|Dry January Here We Come|
It may seem strange to people who know me that I am writing a post about abstaining from alcohol. I don't drink to oblivion, I don't drink every day of the week and I've never got into trouble due to having a tipple too many. I do admit to having a slight loss of memory on the odd occasions but that was in my younger days.
Going back, we (husband, me and 3 kids) moved to France in 2008 and it was love at first sight. Vines, wines and cheese. What's not to love. We quickly became aware that the foreigners (Brits in particular) were very excited about this abundance of good wine which cost next to nothing. Many were retired and many loved their long lazy lunches and BBQ evenings, which all revolved round Blanquette (local Limoux bubbly) and the local chardonnay. Drinking became part of their 'new life in France' culture. This was exciting to us at first, but then we started to realise that we were still working, we were still relatively young, we had 3 school age kids and a dog and so it was a "culture" that was not very do-able for us. Thus a few glasses from Friday to Sunday was our new regime. I also took up running in 2013.
Up until the last 2 years, we pretty much stuck to weekend drinking. However gradually we started finding we were drinking during the week too. Our running club would run together on a Wednesday (before Covid) and this was often followed by an apero. It was always a lovely merry occasion and socialising and drinking Chardonnay just felt part of French life. Sometimes it wasn't just the Wednesday running aperos but it might be a birthday, an anniversary, a happy day, a good day, a why not day, in fact more days than just the weekend.
Don't get me wrong, we are not big drinkers but the fact that I had begun to question it made me think that maybe I was subconsciously worried. My father also loved a regular drink in the pub with his mates and for a while he was drinking every day and in fact some would see he had a drinking problem. I now know that addiction can be inherited so that kind of played on my mind. I do tend to have addictive behaviours.
As for my running, well I have not improved in races for the past 3 years. Is it age (I have just turned the merry age of 60) or is it alcohol related (long runs and races are usually at weekends and so is the wine)?. Try as I might to break the 4 hour marathon, it just never seems to happen. My body seems to love 4:13. People are always saying "wow you must be so fit with all that running". But am I? Is alcohol sabotaging my possible best performances?
So what finally prompted me to try out dry January? There were a few things:
Firstly my 28 year old son commented over Christmas that he thought we were drinking a lot. To put that into perspective, it was Chrismas day and he has given up drinking. However it is uncomfortable to hear your children say that.
Secondly, we were having lunch with some French friends and a blood pressure monitor was being passed around the table, for fun. There were lots of oohs and aahs and laughter at everyone's results. Except on my turn, the results were some crazy high figures and the oohs and aahs turned to, "I'm sure it's an error". I'm sure it was an error too (I'm a nurse) but you can never be one hundred percent sure. So there and then I silently said to myself, "Hello Dry January".
Another reason (big reason), is that I hope to do a marathon this year and my sights are again set on that magical number 4. Although I will also be very happy with anything below 4:13.