Tuesday, August 14, 2012

When la dolce vita catches up to you, it's not so sweet

It dawned on me recently, after reading yet another runner's status update/Daily Mile post/tweet, that I hadn't gone on a long run in a while. Nearly a month, in fact.

So yesterday — Sunday's rain enabled me to procrastinate — I set out on an eight-miler, bright and early. I finished in about 1:17, averaging a 9:36 pace. The key word here is average, in two senses.

One, in how those miles ranged from 8:50 to 10:27, depending on the terrain and whether the wind was canceling out the humidity or canceling out my strength.

And two, in how unremarkable the run felt. With the exception of a few highs and lows, I mostly just moved OK. 

That was 24 hours ago, and my body is definitely still demanding what the heck I did to it. There's no pain, which I appreciate, and it seems that I was able to cure the insatiable hunger and lower-back stiffness last night ... but the sleepiness and slow-moving, sore legs have stuck around.

The last long run I took, a 7.5-miler in July, didn't seem to affect me quite this much. I doubt the extra half-mile is to blame. Though the routes and weather conditions were different, it's not their fault, either.

What to blame? More like whom to blame. Me.

While it's true I've been running fairly consistently over the past month, I've also been rather self-indulgent recently. Dinner out, with appetizers and/or dessert? Yes, please. A glass of wine and/or cup of ice cream after work? You got it.

Don't worry: My alcohol tolerance hasn't shot up, nor have the buttons on my pants popped; I'm indulging in moderation, but on what's becoming a routine basis.

Fellow young athletes have shared wisdom about treats and training with me in the past.

One, my roller-derby-playing friend Jeniece, cited a blog post comparing bodies to machines — the quality of the fuel, for each, affects performance, i.e., when you're pouring junk in, don't expect stellar results.

The other, Scheels bike group leader Jordan, mentioned that he abstains from alcohol, not because he doesn't like it, but because it cancels out the gains from working out. (He has some ambitious biking goals, which I've forgotten.)

I'm not going to turn into an ascetic — even despite that New York Times blog post that destroyed my "I run for pizza" philosophy — but now that the ice cream and wine are gone from my freezer and fridge, respectively, I don't think I'll restock.

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