"Physically, I almost never enjoy the process of exercise, but I feel naturally tougher when I finish. Most important, running lets me eat anything I want, and it allows me to drink every day (if I need to)." --Killing Yourself To Live
Chuck Klosterman is on to something here in this book of his which I picked up a while back in an airport book store. I immediately developed a greater liking for the guy after reading the passage. Here's this gonzo rock journo with various complexes who purports to smoke much more cannabis than I could really respect in this day and age, or even did myself when I was Obama's age, and yet...he runs! A runner.
I wouldn't recommend it for metabolizing alcohol that is already in your body of course, but running does confer an perceived immunity to physical ills. Whatever is to prevention as panacea is to cure, that is what running is, at least in your head. And as for burning calories, it's not limited to the time you are actually pounding the pavement and flailing your arms. Especially if you run in the morning, your body will be like a furnace for the rest of the day, and whatever you feed it will go up in a burst of white flame.
(Of course, as famous runner and later casualty of running's small but present acute cardiac risk Jim FIxx once pointed out, it also confers a sense of false moral superiority over non-runners. From there, it's just a short step to despising the weight-challenged.)
A good Estonian senior runner Jevgeni Kaljundi once told me about a peer of his who had competed at every race around Viljandi Lake, whose training was fuelled by beer, pretty much pint-for-km. He was mid-60s like Kaljundi was then and it was said that if he gave up either running or drinking that would pretty much be the end of him. But the guy was very successful by any measure -- and a popular training partner. Uninhibited.
I usually run in the evening, and since I never drink in the morning, it's easy -- the days that I run, I don't have anything alcoholic. But those days are becoming fewer. In December, I was still running every other day at least. Once I get lazier than that, like now, it takes an effort each time to "get up for game", especially if I eat well on the off-days.
I haven't reached the point where I "need to" drink (as Klosterman puts it) every day for either biochemical or professional reasons (both of which happen to be compelling reasons for drinking every day). I am hearing voices, though -- they are saying "Hibernate! Hibernate!"
Actually, what am I saying -- the quantities I drink are laughably small by any standard, let alone journalistic or Baltic ones.
But I just came across an "everything you wanted to know" book by an Estonian country doctor. He said 50-100 mL of wine was OK< with a meal, but no more than that. One-quarter cup of wine? If I split a half-bottle with a friend -- what's that, pushing 200 mL? I'm a goner.
I put a lot of stock in pop medicine, so I am vigilant for signs of maintenance drinking -- the most insidious evil.
I've seen too many Estonians who seem just fine, but then...the sun starts going down in the winter sky and... We had a drywall hanger -- a young guy, just a sell -- it got to be around 5pm and he got really irritable and he couldn't do the job anymore, his poise crumbled. He fell apart, and he had to adjourn to spackle himself up, so to speak.
Well, it was time for a post on this local pastime. This has been the all-time shittiest, darkest winter. It's been five months of late November. Did you ever read descriptions of atmospheres on the outer planets -- usually something like "thin atmosphere with frozen crystals of ammonia and methane, highly corrosive", that's what the air reminds me of. I'm not saying Tallinn air is dirty, but it's not crisp and icy or invigorating. And some kind of slop is usually falling on a carpet of grit.