Beware of the TINY. BLUE. PILL

By Deborah Wiles. Canadian Running Magazine 2012
I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to share this because I laugh every time I read it.

There are unmistakable signs in life that signal something is wrong. The blue foam that was dripping out of my mouth and down my chin was one of those signs.
I had recently bought a sleek little container of blue tablets to use as fuel on long runs. The information on the package promised that the tablets would dissolve fast in water and deliver electrolytes quickly. It sounded promising, as there’s nothing worse than being weighed down on a long run with gels, sports drink and water. A small tablet can replace part of that bulk, I reasoned.

But getting ready to use them for the first time I discovered that you need to take the tablets with you and dissolve them in water during the run. This seemed annoying and unnecessary. Heck, why not just drop one in my water bottle before leaving home? So, I did.

I should have paid more attention in science class. The tablet fizzed mightily when it hit the water, causing a build-up of pressure inside the water bottle. Fearing an explosion, I loosened the cap, allowing blue foam to ooze out over the sides, drip down my hand and leave a sticky mess everywhere. I hadn’t even run a step and all my fuel was gone.

Undeterred, I grabbed a clean bottle and the container of tablets and headed out. Since I was training for a half-marathon, I wanted to practice drinking without having to stop to walk. So halfway through my run, I popped a tablet into the water bottle and kept going. Again, a science expert, I am not.

The jostling caused by my running made the fizzing worse than the first time and blue foamy water erupted from my bottle before I could even get the cap on. My fuel was gone, and my hands were sticky and slightly bluish. I was more than a little ticked. But I couldn’t give up on the blue tablets. Some might call this stupidity; I prefer tenacity.

And so, on my next run, I decided to dispense with the first step altogether and just pop that sucker directly into my mouth. I regretted it instantly, knowing instinctively that this was a move that would have gotten a kid kicked out of science class.
Gagging and doubled over from the fizz and the foam, I staggered to the side of the road. It was like I had eaten 20 packets of those old Pop Rocks candies – the ones that explode in your mouth – at once. Only I’m fairly certain they don’t come in antifreeze flavour.

As blue froth spewed out of my mouth, I struggled to keep both my breakfast and my dignity intact as I stumbled to a halt and motorists slowed to stare.

Nothing to see here, I wanted to yell at them. Just a science experiment gone horribly wrong.