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Last Monday night I went to the Sox game. I went with one of my best friends, who was in from Texas. The game itself was miserable at first. The Sox, who had finally reached .500 a quarter of the way into the season quickly went down 6 – 0 early to the Orioles. In the end however, the Sox battled back and eventually won on Adrian Gonzalez’s walk-off hit off of the Green Monstah. During the game I downed 4 hot dogs, an Italian sausage with peppers and onions, a few beers and two larges slices of pizza (one pepperoni and one veggie) – I was a junk food eating machine.
What the hell does this have to do with running?
Hold on. I’m getting there.
The game was nearly 4 hours long, ending after 11PM. I dropped my buddy off at his hotel and didn’t get home until close to midnight. By the time I fell asleep, it was nearly 12:30AM. Not good on a school night.
When the alarm went off at 4AM, I felt like crap. I mean, I really did not feel good. The food and the beer had done some very funky things to my system, and my whole body was rebelling against me. As I struggled to the bathroom to change, my stomach gurgled, my head pounded and my gut just hurt.
I put on my running clothes and stared into the mirror.
What are you doing, man?
I had no answer. So I started to take my running clothes back off to head back to bed. As I began to take off my shorts though, I thought, when am I gonna make up the mileage? I had 12 miles on the schedule and honestly, there was nowhere else in the week to put them without throwing the whole training week off. So as crappy as I felt, I pulled the shorts back up and staggered downstairs for a run.
I lay on the ground to stretch and closed my eyes. The room felt off-center, tilted.
This is NOT going to be good.
I took a deep breath, decided to skip the stretching, skip the outside and just hit the treadmill. At least this way, if something went terribly wrong I could run to the bathroom to throw up instead of on some neighbor’s lawn.
The first few miles were tough. My legs were still a bit beat up from my impromptu attack on Heartbreak Hill on Sunday. Combine that with the processed food hangover and the mild alcohol headache and it was a perfect mixture of nausea and pain.
Within minutes I was sweating. At the time I wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing. Normally when I run, I don’t start to sweat for a good 10 – 20 minutes.
This was too soon.
But I quickly realized that as I sweated more and more, I began to feel better and better. As painfully slow as the first 6 miles felt, I could feel myself purging the toxins out of my body with each step, with each drop of sweat. By the time I reached mile 7, I was in cruise control, covering the last 5 miles feeling great and refreshed.
And so I was able to take on the rest of the day much differently than had I gone back to bed. I am sure that if I had given in to the siren call of my pillow (and believe me, my pillow sings beautifully), I, along with anyone else who falls victim to those dreaded singing bird women, would have spent the whole day feeling like a big pile of poo. Instead, I was able to flush the toxins out of my system and actually enjoy my day – refreshed, purged, cleansed.
The next time you drink a little too much or eat too much processed food-substitute, think about curing that hangover with a run.