#5 The 4 stages of drunk running

One of my most memorable races was the 2013 Brisbane half marathon. Not for the usual reasons, in fact the run itself is fairly unremarkable when you commonly run the paths and boardwalks that hug the banks of the slow, brown waters of the Brisbane River.

It was memorable because I was drunk.

It was an interesting physiological experiment which saw me lining up in the crowds next to the city botanical gardens at 6am, it was still dark as I recall.

Only 3.5 hours earlier I was still drinking neat Jagermeister at a Brisbane bar

Somehow I was roused from a drunken slumber (I made it home apparently), by my lovely wife who drove me the 15 mins into the CBD. I was a little reluctant. But thankfully my drunken bravado pulled me through….”ah what the hell, let’s go for it”.

So I ran, still drunk, grinning foolishly, and little self-conscious that I reeked of alcohol.

The first 5 km went fairly well, a few tasty ‘Jager burps’ caught me by surprise but the alcohol and metabolised sugars powered me on.

From 5-10km I sobered up and just started to feel the post-drinking desire to curl up in a nice bed and sleep but that wasn’t an option, I just kept running.

And then it hit, the Hangover, from 10-15km. Headache, nausea, extreme fatigue, and again a self-consciousness that the alcoholic stench was now emanating from every pore in my body. The sweating was accentuated by the fact that it’s Brisbane, and when you run in Brisbane you sweat a lot.

This was not a fun time to be running. My despair, I think, was partially hidden by my sunglasses, my eyes were more than likely bloodshot. But run I did. And do you know what the amazing thing was? My hangover, which would usually take me out for half or even a whole day, lasted about 20-25minutes (about 5km)

The last 5 or 6km were a dream, I felt great, and I was cruising, the sun was shining, the beautiful city towers where glistening and my self-consciousness turned to self-righteousness.

So the remarkable thing about this run is that it compressed the 4 stages of drunkenness, which can span 12-24 hours, into about 1-2hours. I think I finished in 1hr 45mins, only 10mins off my PB at the time.

I’d like to say there is a moral to this story, but there isn’t. It’s just an anecdote. Although I would advise against running half marathons drunk, unless of course you haven’t got time for a hangover!

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