When I was in college, I very rarely got hung over. Most days, I did not have to worry about being hung over to begin with because I did not usually drink a lot of alcohol at once. I was more of a, “have a beer with dinner” sort of person, and I still am. On race days, however, sometimes I drank a little more than I probably should have. After busting my hump in the race, and then riding the team van back to school, and not eating enough it was very easy to drink more than was necessarily good for you. For some reason, we always had parties those nights as well, and more alcohol seemed to be consumed than I necessarily remembered drinking. But, “quarter to eight, don’t be late” was our motto for Sunday run, and you had to show up. There was no choice. The question, then, was how did I avoid being hungover every week? Because I did.
Sunday mornings usually went a bit like this. We got to sleep in until 7:30 or 7:35 or so, which was nice. Then you are up, throw on some clothes, and head to the locker room. Get ready to run, and unless we were driving somewhere for the run we were out the door by 8:00 in the morning. Most of us would either still be drunk or would be quite hung over at this point. Drinking a lot of water and gatorade before the run was a must. Those of us with iron stomachs would wolf down a bagel or powerbar.
The funny thing, though, was that by mile 7 or 8, you always suddenly realised that you were no longer drunk or hung over. It must have happened earlier than that, but it was always before miles 7 and 8 that I noticed this phenomenon. The best part was that by the time I realized it, I was about halfway home. After getting back and showering, a large breakfast was always in order.
I was reminded of this after going out for a run this Sunday. I very rarely drink more than one or two beers (or equivalent in wine) in a single evening, if even that much. Saturday happened to be an exception. While watching Chariots of Fire, my wife and I managed to polish off a bottle that had been in our refridgerator from the rehearsal dinner. We have no idea who bought it, but it did not get drank then so we thought that we should keep it from continuing to take up space. Plus, we wanted to try out a new bottle opener and new wine glasses that we had gotten. Can’t let them go unused, right?
My wife did not really drink very much of it. She had maybe a glass or a glass and a half. Now, hangovers usually do not bother me too much since they are nothing when compared to a migraine, but it was certainly there. I was meeting a friend for a 10 to 15 miler at 7:00 and had a 20 minute drive ahead of me, though, so going back to bed was not an option. Due to some shin pains, I only ran the 10+ mile route. Three miles before I finished up, though, I noticed that I was not hung over anymore and that I actually felt pretty good. Other than the shins, anyway.
The moral of the story is that if for whatever the reason you feel under the weather due to an over abundance of alcohol, do not skip your run the next morning. Or, if feasable, schedule one if you were not planning on running. I would venture to guess that for most people, they would not even have to go for 7 miles in order to reap the benefits of regaining their day. For myself, that just always seemed to be the sweet spot.