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On my way to Goat Hill on the Auburn Lake Trail.

“I don’t usually drink coke, but man…this tastes unbelievable.”

I can tell you that this was said to me by a comrade in ultra running at the Auburn Lake Trails aid station, 21.1 miles into my second running of Way Too Cool 50k on Saturday, March 8, 2014. At nine minutes past noon, to be precise.

The runner was enjoying his refreshing beverage. After all, Coca-Cola Revives and Sustains, according to its 1905 advertising slogan.

Now, ordinarily, I’d be right there with him on this. I love coke and have been a two to three can a day man. But back in June, it seemed to me that my weight should have been somewhat less than the figure indicated on the scale…what with all this running.

Contrary to popular belief, us runners do need to watch what we put in our bodies. And all that daily sugar was just so many empty calories adding to the tally. So I resolved in June to give up sodas for awhile – just cold turkey it. I had no plan on how long this would last, but at 12:09 on Way Too Cool Saturday, it had been just over nine months…

So as I was draining the contents of my water bottle and inhaling one-half of an orange (these taste unbelievable as well), I glanced back at the table that was covered with cups of coke, The Pause that Refreshes. All I had to do was back up a few steps, and they were mine for the taking. No one would notice, and no questions would be asked.

In fact, I recalled that at my first running of the Dick Collins Fire Trails, I asked for more coke and was handed the bottle to finish off. Talk about The Best Friend Thirst Ever Had! Since You Can’t Beat the Real Thing, you can understand my dilemma.


The finish.

So what did I do? I don’t mind telling you that I experienced a moment of doubt. What were all these cups for, if not for drinking? But the call of the trails beckoned, and the leaves of the trees rustled in the wind while a lone eagle soared on the thermals, or perhaps it was a scrub jay…or maybe a squirrel in the bushes. So I refrained from partaking of that Ice Cold Sunshine and began to make my way toward my old nemesis – Goat Hill – that 20% grade that feels much longer than a quarter mile.

When I finished, I had knocked ten minutes off last year’s time. But I did have the celebrated frog cupcake. Because after all, one is entitled to some indulgences.

Signature WTC Frog Cupcake