Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Internal Stop-Sign

Like many folks, I suppose, I'm a big fan of excess, especially in the world of creature comforts. When I find a record or CD that I really enjoy, I listen to it over and over, sometimes for weeks on end without trading it out for another. I've used words such as Super-Size, Biggie Size, double, triple, extra, refill, and the like many, many times when ordering food and drink. Without some sort of discipline imposed from without, I could very easily become the servant (read: slave) of my own fondness for "good things"; I wonder whether the traditional fasting disciplines of the Orthodox Church were put in place for people just like me.

I even tend to overdo activities that, in themselves, require discipline and effort. Just about all of the running-related aches and pains I've experienced the last few years (IT band syndrome, hip soreness and weakness, Achilles tendon injuries) are overuse injuries. Running often moves from pleasurable diversion to obsession, and my not-quite-youthful bones and joints suffer.

Fortunately, though, one of the results of excess is an exhaustion that precludes bigger problems. Last night, I (literally) ran into that reality in two ways:

First, I had planned a nice 6-mile run after work; because of thunderstorms in the area, I decided to run at the Y instead of outside. The extra-long run from Monday and speedwork from Thursday seemed to have taken their toll, though, as I had to bring the run to an abrupt end at 2.5 miles...the legs just said, "Stop!" Goal unattained--but possible injury avoided.

Back at home, I chose Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA as my first beer of the evening. A good friend of mine introduced me to this beer a few months ago, but I hadn't had one since then. In a word, it was magical--hoppy enough even on first smell to catch my attention, then big and tasty from first sip to last, with flavor that, as I like to say, filled "my whole mouth." I knew in my heart that I had nothing left in the fridge that would come close to matching that first one, so it was in vain that I poured a glass of Abita Amber. I'd had other Abita brews, and I'm sure this one would've been just fine on most occasions. But it didn't stand a chance after the Dogfish Head and became one of the few beers I ended up pouring twice (into the glass, and then into the sink). I should've obeyed the internal stop-sign I saw after finishing the first, and the Abita ended up a casualty of my scofflaw ways.

And then I fell asleep.

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