Nothing Inspires Like A Hangover

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.

[tea photo]

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

[peanut butter cup photo]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.



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  1. Lets just say you won’t be starting any fantasy football blogs anytime soon.

  2. hah … glad to know you do not need mommy tea 🙂
    i never enjoyed coffee, lucky me :p i do however, LOVE tea, and those ones look mighty yummy! enjoy them, and congrats on kickin the coffee habit

  3. What I love about my own journey is that you end up venturing further and further, to places you never thought you’d go. The trick is to only look one step ahead, not 100, lest you get overwhelmed. Giving up caffeine is truly worthwhile. And eating more raw food makes a huge difference.

    Good luck!

    And thanks for the link to Organic Climber! Awesome blog!
    .-= Hanlie´s last blog ..Never mind green; it’s not easy being FAT! =-.

  4. thank goodness the mommy one isn’t for you 🙂

    I hope you have a good run today!
    .-= brandi´s last blog ..3 Reasons I Might Be a Ninja =-.

  5. This makes alot of sense, and I have done the exact same thing…coffee in the morning, 1 glass of wine at night. Not the worst thing for me, but not the best either. Especially when my next 26 is on Oct 11.
    .-= Angie´s last blog ..Weekend Recap =-.

  6. Yay for some great motivation! I hope all the adjustments you make pay off 🙂
    .-= katherine´s last blog ..Greetings from Paradise! =-.

  7. Very interesting post! My husband and I actually had a pretty in depth conversation about addictions yesterday (which I got pulled over and got a ticket in the middle of because I was so focused on the topic- yikes!) and this falls right into line with what we discussed. Good for you for making changes for the better! I am going to forward this to my husband- I think he will enjoy reading it as well.

    A reese’s tasting smoothie? I need to look this recipe up for Josh.
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..The Wrong Ending =-.

  8. Hmm, I love my morning coffee, but you’re giving me something to think about. I have quit it before, but I seem to keep going back to it after a month or two hiatus.

    Maybe I need to pick up some more of that Mexican Chili tea – that is absolutely one of my top 3 favorite herbals. Soooo good!

    • Shawna – yes the Mexican Chili tea is great isn’t it? I had it in the afternoon when we got it yesterday, but tomorrow it will be my morning drink. That and the mango jalapeno smoothie should get me all fired up!

  9. I know what you mean about balancing the acidity in your body. That is one of the things that I was first looking at when researching raw foods. I also gave up coffee for a while but started allowing it on occasion. Now that occasion is at least once a week, but trying to get that back down since coffee is one of those highly acidic things. I also need to take it easy on the alcohol, lately it seems I have at least one drink a night.

    Here is a good chart that lists acidic and alkaline foods, I just may have to do a blog post over this 🙂

    And thanks again for plugging the blog!
    .-= Caleb´s last blog ..Smoothie Tuesday – Mixed Berry and Almond Butter Smoothie =-.

  10. i needed to read this. after a labor day weekend (full of splurges and leftover banana bread), this is a great reminder that i have a race in less than a month. training is not only physical, but it’s mental, it’s what you put into your body, it’s everything.

    here’s to keeping eating clean (cheers with a glass of water, FYI)!
    .-= Holly´s last blog ..Walnut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread =-.

  11. Lately I’ve been feeling the effects of even moderate amounts of alcohol. I had 2 glasses of wine on Saturday evening and felt pretty yucky on Sunday. I think I may need to cut it out completely for awhile. Good luck with the clean eating (I just started reading Thrive today!) and let the marathon countdown begin!
    .-= Megan (The Runner’s Kitchen)´s last blog ..Let them eat cake! =-.

    • Megan – I’ve noticed that since I’ve been vegetarian, I don’t process alcohol nearly as well. I feel it sooner and feel worse in the morning. I wonder if that’s a coincidence that you’re experiencing the same thing.

  12. Love the teas! I often drink a cup of chamomile tea at night, it is very relaxing.
    .-= meatlessmama´s last blog ..Pesto Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes =-.

  13. It’s ironic that I posted about my intense affection for coffee just as you’re giving it up! Being a fellow athlete, I totally understand your reasoning, and I say if it makes you feel better for your runs, by all means go for it! Reading your blog is so inspirational to me and you make me want to sign up for a road race (which I’ve never even done!) Maybe I should start with a 5k? Anyway, enough of my rambling… love your post, as always, and keep up the great work!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..My Beloved Bodum =-.

  14. There was an interesting article recently on Triathlete magazine’s website on research into alcohol’s effects on athletic performance. The answer? There was none! Turns out the effects are highly variable to the individual, which these comments demonstrate. The only conclusion they could draw was that the dehydration and sleep disruption probably accounted for most of the effects. That coincides with my experience well, as recently as Sat. night. I ran my long run, thought I rehydrated, and went to a multi-birthday party and stayed late. Sun. morning I realized that Pacifico is not an ideal recovery drink! Fortunately I had anticipated that, and scheduled a recovery day. By Sun night all was well and yesterday I cranked 4 hrs. on the bike feeling great. Eating a clean, starch based, ultra low fat helps my liver and muscles immensely. Good luck for the last month of training!

  15. I hope that things will pay off come race day. Thankfully, I don’t drink alcohol. I had s sip of wine at a wedding a couple weeks ago. It tasted great but my tummy didn’t like it.
    As for coffee, I rarely drink a cup these days (maybe once a month) since I’m in Japan where the best tea is (in my opinion). I can’t say I can give it up completely though.
    Have a great rainy run! 😀
    .-= Mia {runs and rests}´s last blog ..Running on Baumkuchen =-.

  16. Love how your hangover inspired you.

    I’ve been feeling the same way about coffee lately… I may try to faze it out. I don’t drink much but I definitely can tell the next day when I do. I’m always really dehydrated!
    .-= Pam (Highway to Health)´s last blog ..New week, new products =-.

  17. Thanks for this inspiring post!

    I gave up coffee against my will about a year ago (I was having bouts of my heart beating way too fast and obviously caffeine wasn’t helping). Most of the time I feel pretty good without it – I’m calmer, I sweat less, no more heart freak-outs – but I really miss the ritual and the taste. Herbal teas and teaccino help a bit.
    .-= Daria (Summer of the CSAs)´s last blog ..After the Deadline Live for =-.

    • Daria, me too. The ritual and taste are what I love about coffee. But after the first hour or so after drinking it, I don’t like how it makes me feel. I noticed some weird heart palpitations too a few weeks ago, and that was a bit of a turn-off, especially with all the running I do. Could be dangerous.

  18. “The ‘I’m never drinking again’ that we’ve all declared (and meant, at the time)”…HA. Literal LOL on that one.

    The days I can turn my hangovers into really good recovery workouts/productive days, I feel SO unstoppable…and like I’m earning the right to call myself a “high functioning.” 😉
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Hump Day Treat: Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes =-.

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