Raising Cain

Aside from being a quasi-professional athlete of a somewhat debatable reputation, I am a father, provider and member of the human race (just barely). Prior to the day my wife (girlfriend at the time) handed me her entry to a Nike 10k run in early 2000, I was an avid soccer player and bon vivante. Having abstained from the frothy brew and ethanol based vices for most of my teens, I succumbed after many months of continued social engagements with new found acquaintances in London gastro pubs and seedy basement night clubs.

All those years of sitting on the wagon (never realising I was on a wagon at the time) were the equivalent of an archer pulling back on the string of his bow. When I was released into the atmosphere above The Smoke, my trajectory was forceful, unwavering and the landing was with great aplomb.

Some people have to put in lots of practise to get good at something. I found that very little practise was required. I was a natural born drinker.

The picture above was taken last week at a charity fundraiser for The Cows with the theme of Moo-lon-rouge. In the good ol' days, I could sleep in all of the next day and slowly extricate myself from the quagmire hangover status with the aid of takeaway pizza, Coca Cola and several hours of Sony Play Station. Nowadays, after Raising Cain, I do not have the luxury and have to be at my best the next morning in preparation for the family lest they raise Cain.

I am not a special person when it comes to these things but have survived with my own set of rules and tricks of survival (call me Bearly Grill'd) in the social and family jungles. These should be for anyone if you are the type of person who has numerous social engagements, you are responsible for the upkeep of several people's existence, and you indulge in the occasional athletic endeavour:

  • avoid alcohol to as many of the social engagements as possible

  • train through all your social engagements

  • allow yourself to go large to a maximum of one social engagement per week*

  • avoid drinks with caffeine, excess sugar and umlauts on the bottle

  • every odd numbered beverage should be a large glass of water

  • go to sleep early throughout every non-social evening

  • if you are stage diving, choose your catchers carefully, and make sure there is a stage off which to dive
*Although you should train through all your social engagements, you should train around your one large social engagement. Sleep in (wife and children permitting), rather than train while still influenced and probably partially dehydrated. Hydrate quickly, try avoid bad food choices, add two spoonfuls of cement to your morning coffee, and catch up your session later that afternoon.

Having cool kids (pics of Jake, Em and Ben below taken by my brother-in-law in Cape Town) and a tolerant wife are a bonus, but at the day's end my advice is to find a balance in such things. If you married the right woman, she'll tell you soon enough when the balance is off. If you use Monday mornings at the office to recover from your Big Weekend, I think you may already be off balance.
You don't have to drink Cane, to raise Cain.

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