Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Racer's Guide to the Hangover

Happy New Year Folks!  How are you feeling today?
Maybe this would be an opportune time to share with you one of my favorite articles of all time, written by Joan Acocella for the New Yorker Magazine entitled “A Few Too Many”.
It is a detailed and in-depth examination of the history, science, and culture of the hangover.
In my mind this piece pretty much will answer any question you have about the phenomenon of being hung-over.  I was just hoping to add a bit of racer wisdom on the matter.  Consider this the Racer’s Guide to the Hangover.
Whatever your race, if it’s tough enough, you are going to go through some trying times.  In my history of Ironman Triathlon and ultra running/cycling racing, I’ve NEVER gotten through an event without having to battle severe nausea.  It’s just par for course. 
So is hitting the wall at some point.  That dead feeling where you can’t imagine going on another step but it just so happens you have miles and miles and miles ahead of you.
It’s all about coping with the adversity at hand and moving forward.
I keep this in mind when waking up dehydrated, puking, and feeling like I fell down the stairs a few times, and have a day of workouts planned.
Rising to a difficult challenge is required in extreme racing.  So, practice makes perfect, I rationalize. 
When I wake up after a night of too much fun and feel like death, I know that this feeling is a great simulation of how I’ll probably feel in the midst of my next big race when I have to dig deep and pull myself through hell one step at a time.
Also, when training ramps up, even if I’m 100% sober, I’m going to want to stay in bed many mornings.  I’ve found a 25-hour training week can produce morning far worse than any hangover.
So, as a racer, as an athlete, and as a person who’s going to achieve so much this year:  Suck it up and get your workout in!  If you puke a few times just be discreet as to not get arrested.

NOTE:  Interestingly, this article was written in the absence of any hangover, whatsoever.  Cheers to a sober New Years eve!  I wanted to give it a try and found it quite lovely.  Looking forward to a solid day of training now.

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