Does Caffeine Enhance Performance? {A True Story.}

March 28, 2012 § 4 Comments

This morning, I cut myself some slack.

I woke up excited for my midweek long run.  I love these runs.  They boost my confidence and build mental toughness in a way that speedwork, weekend long runs, and those Steady Eddie runs don’t do.  They make me believe I’m a runner again, that my identity supersedes the grocery-shopping, tax-filing, gas-pumping, sometimes-invisible life I lead, that I can actually do something on a plain ol’ Wednesday that takes discipline and vision.


But I didn’t do it.


My alarm went off and I shuffled into my kitchen (about a foot from my bed in my teensy tinesy studio cottage), filled up a bowl with water like I do every morning, and stuck it in the microwave for four minutes.

That’s how I boil water. Don’t knock it until you live without a stove.

Then I got my favorite mug, plunked my red Melitta filter on top, and reached blindly in the cabinet for a coffee filter.

*this image was captured on a much better morning.


“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me,” I said aloud.

No one answered, and no coffee filters appeared, so I put the Melitta back in the cabinet.

Plan B:

Celestial Seasonings Roastaroma tea which, while warm, is definitely not caffeinated.


I sipped my tea while spending time with the Lord, journalling for most of the time since my brain was too fuzzy to do much else.  Sitting in silent prayer was definitely not an option, for instance.

By the time I had read a final Scripture, laced up my running shoes, and loaded my Garmin, the mental toughness I prided myself on was going the way of the coffee filters.  I was starting to wonder if my “mental toughness” was less mystical and more bean juice, if you catch my drift.

Instead, I loped along at an easy pace for a regular little run.  I listened to some new podcasts I’ve been discovering, saw a Golden Retriever, two of those smush-faced dogs, some squirrels, and noticed a house I’d never seen before that was painted a beautiful shade of spring green with just a tad darker shutters.

Today, I’ll buy coffee filters. Tomorrow, I’ll do my midweek long run.  In the meantime, I’m not beating myself up about not doing it today.  I’m not a machine that can just crank out miles by sheer willpower.  Sometimes I need a break.


Sometimes, I just need coffee.


§ 4 Responses to Does Caffeine Enhance Performance? {A True Story.}

  • Sarah says:

    You’re not going to believe this. We were out of coffee filters too. No jokes. Michael scrounged up a VIA from his Christmas stocking for us to “share”.

    Btw, love the new design.

    Also, I love no pressure runs. I’m glad you let yourself off the hook today… sets a great tone for the rest of the day!

    • Rebekah says:

      What?! That’s not twin power, that’s just freaky! I just remembered I have a decaf VIA I could have used to try to trick myself into a caffeinated state.

  • aunt lez says:

    oh i love your transparency here! wonderful and i have laid in bed with the same awesome intentions for working out then gotten up and by the end of the day only cranked out a mediocre one at best and it had nothing to do with lack of caffeine! for me caffeine can get me ‘started’ on the right track but never is the enduring element that makes the difference.

    • Rebekah says:

      some days, you just gotta give yourself a break and start over the next morning! caffeine never hurts, but you’re right, it’s not the end all. what do you think is the critical element for you?

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