Caffeine Revelation!

I had a revelation today! I’ve been wondering why I felt so tired this week…more than usual. I was talking to a coworker as I was fixing coffee for the office this morning and he mentioned that he had a bad experience several months ago and that he could only have caffeine about once a week. He had been drinking lots of coffee and it started giving him chestpains and even one blackout. So he went to the doctor and had an EKG done. He’s perfectly healthy, but he has to watch the caffeine so his blood pressure doesn’t spike and damage his heart.


 So, I was thinking back over the week. My first week of classes and working full time went fairly well. But then I ran the 5K last Saturday. Everything started after that. I had a hard time catching my breath and felt exhausted Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Tuesday was okay, but then after my workouts on Wednesday and Thursday, I felt extremely fatigued and just plain strange.

While talking to my coworker, I realized something. Just before the 5K, I had overheard some other runners talk about the value of drinking 8 oz. of coffee right before a race. I had never heard this before, and since it was my first race, I thought I’d give it a try. Well, I was able to run further and faster than normal. Here’s why: it spikes your bp, so your heart thinks it’s already been warmed up, and thus when you begin exercise, it takes a shorter amount of time to hit the “runner’s high.”

Well, I think I overdid it. I remember my heart feeling really heavy just after finishing and I had to walk around a bit to get my heart rate down to normal. Then I thought I was okay, but I was really tired the rest of the day. I don’t normally run quite that hard, but I do 3.1 miles about 3 times a week, so it wasn’t like I was running a marathon or anything.

It was a busy weekend and I didn’t get a lot of rest. So I attributed the fatigue on Monday to lack of sleep and “self-medicated” with an increase of coffee. Turns out that’s the exact opposite of what I needed. Monday through Wednesday were significantly higher intakes of coffee than normal (3 to 4 cups each day instead of my normal 0 to 1). Yesterday, I only had 1 cup of coffee and, guess what, I slept better last night and have a ton more energy today than I have the rest of the week.

I had a similar revelation in college. My senior year, I got to the point where I was staying up till midnight studying, then getting up at 5:30 every morning to finish studying before work at 6:30. I drank too much coffee and would have heart palpitations when I’d lie in bed each night. That’s when I switched from coffee to tea for the first time. I’d been drinking more tea recently, but this week I’ve been slacking and slipping into my old coffee ways.

So, I guess I need to lay off the coffee. I’m considering dropping back to 1 cup on the weekend. My body needs water and rest primarily, not caffeine. Good thing I talk to my coworkers!

One response to “Caffeine Revelation!

  1. Dan Guerrant

    Interesting…a few weeks ago I kept feeling more and more exhausted. I’d been drinking a lot of coffee, so I decided to stop for the time being, and I started eating a lot of raw fruits and vegetables. Within a day or so I was feeling way more energetic.

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