There’s a lot of upside to being a runner. Running is great exercise that burns lots of calories, fires up your metabolism, and significantly increases the likelihood of muscle pulls and stress fractures.
Another one of the benefits is chocolate milk.
Chocolate milk is considered a fantastic recovery drink for lengthy workouts because of its ideal combination of carbohydrates and proteins, a four-to-one ratio. Thanks to this scientifically sound reasoning, I allow myself to consume this beverage after long runs despite the fact that I normally consider chocolate milk a guilty pleasure and not something I would allow as a regular part of my diet.
Drinking chocolate milk is the second most exciting part of finishing a long run, right behind stopping my legs from aching horribly. So a few weeks ago when I was planning to embark on the first 7-mile run of my half marathon training, I made a point of picking up a 16oz. bottle at the market. When I got home, I proudly placed it in the fridge, eagerly anticipating its consumption on Sunday afternoon.
Well, Sunday came and went, and the chocolate milk did not get drunk. I finished my run and completely forgot about it. A couple of days later, while at the market, I passed by the dairy coolers, saw the familiar brown plastic bottles and screamed in my head: “Hey idiot, you forgot to drink your chocolate milk!”
Upset as I was, I forgave myself and breathed easy knowing I had an 8-mile run planned for the following Sunday. “I’ll just drink it then,” I thought confidently.
Sunday morning I woke up and got on the road earlier than I’d have liked due to the Easter holiday. I completed my run, quickly showered and donned the traditional pastel shirt. An hour or so later I was speaking with my wife in my mother-in-law’s kitchen, when I realized I had once again failed miserably, exclaiming out loud: “Oh my god! I did it again! I forgot to drink my chocolate milk!”
Clearly something was amiss. Forgetting to drink a desirable bottle of chocolate milk once? A mere oversight. Forgetting twice? A horrific blunder. There must be something going on that’s preventing me from remembering to drink this delicious and physiologically necessary recovery beverage.
I have a few theories.
Theory #1: Old Age
I’m not getting any younger. In less than a month I’ll be forty-one. I know, not that old. But not that young either. And as I age it is becoming increasingly common for me to have trouble remembering a specific name or something I’m supposed to do. Wait. What was I writing about again?
Theory #2: Mind-Body Conspiracy
Since January, I’ve been logging a lot of miles running and have managed to lose a fair amount of weight. Maybe my body is enjoying its current svelteness and doesn’t want me to ruin that with fatty, sugary drinks. As such, it has decided to team up with my mind to make sure the brain cells responsible for maintaining the memory of there being chocolate milk in my fridge have been suppressed or vanquished entirely.
Theory #3: I Hate Happiness
After a long run, drinking 16oz of chocolate milk would make me happy. It would make me happier than just about anything else at that moment. Perhaps subconsciously I don’t want this happiness. Perhaps I don’t want any happiness. Perhaps deep down I just want to brood and pout and be as curmudgeonly as an old man waiting in line at the DMV.
In any event, that chocolate milk bottle still sits in my fridge, pining for the day when I’ll return home after a long, strenuous run, screw open the top and guzzle down its sugary insides.
I just need to remember it’s there.