Running Sober or Free Beer?

ImageI can’t think of how many times there was free alcohol waiting for me at the finish line after a race.  Sometimes at race stops, along with water or Gatorade, I was generously provided with the option of quenching my thirst with a plastic cup of ice cold beer (not really, ice cold).  What could be better than running a “beer mile” on a hot sunny day?

The truth is that I have never accepted alcohol in a race or in my life.  Going back to as early as middle school, my classmates bragged about how much booze they stole from their parents.   Some of them were lying, others were not. Eventually, some would get escorted out of the classroom, especially, after saying something really stupid to the teacher.  Many times, they never came back.  In high school, almost everyone drank, even the kids who got the good grades.   Most of the time, those kids were smart enough to drink over the weekends.

I remember my Spanish class where my friend and I were the only kids who didn’t drink.  One day, everyone was talking about what their favorite drink was.  One guy asked us, “So, do you think you are better than everyone else just because you don’t drink?”   At that time I didn’t know any better, so I said “Yes.”   He was not happy with my answer. It seemed like the only reason they got around to tolerating our sobriety was because they knew that drinking was against our Christian beliefs.

I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said that I never had the desire to try alcohol at least once.  After all, life is short, so shouldn’t you try everything at least once?  That is the most annoying logic I’ve ever heard, but it’s simple, so people repeat it all over again. I was offered alcohol in some of the most unusual situations.   On one occasion, I was graciously invited to take a shot of tequila in a moving car during a lunch break!  I wish the guy was joking.  When I said, “No, thank you;” he seemed to be truly disappointed.  It was always easy for me to refuse by saying, “No, thank you” in those situations when people would try to put pressure on me directly.

A study group I was part of in college met at the local bar right across campus.   Everyone else on my team was drinking beer while I was the designated note taker, diligently jotting down content for the power point presentation for next day’s marketing class.   While it wasn’t my idea to meet at a place like that, I never objected to it because everyone got along quite well.  At the same time, I didn’t feel like I fit in and was really part of the team because I didn’t drink.  Since I started working, I’ve met some really great people who love to drink.  Wouldn’t it be great if I could share a drink with them once in a while? ­ At times, I even felt kind of embarrassed to admit that I don’t drink when going out with new friends for dinner.

Since I started this blog, I’ve read stories of how some runners have goals to not drink alcohol for a certain period of time, like a week or a month. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task for many of them.  After reading their stories, I’ve come to realize how truly blessed I am.  I have not only strengthened my faith, but I have become proud of my commitment to not drink alcohol.

Moreover, I’ve discovered something else. Many people have wondered about my ability to improve my performance so quickly.  When I first started seriously running two years ago, I could barely do a 10K at an average pace of 10 minutes per mile.  Now, I can run the same distances with an average pace of 7:30 minutes per mile. I feel if I continue my routine, I can even reach 7:00 minutes per mile within the next year.  I was able to achieve so much through practice and discipline, and most importantly, sobriety.  After I started running, my discipline has improved along with the strength of my character.   Now, I don’t feel like I should drink in order to fit in and be accepted, and I am truly proud of myself.

Famous Non-Drinkers
Abraham Lincoln, President
Billy Graham, Pastor
Al Pacino, Actor
Bruce Lee, Martial Artist
Muhammad Ali, Boxer
Kate Beckinsale, Actress
Roger Ebert, Film Critic
Warren Buffet, Investor
Naomi Campbell, Model
Cristiano Ronaldo, Soccer Player
Bobby Bones, Radio Host

Miles From Last Week
Sunday:  7 miles
Monday: 3.1 miles
Tuesday:  3.1 miles
Wednesday: 3.2 miles
Thursday:  3.5 miles
Friday: 3.1 miles
Total: 23  miles
Miles Ran in December: 72.7

Ideas for Future Posts
How Alcohol Really Works
How I Started Running
Old School vs. New School Runners
Time for New Shoes
Best Races to Run Around the World
Running the World’s Best 10K
Music for Runners
Gear up for Running
Let’s go Grocery Shopping!
Physics of Running

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3 Responses to Running Sober or Free Beer?

  1. mawil1 says:

    The most important thing is to be true to yourself. I like that you stick to your principles but don’t criticise others. J

  2. Why?Matters! says:

    I agree on mawil1 go your way and don’t judge others. Thanks for sharing.

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