Friday, January 23, 2009

Walking a wine line

It's no secret. Everybody who's ever had a lick of liquor knows what the next day brings. It comes in varying shapes and sizes depending on the previous night's imbibing. Slight morning fog. Grogginess. Maybe a dull headache. Some aches and a curious "pop" or two in the old bones. Or maybe you had too much fun and it reaches a full blown, 3 alarm ass-kicker. The "it" I'm referring to is obviously a hang-over. Regardless of your grog of choice, you've had "it".

Obviously by the title you know what the grog of choice is here. Vino. My wife, Kristen, and I are big on the inky stuff. From inexpensive weekday labels to the better weekend brands all the way up to the expensive "my boss just invited me to his holiday party" bottles. Kristen and I even have a few wine club memberships here in California (down from a pre-economic meltdown 6 or 7 memberships). I also love the barley pops. Beer, to use the parlance of our times. I like all styles and I also dabble in my own home brewing. We're not alkies or anything. You can't run, lift weights and compete if you booze it up too much. So this is what I call "walking a wine line." The balance of power between quaffing our favorite liquid and running marathons. Okay, so I've never actually run a marathon. Neither has Kristen...yet.

In addition to countless 5 and 10k's, Kristen has run the Long Beach half marathon and is training for this year's Huntington Beach half marathon. She's a natural. Fast, great VO2 max and determined. She's also hell on wheels, whether it's a mountain bike or road bike. She might train for a marathon this year and has expressed interest in competing in triathlons. She's competed as the running leg of a team for a couple of triathlons, but I'm sure she will soon be an army of one.

I was more reluctant to get into the distance running game. In my younger days (I'm 35 now) I played soccer, baseball and ran track (100 meter dash, long and triple jump). I haven't done any of that in years, but I've always loved going to the gym to lift weights. I was raised on water and snow skis as well. My turn to hitting the pavement came about in a rather pathetic way.

I was never really into distance running, but my wife's enthusiasm finally got to me. She entered a cross-country 10k race in Palos Verdes in 2007. Being the supportive, dutiful husband, I dropped her off and went to a local greasy spoon and had breakfast. When I returned to pick her up I discovered that she'd won 2nd place overall in the woman's category. I stood around and watched as everyone there shook hands, smiled broadly and patted each other on the back. It was a great, communal vibe and I felt lame for not being a part of it. I also felt lazy and shameful for being full of a big, crappy breakfast. And that was that. From that moment on, I pushed myself forward, mile after mile, to get myself into running shape. Since then I've run a good handful of 5k's and will be running my first 10k in February at the Los Alamitos Annual Race on the Base. It's like a drug now. Kristen and I have 3 races in February and will be competing in a lot more throughout the year. I will post our current races and PR's soon. Hers are amazing, mine suck, but the point is to keep on keeping on and hopefully my future PR's won't suck so bad. Only time will tell.

So that's what this blog is about. Running the fine line between Wine and The Finish Line. How to manage that delicate balance between staying in shape to run and enjoying lifes little indulgences. We will also explore other aspects of our days in what is our ode to what Teddy Roosevelt called "The Strenuous Life." Camping, hiking, drinking, running, competing and just staying active.

P.S. - I can totally out drink Kristen. I don't know if that's a good thing or not, but it's something!


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