I’m not being facetious. Hear me out!
I had a fantasy football draft on Friday night, although the team I put together is nobody’s fantasy. But it was fun as always, and many delightful beverages with frost-brewed liners that tell you when they’re cold were consumed by all.
As a result, I woke up on Saturday feeling quite a bit under the weather. Not the head-splitting, stomach-turning kind of hangover that keeps you in bed with the blinds shut all day, but enough to remind me that I did, in fact, drink beers with reckless abandon the night before.
I don’t drink enough to get hungover very often, but recently I’ve noticed something funny about those rare days: being hungover inspires me to make big changes.
I’m not talking about the “I’m never drinking again” that we’ve all declared (and meant, at the time) after a long night of indulgence, only to forget a week later. But it’s really not too different from that, and it shouldn’t even be that surprising. Discomfort and pain are powerful motivators, and when I’m hungover, little things about my life that bother me turn into big things that must change.
This time, the hangover-induced inspiration took the form of a diet overhaul. A cleaning up of what I put into my body. I’m 26 days away from an attempt to achieve a goal I’ve worked at for seven years, one that will require me to run at a 7:15 minute-per-mile pace for over three hours, something that only a few years ago I thought physically impossible. I’ve learned so much recently from books like Thrive about how important balancing the acidity in the body and getting energy from nutrition, not stimulation, are. Yet four to six days a week, I put a stimulant into my body in the morning and a depressant in at night, in an energy-draining cycle that I’ve rationalized as being somehow healthy.
I’m not talking about huge quantities here, usually a 12-ounce coffee in the morning and a dark beer or glass of wine or two at night. And when I eat white bread and pizza because it’s convenient, I tell myself that I can afford it since I’m training for a marathon. These are little things that have bothered me, and on hangover day they seemed like big things.
A switch was flipped, and I went to the library like a man on a mission. I brought back an armload of books about macrobiotic diets, raw food diets, alkalinity diets, a book called The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook (mainly for Erin, but many of the meals are just the type of nutrition I’m looking for) and my favorite, a Tony Robbins DVD about health and diet. I didn’t expect to learn anything new from these, just to do some reading to get even stronger reasons to change.
And change I did. It’s so funny how you can try so hard to change, but as soon as (and only when) you really want to change, it becomes so easy. When I gave up coffee before, it was a sacrifice. I made it the entire month, but started drinking it again almost immediately. It’s different now; I don’t want coffee anymore. I bought an assortment of herbal teas (don’t worry, the pregnant-lady one is for Erin) to take its place. The only caffeinated one, yerba mate, is for marathon day and a few practice runs, as recommended by Brendan Brazier. And what I eat in the weeks leading up to marathon will be better too. Far more salads and greens, more raw food, and less dairy and refined carbohydrates.
The importance of what I’ve spent so much time and energy training for hit me hard when I was hungover. To eat anything other than the healthiest of diets would be completely inconsistent with the work I’ve put in on the roads and trails. If it turns out that I don’t qualify for Boston this time around, there will be one less thing I can blame it on.
Smoothie Tuesday at Organic Climber
Caleb from Organic Climber, a bigtime raw-fooder, has a new feature on his blog. Smoothie Tuesday, with a different raw smoothie every week! I’m loving smoothies these days, so this is right up my alley. Yesterday Erin and I tried last week’s smoothie, the peanut butter cup. It doesn’t have peanut butter in it, but it tastes like a Reese’s! It’s a little bit filling, especially if you’re used to fruit smoothies, so drink it slow. But I know some of you were interested in chocolatey smoothies, so here ya go. Head over there and check out this week’s smoothie!
Alright, off to run 15 in the rain. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.