Wednesday, August 17, 2011
So, in addition to all of this half-marathon training, I decided it was high time I cut my caffeine intake. I wonder if I might possibly hate myself a wee bit.
(Cut, mind you. As in trim. As in moderate to some degree.
No amount of suspected self-loathing could lead to that nonsense.)
I had noticed, as of late, that 'round 'bout eleven or twelve in the morning, I was tweaking. Like, tweaking.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE FAX WASN'T SENT. IT SHOULD HAVE GONE THROUGH. IS THERE PAPER IN THE MACHINE. THIS PEN IS LEAKING. I DISLIKE THE DEGREE TO WHICH THIS PENCIL IS SHARPENED. WHY IS EVERYTHING SO LOUD. WHAT IS GOING ON. SURE, I'LL RUN TEN BLOCKS TO THE STORE. IS THERE AN EARTHQUAKE. THE GROUND APPEARS TO BE SHAKING. OH NO, THAT'S JUST ME.
I mentioned this late-morning freak-out to a friend who politely inquired what sort of caffeinated beverages I was consuming in the morning.
"Typically a large coffee or a triple latte."
"Large as in....?"
And that's just breakfast.
Then there's the green tea(s). I keep a box in my desk. For the mid-afternoon slump(s).
Then there's the energy drinks, the Rockstars and sugar-free Red Bulls, the hydrating drinks. And the Gu. Chock full of caffeine, all of them.
And don't even get me started on the sugar cravings.
Partially, I know that I crave these bursts of energy because I'm still learning the whole eating-to-working-out ratio*. If I don't eat consistently - as in, every few hours at least - I find myself in trouble. I either become so completely irritated by everything (THE AIR CURRENTS IN THIS BUILDING ARE INFURIATING!) or I just want to lay my head down on my desk and take a nice little nap. If I find myself swinging violently from mood to mood and lurching between wanting to rip my own hair out or curl up in the fetal position and sleep for an hour, chances are I just need a snack. Most of the time, the equilibrium of my body behaves like a four-year-old.
The eating isn't that big of a deal. I come to work armed with snacks, I make sure I schedule eating around meetings. On weekends, I tend to eat fewer but larger meals, but I still rely on a piece of fruit or a granola bar to see me through.
But the caffeine...that is becoming a problem.
To begin with, I am already an anxious person. Constantly in motion. I am a leg-jiggler (and have suffered the tines of my mother's fork under the dinner table when I start shaking the entire room), a fiddler, a fidgeter. Add in some caffeine, consumed over the better part of the morning, and I become something akin to a jonesing meth addict. Neck-scratching included on particularly bad days.
And, besides, caffeine (shockingly) dehydrates you. Which, in turn, makes you that much more tired when you have to, oh, you know, get up and run eight miles.
I'm on Day Three of this experiment. And, besides the blinding headache that seems to have taken the place of my daily freak-out, so far mostly what I feel is tired. This could be the "waking up at 6am to work out every morning" thing, but the tiredness is a different kind of tired than before. It's not accompanied by the jittery, hand-shaky need to WRITE EVERYTHING IN CAPS or chew the ends off of all of my pens. This tiredness is slower, but steadier.
And, let's face it, I'm not ready to give up caffeine entirely yet. I'm not a masochist. Mama needs at least a little hit in the morning.
Not entirely sure how this is going to affect my penchant for a delicious espresso martini. I guess I'll just have to put more vodka in it.
*Far be it for me to claim to be any sort of expert on half-marathon training (or athletic training in general) but one of the hardest things to learn to balance is what's coming in vs. what's being expended. If you do the amateur math (100 calories per mile, averaging 20 miles per week at the start,) you'd think that's an extra 2,000 calories you get to consume: 285.7 per day! This is false math. It doesn't work that way. While you SHOULD up your food intake, it's better to look at WHAT and WHEN you eat as opposed to HOW MUCH. Forget the "Carbo Load" mentality: protein is your friend. And fiber. And WATER. Half the time, you think you're famished when, oh, you're actually just really, really thirsty. To help me in my quest, I did some research online (with a goal of maintaining my current weight through training) and downloaded the MyFitnessPal app for my phone. It's easy to keep track of what you eat (either look up the food item and enter in the quantity OR download the barcode scanner and take a picture of it with your phone for instant nutrition info) and when you are obligated to tally what you consume, it definitely makes you think twice.