A glass of wine every day is meant to be good for you; that’s what medical experts agree isn’t it? But how big is this glass? Can I use a MASSIVE glass? And can I have BEER instead of wine? And instead of having that same massive glass all evening, can I separate it out into 9 or 10 different receptacle containers (let’s call them pints), to be consumed at my own convenience over the evening? It all sounds quite silly, but this is exactly the kind of thing that my brain is very good at doing; giving me arguments, ludicrous or pertinent, to have a drink too many. All the time.
Why do we start drinking alcohol in the first place? I think we all know by now that it’s a substance that is bad for us. We’re none of us under any delusions that drinking to excess on a Friday night is doing our body any favours. If non-drinkers would stop telling us this, that would be great. WE KNOW!
At university, surprisingly was where I first discovered drinking. It took me ages to get into, as I didn’t really like the taste, but I soldiered on like a moron until I got good at it!
Before this time, I was a very shy, quiet individual with no discernable social skills. This magic, wondrous liquid vanquished the brain demons; I could communicate with my fellow man all of a sudden; before I knew it, I could even speak to WOMEN!! ….. Sometimes.
Surely then, if just little alcohol can produce this kind of alluring mind-witchcraft, then a LOT of alcohol will probably create a solution to the entire universe…..
This is the problem; it doesn’t really do that, but it does create some funny stories. Indeed my early 20’s were saturated with hilarious incidents, filled with questions of “why did I do that?” The answer to every one of these questions was “I thought it was funny”. The consequences never occurred to me.
I asked myself a few times if I had a problem with alcohol. Not really I thought; no more than any other student my age, at any rate. I wasn’t causing anyone any harm, I was just a giddy, supremely happy drunk; no anger or violence issues. The only real issue I could see as I entered my mid 20’s was that I’d put on about 4 stone. Woops.
The description I still use for myself today is ‘like an alcoholic that runs out of money a lot’. My impoverishment and low earning has played a BIG part in my cutting back over the years. You can’t drink alcohol when you can’t afford it.
My relationship with alcohol today is intermittently a very healthy one. At time of writing, it has been about a week since I last had any; I’ve been fully focussed on my training and diet and not really thought about it too much. I really wish I could be one of those people that will occasionally have a beer (or 2) at the end of a hard day, then go home and go to bed. I struggle with that concept. The instant I have 1, my brain returns to its former glory with pertinent, convincing arguments to continue getting hammered. I remember once, I had a half-marathon the following morning, and my idiot brain managed to convince me to stay out until 4am because “it will be funny”. It wasn’t.
There is no doubt in my mind that alcohol, even in small quantities has me make stupid decisions. It makes me lazy when it comes to nutrition, and apathetic towards training the following day or 2. I currently operate on a roughly a 2 week on, 2 week (completely) off policy, which seems to work well for me. I still like my reputation as one that be relied on to be a good laugh on the occasional night out, but it’s also nice to be taken seriously as an athlete.
I really don’t know what my future relationship with this poison to my body and mind will be, to be honest. I’m running Lands End to John O’ Groats next spring and don’t intend to drink a drop before, or during this. I’ve not even ruled out the notion of possibly staying T total afterwards if it works out that way.
If any other athletes out there have any thoughts, or similar experiences I’d be very interested and thrilled to hear them. Get in touch!