Why Are My Best Runs Hungover?

So I need to start with a quick panic attack: Holy sweat rave, how have I never heard of The Color Run? This is hands down, by far the most phenomenal race I have ever seen, and I will be signing up as soon as registration opens for the New York City event. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, on with Friday’s run.

The odds were against me from the start.

My foot: still taped because of my toes, but the problem wasn’t tendinitis. Instead, on Thursday, I decided to “jog” to work in my Tory Burch flats in order to save time and get to the office quicker. Of course, by the time I got there, I had given myself a blister. What a waste.

My stomach: gurgling, probably due to the fact that the bar tender was clearly pouring doubles of fume blanc (he either wanted a good tip or never learned that a glass doesn’t translate to fill it to the brim). Although I drank 3 of these goblets, I was not as hungover as I should have been. Not even close! Must have been that 1/3 a slice of leftover ziti pizza that I didn’t eat when Noah wasn’t looking. (And they say living with a guy makes you fat.)

Time: limited. With Passover beginning tonight, I’m heading back to Long Island around noon to beat the mad exodus of my people from the city. If you’ve never been to Penn Station on the eve of a Jewish holiday, you’re truly missing out. In order to get out of the city early enough, I’ll have to squeeze about 10 hours of work, a run, and watering my plants into a 5-hour period. Call it a Passover miracle, but thank Moses I didn’t sleep in.

Regardless of the aforementioned setbacks, I managed to accomplish a longer distance than I had originally anticipated – nearly 6 miles to be exact (but not quite). It’s moments like these in which a Garmin would be kind of nice, since I easily could have run another quarter of a mile or less to cap off the 6 miles. But then again, had I been wearing a watch, I also probably would not have enjoyed the run as much as I did.

The route was simple and not all that surprising: about 2 miles up Park Avenue to the 72nd Street entrance of Central Park, and a full lap around the bottom loop, exiting back where I started. From space, it looks something like this.

I don’t typically complete the entire bottom loop of Central Park on a weekday morning, but since I left my apartment earlier than usual (that’s totally normal after a night out), and because I was feeling uncharacteristically great, I decided to just keep going. It didn’t take me that much longer than my usual route anyway.

Herein lies the problem. I’m starting to see a trend here, and I’m not sure whether I like it or whether I’m totally appalled by it. Flash back to a few weeks ago, when I had my best, most light-footed run in a while after guzzling a bottle of wine the night before. Then, I ran my fasted consecutive miles during the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler (9-minute miles for 5 miles) only a couple of nights after drinking all of the booze in Washington D.C. and spending a miserable pre-race day hungover. See? I don’t look unhappy here at all.

Then there’s today. I should have slept in and felt pretty crappy after last night, but instead, I was up at 6 a.m. being all productive working and whatnot and out the door by 7:15. Even crazier is that my body felt phenomenal on the run, despite the gurgling belly and blistered foot. I felt light, strong and energetic – so good, in fact, that I tacked an extra mile onto my run. What is going on here?

Anyway, I can’t say I’m unhappy with how the morning turned out. A little under 6 miles down and I’m ready to get my matzoh on. Happy Passover and Easter, and good luck to all those racing in Central Park tomorrow. To everyone else, lace up your sneakers! It may be the weekend, but I swear, day drinking feels so much better after logging a few miles and breaking a sweat.

Have you ever had an awesome run the night after drinking or am I an anomaly to the sport? Is it possible to run better following massive alcohol consumption? Is this severely detrimental to my health?

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8 thoughts on “Why Are My Best Runs Hungover?

  1. I don’t know if i’ve had GREAT runs after a night of drinking, but I can say that I’ve survived long runs (10+ mi) after a night of drinking. Definitely not one of my smarter decisions, but hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? šŸ™‚

  2. I call it the Michael Jordan syndrome as he used to have some of his best games when he was feeling under the weather. Of course, it wasn’t because he was hung over. For myself, I find that many mornings when I feel not great, I end up suprising myself and running better than I figured I would. My theory is that the run feels better because you have a longer stretch to go to feel good so when the endorphines begin to kick in, it’s more noticable. If you already feel decent, you don’t notice it as much. I just pulled that theory completely out of the air!

  3. Actually, yes. Had one of my best runs after a night out. I was kind of shocked. You should join the Niagara region’s Wine run. They have wine stations every couple of km’s during the race! I couldn’t even imagine!

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