feels really strong. I’d love to say I was listening to the dulcet tones of the cicadas or something, but I’m pretty sure Katy Perry or Ke$ha was preaching to me about dancing on tables. That’s my dope ass running mix. Sorry. So, there I am, striding, feeling great and I don’t hurt at all, I’m not winded, I’m so in the moment. I get to the bottom, cross the river and I still have the kick in me to get up the other side and I mean all the way up – it’s a long, slow grind. And then I still have it in me to finish up and loop back to the farm (where my support team waits). Support TeamAmazing. I look at my time and I can’t believe I’ve covered a little over 5 miles in 51 minutes. I’m not even upset, I’m impressed!

Since then, I’ve been timing most all my runs, checking my time/mile and taking more measures to shore up he strength in my legs, my back and my feet. I went to the running store and had the peeps there put my dogs in some new shoes – I switched from Saucony to Asics for the first time in my life and I realized I need forward moving road runners and more laterally supportive (and less expensive I might add) trainers for my gym workouts. I’m hoping this will help some with shin splints. I’ve started to check my gate, my stride and my foot placement as I run, but not enough to distract me from the task.

I admit that I still hate running, but I’m looking at it as a challenge. How far can I really take this? Will I make the 10k? How about a ten miler? Now that I know my PR for a 5k (28:15) and what a good mile for me is 9:45, what’s the next step? Certainly, I’ll never be a runaholic (not a word, I know), hopefully the same way I’ll never be a true alcoholic, but I can hope to be pretty good at both pastimes. After all, I’m about to go on vacation and we must remember Agnes’ advice for losing weight while on vacation, “You need to walk and drink, oh and get a big basket.”  I think I can handle that.




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