Ugggghhh… what the hell happened last night? I remember I was going hard then things just started going downhill BIGTIME. I remember puking in the middle of the night and seeing shit that wasn’t even there! I drank and ate more than I can remember until I could eat and drink no more. Finally, I passed out shortly after crossing a line, and after a few hours of terrible, restless sleep I am paying a hefty price. My head hurts, my belly hurts, my body hurts, and the memory is fuzzy. Yup it is official, I am hungover as shit.
No, I didn’t get hammered last night off of one dollar Long Island iced teas, I ran 100 miles. After five 100 mile ultra attempts – including 3 finishes ranging from just under 22 hours to just over 27 hours – I assure you that running 100 miles will leave you “hungover”. While it is not the same as the morning after a night of binge drinking, finishing a hundy and a gnarly hangover have symptoms very, VERY similar in nature.
Think of the race as the party. Just about no matter how bad you feel during, you are on cloud nine when you cross the finish line. Conquering a nearly impossible task and transcending your own physical limits can most definitely give you the feeling that you are 10 feet tall and bullet proof. Sounds kind of like a wasted frat boy to me. But much like a night of over indulgence, there are consequences.
After the deed is done you finally rest. The rest is not peaceful or rejuvenating. It is restless and painful, and when you finally do wake up, it is to a torrent of agony raging inside your body from what you have put it thru. Day 1 after a 100 is not too much different than a Sunday morning after your best buddy’s stag party – aside from the cat shit taste in your mouth and the empty Quervo bottle. The immediate pain and suffering after any 100 mile run is comparable to one of the worst hangovers from your college years.
A final comparison is the dreaded recovery period. Your pals want to get together and go for a run, but the thought of it makes you a little nauseated. There is another big race coming up and you consider making up an excuse not to go because you don’t want to feel that way again anytime soon. Sure… it was all fun and games while you are slamming mile after mile… But is it really worth it? Maybe you should just leave this nonsense to the younger folks and go walk the dog. The point is this; running a hundy takes a lot out of most people, and just like your liver needs to take some time to recover after a 3 day canoe trip, your body and mind need a break after 24 hours of running. Don’t worry, a little time and rest will eventually get you ready for the next time.
There are several parallels that can be drawn between ultrarunning and binge drinking. The more you party, the higher your tolerance gets and less time it takes to recover for the next party – where you undoubtedly will be able to party even harder! The good news is that instead of alcoholism and inpatient rehab, the biggest problems you will get from ultrarunning might be black toenails, maxed out credit cards, and more buckles than you have belts!
Until next time, BE EPIC!