Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Beer is in the Fridge

Of all the race wisdom one can collect over the years, the gem I found is one that never changes, is never subject to interpretation, and you won't find experts debating it: Always have good beer in the fridge.

Life is better with a little (or a lot) of Chimay
For this runner, it's Chimay all the way.  Whether it's after a weekend long run, a hard interval session, or *gasp* going dry three weeks out from the big race, I take comfort in knowing that there's a tall glass bottle filled with my favorite brew waiting to be pried open at the finish.

And when you've deprived yourself of it?  When it's been staring you in the face every time you open the fridge?  It tastes all the sweeter when you finally tip your head back and that sweet sweet fermented nectar hits the back of your *ahem* where were we....

This past week following Boston, i.e. the week of gluttony, I've kicked back and enjoyed a nice beverage with each meal or simply sat on our deck after work sipping along with the sundown.  Sometimes my Boston medal clangs against my chest. Sometimes it just rests on the table.  Either way, it's always nearby.  

The week after a marathon, I indulge every impulse...and there are many.  Life is a cabaret?  Nay.  Life is a buffet!  

My appetite cravings swing faster than the pregnant woman's in my office.  One day it's burritos, the next day it's brownie sundaes, others buffalo wings.  And the beautiful part is that I can order these dishes without a hint of guilt.  Where I'd normally pause and think, Hmmm, how long is my run today? What time do I have to get up tomorrow?  I order at will.  "More anything?" the flight attendant asks on an episode of Seinfeld.  "More everything!" he replies.

Of course, after a couple meals like this, it becomes abundantly clear why I decide to healthy.  There's the lethargy the next day, the stomach aches, the indigestion...the self-loathing.  "I'm sooooo FAAAT!" I moan at my wife as I size up the food she has left on her plate.  A stray bowl of rice is almost near the line of demarcation on our table.  My shrimp pad thai is long gone and I am the mayor of the clean plate club.  "Are you going to eat that rice?"  I ask, my fork already headed for the bowl.  I've timed this so that she has to answer just as she's taken a bite.

"I might!" she grumbles, mouth full, eyes shooting daggers at me. 
"Ok, ok," I say.  "You just weren't paying any attention to it."
"That's because I'm eating other things," she says.

I order dessert.

Sure, the appetite is still there.  The miles?  They are not.

And so it was this in mind that I took to my "recovery road" today, a.k.a. the Cross County Trail, and trotted out two tenuous miles along the soft and forgiving trail and two miles back.  Thunderstorms bloomed in my rearview mirror while driving to the trail and I thought my easy run could become a race against the swelling clouds.  

Mattie came with me, reluctant at first, until I let her set the pace, knowing she'd take it easy in the unseasonably warm April weather.  

The first strides felt awkward and stiff, like the Tinman awakening, falafel rumbling around in my stomach like a shoe in the dryer.  But the rhythm came back to me, and soon Mattie and I were flying over the beaten path.  Every once and a while a pain would crop up in a hip joint, knee, or IT band, just to remind me of what I'd put them through last week.  I'd wince, back the pace off if need be, but continue on until it ironed itself out.

I thought about all the indulgences over the past week and how I'd "earned" them.  I think the first couple weeks following a marathon can be tricky.  On one hand, you don't want to lose all that training you've accrued over the many miles and months leading up to the race.  On the other, you've accrued all those miles over the many months and you just want to rest.  

I lean more toward the first.  While the time off has been nice, I have this feeling of, "I'm only getting started," I think as I shovel in another piece of pizza in my mouth.  I would call it antsy.  My Uncle called it "hungry," and that's probably more accurate.

Fortunately that's the case, because while one adventure came to an end last Monday, another Odyssey is about to begin on Friday.  Stay tuned. 

If the expression leading up to a race is, "The hay is in the barn," then almost certainly following the race, the expression is, "The beer is in the fridge."

Cheers, everyone.  

1 comment:

  1. Haha, LOVE it! I try to time my offseason so it starts right around Thanksgiving - this way, I can enjoy 1.5 months of gluttony and simply call it "recovery." And two words for you my friend, since your recovery has started right around Easter - Mini Eggs.


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