Monday, February 25, 2008

Tastes Like Triathlon

Last week Amy spent 3 days with the flu, which sucks, but she asked me to pick her up a few bottles of Lemon Lime Gatorade. I don't know how it works for you, but for me, for 8 months out of the year Gatorade is a staple item. When we lived in Minnesota, and I'd drive to my favorite running/cycling spot, I'd end up with a tidy little mountain of empty bottles in the passenger seat floor. And, since I generally stick to the Endurance formula, of which there are only two flavors (Lemon Lime & Orange) and Lemon Lime is my favorite, that particular taste sensation is uniquely me.

But then comes the offseason, and by that time Gatorade is usually the very last thing I'm interested in. In fact, at Ironman '06, much earlier in the run than I would have liked or expected, I had a sudden revolt against Gatorade. Just...took a sip, and my body said "no more". Which made for an interesting hydration/sodium situation the rest of the race, but I digress. Anyway, it's been since summer that I've drank a Lemon Lime Gatorade, and since last summer was such a wash with the injury and all, it's really been since '06 that it's been the Official Drink of Me.

So it was Thursday, I think, and I had been working late, and had a million things on my mind, none of which were related to the game, and I opened the fridge and thought a shot of Gatorade would be tasty. I was distracted, though, thinking on a work project, as I mindlessly opened it (by the way, what's with the welding-on-of-the-lids with Gatorade?) and poured a bit into a glass and raised it to my mouth.

BAM. It's hot, it's August, and I'm 3 hours into my 4 hour ride, on the home-stretch, and just stopped at a gas station in the little town of Isanti (holla, Mike!) for a refuel. I'm trim and cut and my legs feel like pistons and I'm wondering if I can average 20mph the last mile home. I am becoming Ironman, and the deep green of summer is the backdrop to these epic days of my life. I can even smell it; fresh, organic, thick.

It actually kind of startled me, this reaction simply to a drink - first, that I was so easily interrupted from my other trains of thought back to the summer of '06. Second, that my reaction was what it was - of all the things, that's what came to mind for me. I wonder why. Could be countless other memories and experiences tied to the green elixir, but there you go - this one ride, this one day (I even remember the gray cycling jersey I was wearing) came in loud and clear, like some kind of ethereal radio transmission. But suddenly I wasn't thinking about work, or that it was 10 at night, or that I've been living in some snow-cursed version of Narnia under the White Witch's thumb. Just then I would have given just about anything to throw on some lycra, jump on Ol' Blue, and ride the wind like we have done together so many many times.

All from a sip of the green stuff.


Stop me if you've heard this one:

There's a storm coming.

In fact, headline today from The Capital Times website: "Another Monday, Another Storm Coming"

The (previous) record for snow around here is 73-something inches. This winter we have high 80's-something inches of snow. Last weekend we had rain, which laid this perfect foundation of slick, thick ice on the world, then 6 or 8 inches or something of snow, and a few more inches throughout the week. We finally had temperatures in the 30's this weekend, so a bit of thaw could get underway, but that bottom layer of ice has just made everything treacherous. It's been impossible to neatly clean up or shovel, so sidewalks and streets are these jagged, rutted things with maybe an occasional clearing here and there. It'll take several more days of warm to get this stuff melting away - and those days aren't coming this week, at least. My walk wasn't even a walk - it was like walking on embers, each step taken carefully to seek balance before the next one. And the roads are no more clear. It's awful. Impossible.

I had hoped that maybe this week it would all start to wind down, and maybe a guy could start to get into the groove again - but this morning (again, stop me if you've heard this one), we'll have rain, turning to sleet this afternoon, turning to snow, then to heavy snow, then to flurries. 6-8" of the white stuff possible.

My entryway during the last storm. That was fun to shovel.

But - what can I do, but bitch about it? I realized while walking the dogs that this is like a forced injury or something. I feel as helpless for the elements as I did when it was my body making me incapable of routine. So - you do what you can. Exercise where possible. I may start hitting the water earlier than I'd planned, just to be doing something. I'm so ready for spring. So, so ready.


So hey - have your own Gatorade story? Or Clif bar story, or GU story, or smell-of-chlorine-story, or whatever? I'm interested if you feel like sharing, here or at your blog, just let me know. Cool though, isn't it? Like we all have the same songs on the radio to take us to the same general place.

I love this game. Here's to the days we get to play it.

Apple Duathlon 2005


Iris said...

The Gatorade caps are the number one reason I don't drink it anymore. I actually emailed a complaint to customer service. Guess what I got? A $2 coupon in the mail. Now, it's Cliff Crisp Apple for me. Hope Amy's feeling better.

Steve Stenzel said...

That's happened to me with a song:

And I'm getting sick of the snow, and we only have a few inches on the ground....

TxTriSkatemom said...

vanilla sandwich cookies. One vanilla sandwich cookie at mile 19 of my first marathon saved me from bonking. Now every time I eat one of those, I think how it doesn't taste nearly as good as that one cookie did after 3 1/2 hours on the course!

ahem, of course, I end up eating too many of them, which is a whole other post...

Triteacher said...

I LOVE those visceral memories. I have changed deodorants - of all things - since IM, but have just a little bit left in my travel bag - hence it's lasting a long time. I open that baby up though and bam, I'm all jelly legs.

YES, this lovely snow... (OK, I'm actually down with it. One word. SKI. :))

Laura Carol said...

i liked your story. :)

i have a million songs that remind me of things. about you, in particular, would be most things by the BSB.

Triteacher said...

PS - You've been tagged. Stop by for the scoop!