I don’t drink anymore — haven’t had an adult beverage in almost five years. Never mind me, though. Many runners find the ritual of race day incomplete without a little firewater. I guess I see where they’re coming from… or do I?
Have you ever heard of the Hash House Harriers? Don’t bother Googling them. You’ll just run into silly unsafe-site shenanigans. I once again defer to Senor Wiki:
Hash House Harriers is an international group of non-competitive running and drinking clubs. “Hashers” or “Hares” call one of their events a “hash.”
At a Hash, someone lays a trail, which is then followed by the rest of the group. The trail is full of cooky dead ends, false trails, and splits. The front-runners slow down to find the “true” trail, so the stragglers can catch up. Essentially, a Hash is designed to keep the pack together — novice and seasoned runners alike. When the Hash is over, members keep the party going at a nearby house, pub, or restaurant.
Members often describe their group as “a drinking club with a running problem.” HA, HA, Ha…ha…ha…(blogger clears his throat)…ha.
A runner can justify his/her penchant for the hard stuff in a myriad of ways. You’ve undoubtedly heard a runner order a beer, then crack one about carb-loading. As I discovered in an old Runner’s World article, this is hogwash — malarkey even. Here’s what Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D. had to say about it:
“The idea that beer provides a significant amount of carbs is a misconception,” Clark told Runner’s World. “A 12-ounce bottle contains 12 grams of carbohydrates, which is equivalent to about half a slice of bread.
“What’s more, because of the way alcohol is metabolized, most of these excess carbs are stored as fat. So you’re actually fat-loading,” said another doctor. “And if you’re drinking a lot, you may be running to burn off beer calories rather than combusting body fat.”
And we mustn’t overlook the more embarassing consequences of over-imbibing: lapses of judgment, dehydration, slowed recovery time, and that whole — waking up with one shoe on and the menu music from a questionable DVD playing ad infinitum on the TV.
We’re back to you-know-what, friends — moderation. That seems to be the consensus on any indulgence. There’s no reason for runners to abstain from booze if it’s consumption is kept under control. You just have to know when to put the plug in the jug.
But what about those folks near the end of a race handing out beers, you ask?
If you’re doing a 3K, it’s no big deal, but I don’t think guzzling a diuretic at the end of a dehydrating event is too wise. But people have been doing this since the inception of distance running, and they sing its praises. So maybe I’m off base here. I mean, Gatorade can do a number on your stomach after a run, too.
Well, I guess I’ve once again come to a nebulous conclusion. Drink ’em if you got ’em… or don’t.
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