Saturday, November 17, 2007

Double Expresso, Double D'oh!

I embarked on a mission on eBay last week in search of a good deal on energy gels (since the only thing I stomach worse than the gels themselves is shelling out $1.29 each for them at sporting goods stores). I soon found a potential killer deal: a lot of 30 Clif Shot vanilla energy gels at a starting asking price of $10.00 plus shipping. I couldn't tell on the picture of the package, though, if the gels contained caffeine (a must for me), so I emailed the seller to politely ask. He replied back promptly that no, these particular gels didn't contain caffeine, but he did have a surplus of 30 Clif Shot Double Expresso gels with 100 mg. of caffeine that he'd be willing to sell to me for $17.00 including the shipping.

Now, I'm not a coffee drinker. Never have been. I'm the kind of person whose face scrunches up in twisted contortion just walking past the coffee aisle in the grocery store from the aroma of the coffee beans. But when I read the reply from the seller, it was like Charlie Brown's school teacher speaking in my head. All I heard was, "mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah 100 mgs. of caffeine mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah".


I do vaguely remember the seller saying something like, "they're not my favorite flavor" and I do vaguely recall the fleeting thought passing through my head that double expresso may not be the wisest flavor choice since I can't even tolerate the smell of coffee. But at that point all I could think about was the 100 mgs. of caffeine and how much instant energy that would zap into me in the middle of a long run. Sold!... I told him, with nary a second thought. They arrived shortly thereafter and I became the new proud owner of 30 gels, each containing the caffeine equivalent of two shots of expresso. I was set.

So, this morning I embarked on a planned eight mile run. Typically, I wouldn't bother packing along an energy gel since I can usually get by with just fluid on runs of ten miles or less. But I was excited to try out my new 7:00 Mile in a Package energy gel that I couldn't resist. Besides, I have 30 of them... surely plenty to spare!

By the end of the first mile, I could tell it wasn't going to be my strongest of runs; I was still sore from a strength training workout I'd done two days earlier at the gym and just felt generally weak and lethargic. I figured I'd break out the energy gel a little early, but only take half of it and save the rest for later in the run. I enthusiastically ripped that baby open, but before the gel ever had a chance to make it to my lips, the smell hit me and I realized I'd made a really bad mistake.

Apparently, there's a reason non-coffee drinkers shouldn't consume products that taste like coffee. Go figure.

I'm pretty sure I made that same twisted face contortion as I forced myself to swallow the gel. I'm not sure which was worse: eating half the package or knowing I still had half a package left for later. I tried to tell myself it wasn't as bad as some of the other flavors I've managed to choke down in the past, but although psyching my taste buds out may have worked, my stomach wasn't going to fall for it. Another mile later, I was still feeling weak and lethargic, but this time with a lump in my stomach that kept producing coffee-flavored burps back up into my throat.

Of course, since I'm a glutton for punishment (also known as "not the brightest bulb in the pack"), I stopped to take the other half of the gel at mile five. It wasn't quite as bad this time, but I still couldn't help but think of a dozen other things I'd rather be tasting at that moment... dirt-covered earthworms being included on the list. Me and my 100 mgs. of caffeine managed to make it through the entire eight miles without embarrassing incident, although I had a couple close calls along the way. Upon returning home, I threw away the empty package of gel into the garbage and glanced at the big ziploc bag it came from on the counter with annoyed determination. I will NOT let double expresso make a wimp out of me.

One down, twenty-nine to go.



Ovens2Betsy said...

I have no idea of any of them have caffeine, but in preparation for the Medoc marathon I ordered 4 cases of Clif Shots through Amazon (chocolate, raspberry, mango and my favorite, orange cream, which unfortunately is no longer available). Hope you'll be able to stomach the rest of them!

Oh, and by the way, you've been tagged.

Frayed Laces said...

Well, being the poor grad student I am I've never even tried gels, so I have no comparison to base this on...But what I use is gummi bears. Even full-strength gatorade makes me feel queasy so I am scared of gels and the like. The gummi bears are wicked easy on my stomach since I tuck them in my cheek until they dissolve. Heck, any excuse to eat candy, right?

Chesno Slova said...

I can tell you're not a coffee drinker Angie. There is no such thing as expresso--espresso yes though. However, your gels chould be is some clever marketing scheme that calls it EXPRESSo in that you'll run like a freight train and I am totally wrong.

See Zanne Run said...

oh no! you are going to gag your way through the whole box? you are a glutton for punishment girl. back when i was allowed to have GU, i had just discovered mint chocolate. i kid you not - it tastes like frosting. i LOVED it! i think once i am back in balance and my body has purged all the toxic sugar, i can go back to gu on my really long training runs. but i can dream about it. i know that feeling of hating those things though - i had tried ClifShots once - thought they tasted like dirty baby food.

Christy said...

seriously, mint chocolate is the way to go. They sell it for 99 cents at Academy where I is soooo good!
Good luck on consuming the rest of the box of espresso gu!

Maddy said...

Ha! I thought I was the only one who bought Gels on Ebay. Too Funny! I bought some Chocolate Clif Shots, they taste like frosting. Sort of.

It seems that OvenstoBetsy and I think a lot of you. I tagged you also!

P.O.M. said...

YUCK. I'm all about the ShotBloks. They have black cherry that has caffiene. They're so tasty, that maybe once i might have eaten them just for fun while watching a movie. Maybe once.

Laurel said...

Ugh, I can't believe you are going to eat the whole box!!!

I LOVE coffee and can't even eat that crap.

majiD said...

hi runner, just I know I am newbie but wanted to mention something, actually counsel sth with you. I am 205 cm tall boy and was wonderin' how to deal with this height and running. problems are, I feel pain in my chest(even after warmin' up and practising running for a while), I sweat sooo much, why does this much sweating happen while running? I luv running but early in the morning and I try to keep up doin' that but share your experiences with me plz, is it harmful for a guy in size of me to run?

Best for you,
I do believe that running makes people strong and powerful to overcome the problems in life. I believe in it.


Joe said...

Hilarious story! I especially liked the reference to the teacher from Charlie Brown. "Wonk, wonk, wonk, WONK!"

Ovens2Betsy said...

Okay, when I first read this post I thought to myself, "It's just 'cuz she's not a coffee drinker. I KNOW my darling and I would LOVE these!" So of course I too purchased a case from Amazon. Ugh. I'm too cheap to throw them away, but I think I'll just save them for the start of my run (I won't be bringing any to consume during my runs, nor will I be eating any during a race). Lesson learned!