February 12, 2007

Just Say No

Thank you for being patient with me. Sometimes I think you have more patience with me than I have for myself. It's usually those times when I also think that I've had too much caffeine. From my severely limited research, I've discovered that patience and caffeine appear to be inversely related. The more caffeine, the less patience.

Take me, for instance (especially since I was the only person involved in my so-called research study). The effect of caffeine on my body is somewhat similar to the effect that funny mask had on Jim Carrey. My jaw drops, my tongue rolls out onto the ground and my mind starts bouncing around in all sorts of directions until I feel like the Tasmanian Devil.

If I have so much as a glass of iced tea after 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I'm destined for some serious sleeping problems that evening. Truth be told, there is enough caffeine in a decaf cuppa joe to get me three steps to loopy.

Today is a rest day. No exercise. Which means my morning is wide open to partake in one of my favorite activities: sitting outside the Coffee Bean and reading the morning paper. So I got myself a decaf cup of something-or-other, plopped my fanny on my favorite outdoor corner seat and began to peruse the latest news about Iraq-this and Afghanistan-that (I refused to read any articles about Iran today because, after all, it's a rest day. I didn't ran.) As I took slight yet savory sips of my sugar-laced, milk-drenched, vanilla powdered bean-juice (I like coffee just as long as it doesn't taste like coffee), I could feel the decaf caffeine seeping into my blood stream.

Somewhere around the end of the first section, I started losing track of the story lines. About the time that I hit the Business section I lost the ability to focus on an article past four paragraphs. And by the time I got to the Sports section, I just resorted to looking at photos. I really had no patience left for anything else.

Suddenly I looked up and saw the window washer guy in front of me. Excuse me sir, he said in what I must admit was a very friendly tone. I just need to get to that window behind you, it won't take more than a few seconds.

Everybody else in the row got up out of the way quickly and patiently, knowing that the washer-fellow would have to do the entire window behind us all. As for me, I was ready to rip his head off for no reason whatsoever.

I grabbed my paper and shoved it under my arm, hefted my cup of coffee off the table and stormed down the street. As if this person actually offended me. As if there was any need for me to be rude.

My mind was bouncing off the walls as I walked towards my home and I started thinking about why I got up in a huff and walked away. I had no answer. Except the caffeine. The evil evil caffeine. As I neared the corner, I walked up to the garbage can and threw away my half-filled cup of coffee.

This caffeine stuff. It's just not good for me.

Now here I am, just short of 5 o'clock in the evening and I still feel the final effects of my decaf caffeine trip. It's odd, really, the Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Bounce Off The Walls response I get to caffeine.

But there's a bright side. Isn't there always?
And that's with triathlon. Ah, I love when life leads back to triathlon.

I, like many of my racing brethren, enjoy ingesting a gel or two when I race. I know there are some of you out there that marvel at this fact - where the mere thought of a gel may make you vomitous. You, my friends...you can drink down your Perpetuems and sip on your disgustingly colorful liquid meals. Give me a Sonic Strawberry Clif Shot and a handi-wipe anyday.

When my mind is going and my body is following, a gloriously apple Carboom or deliciously raspberry Hammer Gel is the magic elixir. Within ten minutes I am flying down the road again as if I never had a problem in the first place. And when I'm out there near the end of the race day, struggling to pick up my pace and chase that elusive PR; when everything in my body is screaming to stop, to sit on the curb and cry... it is then, my all-liquid diet compadres, it is at this time that I'll calmly ease out a Tangerine PowerBar Gel. Or better yet, let's try the double-caf Espresso Love Gu.

There's nothing like the silky smooth taste of a caffeinated gel to turn my world around. And there's something about movement that makes it all better. Sure, this morning as I sat still, calmly trying to read the paper, the caffeine in my body was pushing and pulling and forcing me to go. We have no patience, it told me. We don't like rest days. But I didn't listen. I tried to read the paper. I tried to relax.

It didn't work.

But with 7 miles to go in a half-Ironman, I say bring on the caffeine. Double-caf. Triple-caf me. Give me whatcha got. Cause every speck of every gel is pushing me faster and faster to the finish and....

We apologize for the sudden interruption. We've had to cease transmission of this blog post due to technical difficulties. The author was suddenly experiencing peculiarly maniacal behaviour, jumping up and down while screaming such seemingly random phrases as "Tri Berry" and "Lemon Sublime." And all with a peculiar British accent. We shall resume transmission shortly.