Running and drinking share an ability to allow the participant to escape from reality.
I know many of you will agree with me when I say “the zone” is a real place for runners. It’s not just something we say to sound all cool and competitive, “hey I was really in the zone out there around the 10k mark…”. I have been in “the zone” and I love it. Everything becomes perfectly timed. Foot strikes, stride lengths and arm swings become effortlessly smooth. In the distance a runner’s singlet becomes the focal point that gets reeled in. I have been so preoccupied in “the zone”, during a race that another runner approaching me from behind caused me to startle because I didn’t hear him overtake me. I was annoyed after he passed me because I couldn’t recapture “the zone”. I wish I could bottle “the zone”. I would market it as having the ability to create order out of chaos, to quiet the noise and to bring the consumer a heightened ability to focus, all while feeling more confident and capable. “The zone” is just as much an escape from reality as “the mojito”.
When I drank, reality was put on hold as I found a different kind of “zone”. I made my own reality when the shot glasses were flying. I always thought everyone was having as much fun as me and that the sober people were the annoying ones. I assumed everyone loved the music as loud as I did and that my Grandma loved Metallica at Christmas dinner. I thought it was reasonable to save my Weight Watchers points throughout the day so I could drink them later on. “No thanks Grandma, no mashed potatoes tonight, just pass the wine, and turn up the Iron Maiden while you’re up”. I was upset to realize that a bottle of Keith’s would cost me 3 points compared to 2 points for a Coors Light…decisions, decisions. And how about the free flowing “I love you’s” and full contact hugs…apparently, not everyone is down with that kinda space invasion…it’s true, I have studied the photos from a sober perspective. Most of you, unlucky enough to be a target of my tequila induced amour, look really uncomfortable in that big bear hug; yeah…sorry about that. Lastly, but not nearly the least that I can go on about, my own slurred and blurred reality always involved me making some poor fool take dozens of drunken photos of my friends and I followed by me posting them on Facebook, thinking, in my skewed reality that they looked great.
These days, the running “zone”, is the only altered state of being that I indulge in. I am beginning to believe that sobriety will be a long term reality for me and that I can handle it and I don’t have to hide from it. My neighbors and my Grandma will say that I still won’t turn the volume down when Rush is playing. “Pass the veggies, Grandma and pump up the volume, while you are up”. Some things will never change.