From Endurance Athlete to Alcoholic

Now that I’m banned from working out, I find myself with an abundance of free time on my crutch-clutching hands. What to do with all the spare minutes in the day? The answer, apparently, is drink.

If I make it out of this recovery period without becoming a raging alcoholic, it won’t be for lack of trying. Upon finding out I was banned from all workouts, my friends more or less put me on a suicide-watch, the main distraction strategy apparently being to feed me wine. People are pouring out of the woodwork with offers to imbibe. “Oh my gosh, you poor thing. Are you okay? Do you want to meet for a drink?”

Previously, I was too busy too meet for drinks and, even if I weren’t, I was always up at 4 am to hit the gym and wasn’t interested in drinking the night before a workout. Now, however, able to sleep in and with no cardio in sight, I’m like, “Sure let’s meet for a drink! Let’s have two!”

Seriously, I need to cut it back.

And more changes are in sight. I am approaching this off time as an opportunity to reboot. Whether the changes last beyond the injury remains to be seen, but I’m already making progress. To wit:

  • Nix the caffeine.  My gym offers free coffee and I’d gotten into the habit of drinking a big cup before and after most workouts. Then I’d head into the office and drink another 1-2 cups of java. No more. I never drank caffeine until maybe four years ago and I’m aiming to return to that state of balance. I’m already down to 7-8 oz of leaded coffee once a day, if that.
  • Natural sleep. Since I was piling caffeine into my body during the day, I was having trouble sleeping at night and was taking over-the-counter sleeping pills and Advil PM to knock myself out. My body didn’t know which way was up. Now I’m falling asleep naturally and getting in a good 7+ hours a night, which feels amazing.
  • More time with friends. Getting up at 4 am and going to bed at 8:30 pm doesn’t leave a lot of time to connect with friends and family. This is the perfect time to re-establish connections—if only I can make myself pick up the phone.
  • Read. I’ve finished two books in the last 10 days and read The New Yorker and The Atlantic cover to cover. So. Happy.
  • Write. Think happy thoughts as just this week my agent sent my dating book proposal out to editors. I’m getting a jump on writing the book and catching up on this blog.
  • Eat clean. Over the past year I’ve slid into an abysmal (for me) diet. Way too much bread, carbs and sugar. I could get away with it because of how much I worked out, but I still didn’t feel good. Bad food choices will make you feel worse than not exercising, any day. So I’m eating clean, limiting my poor food choices to, apparently, alcohol.

Above all, I keep repeating to myself, “Everything for a reason.” Even if I’m not happy about it, my body and mind need this reboot. And there are certainly worse things in life than missing out on 6-12 weeks of workouts. Am I happy about it? No. Am I accepting of it? Getting there. Am I seeing it as a much-needed reprieve from a life that was getting too far out of balance? Yes.

We should go out and have a drink to celebrate that.