What Running (Among Many Other Things) Has Taught Me About Alcohol

As the clock continues to turn I am approaching my 30th birthday in less than 6 months. I was born in 1985 so once the calendar hit 2015 I began to regularly admit I was 30. And honestly I look forward to it. I don’t understand people who hate aging. I mean maybe as I get older it will impact me. But as of right now I embrace the big 3-0. As I look into my 30’s my thoughts on a lot of topics begin to change compared to the last decade. The major one being alcohol.

My 21st birthday was not your stereotypical one you hear about. Out of all of my friends I was the second one to turn 21 so a lot of them could not go out. And at the same time my girlfriend at the time was 19 so needless to say her and I weren’t going to the bar. So the celebration was very subdued at best. Continue into my 20’s and I was very much your standard American male. There are plenty of nights I don’t remember, plenty of nights I regretted in the morning and 1 or 2 close calls that I can be lucky to talk about today.

As I turn 30 my views on these things have changed. As the title suggests running, along with some other things, have helped in changing that mindset. What prompted this post was similar situations from this past weekend. A friend of mine went away for the weekend to celebrate their friends birthday and needless to say they enjoyed themselves. I got 2 calls on Saturday night, both times that were ended shortly by that person needing to “remove” the alcohol that was in their body the same way it came in. (You can draw your own conclusions). And I spoke with them the next day only for them to discuss how miserable they were. It reminded me of the many nights I have had. Waking up and hurting and wasting away the day. It is not a great feeling. Also, on Friday night I ended up going out with a few buddies. We did the normal thing; shots, mixed drinks, beer, etc. However I found myself taking it easy. I did the shots, I drank the drinks but I didn’t in excess. I enjoyed the night for what it was and woke up the next day feeling fine. (Minus of course spending the night on the floor as my friend ran out of adequate sleeping space for everyone).

How does running factor into all of this alcohol talk? Glad you asked. Over the last year or so I have declined many offers to go out and spend the night drinking. My response? “I’m sorry, I can’t I have to be up for a run early the next day.” It was a few times here and there, but eventually it became the norm. So much so my friends knew to expect the answer before they asked. I never thought much about it but as I look back I used that reason to not go out so much that I realize now how how much it has impacted me on weekends that are usually meant for drinking. The nights of excess drinking became so few and far in between that when I go out to the bar now I do not feel the need to drink as much as I can physically handle. Like this past weekend, I can go out, have 1 or 2 beers and go home for the night. At no point do I feel like I am missing out on something.

The other shift in this is the way I look at alcohol itself. As my twitter bio says, I run to support my love of Craft Beer. I started getting into craft beer a few years ago, however over the last year I really have stepped it up. There is a craft beer bottle shop close by where I live and their stock is always well rotated so I am constantly looking for new ones there. Craft Beer for me isn’t about getting drunk, it is about a new experience with alcohol. About how alcohol can be enjoyed as a delicacy and not just the $2 you call it’s at the bar.

I am not saying that I have turned a new leaf and will never have one of those nights I had all too often in my 20’s. I am not married yet so I know there is still a bachelor party at some point in my life, and same goes for a few of my closest friends. I am not naive enough to think that. However as I approach my 30’s and running becomes more important to me I do know that my 30’s will look very different compared to my 20’s. The way I view alcohol will very much change for me. It will be more of an experience of finding new craft beer and at the same time I will be putting nights of drinking on the back burner because my 7:00 AM wake up call for a run is more important.

Just another way in how running is starting to changeĀ this Average Joe…..

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