A time for everything

A full accounting

As many of you know, I’ve been biking a lot this summer.  Since my office moved in March and turned my daily bike commute from 8 miles into 35, I have logged over 3,000 miles.  At the beginning my breakfast was a piece of toast and coffee, my clothes were shorts and a shirt, and my shoes were regular running sneakers.  Now I’m wearing bib shorts, breathable underwear (!), sports glasses, and shoes that clip into my pedals.  In the heat of the summer I broke down and shaved my body hair in an effort to stay cool.  And my breakfast for most of the summer consisted of (in order):

  • one OxyElite Pro fat burner pill
  • one Allegra
  • whole grain toast and coffee
  • two multivitamins
  • one fish oil pill
  • one scoop of Accelerade in 12-14 ounces of water
  • (post ride) one and a half scoops of Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60 in 12-14 ounces of water.

From the start of the riding to right now, I’ve lost 14 pounds and gained muscles in places I didn’t know existed outside of the G.I. Joe dolls I used to play with when I was five.  

So, having looked back at all of this and considered what I’d accomplished and what I still have left to do (I’m still unhappy with my stomach, thank you) it occurred to me that this might be a good time to quit smoking.

Because I’m crazy

Okay, here’s the thing.  I like smoking.  A lot of people do.  You might be one of them, but you’re probably not.  You’re probably one of those people who has never tried cigarettes for long enough to understand the appeal, and bravo for you.  But I will always enjoy smoking whether I continue to smoke or not.  And I do plan to stop.  Right now, actually.

I’ve been smoking for 25 years.  I never got up to more than 18 a day, and I’ve gotten down as low as two a day.  For this summer I averaged about six a day.  During the week I would have one shortly after getting to work, a second one about 90 minutes later, and one after lunch, and then a fourth after I’d biked home.  Those two cigarettes I had right after the bike rides were the best moments of my day.

I’m serious.

But then I’d end up having fifth and sometimes a sixth one later in the evening, and I’d wake up with ashtray aftertaste the next morning, and do the whole thing all over again.  And I’d keep doing it, partly because I really didn’t want to not do it, and partly because some little piece of me thinks I can do it all.  I can bike 175 miles a week while also going through two packs a week.  It can be done, and I’ll prove it.

So I proved it

I’m not even sure who I was proving it to.  But I did it.  However, it’s undeniably true that I have also reached the upper limit of what I can do while still smoking.  Certain hills on my route are as easy as they’re ever going to be, my speed is never going to improve beyond what it is, and– having taken up jogging on weekends– I’ll never run beyond a certain number of miles.

So now I’m quitting.  Not because I don’t want to smoke any more; that’s never going to go away.  I’m quitting because I have no idea how much faster I can bike or farther I can run, or better I can feel until I take that step.  In other words, I’m counting on my own vanity to keep me away from the smokes.

Step away, slowly

I’m writing this at the time I would be having my post-lunch cigarette.  And my last smoke was a couple of hours ago, so I’m not really in withdrawal yet.  In the event I happen to interact with you in the next couple of days and I act like Angelus, I apologize preemptively.

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No Comments

  1. Crystal Beran on September 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    I hope that your withdrawals go smoothly and that your pulmonary system recovers quickly so that you can see the results and know that your body supports your decision.

    • genedoucette on September 13, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      thanks Crystal. My knee is already bouncing.

  2. Dorothy Distefano on September 13, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    This is going to be fun…. oh, um. I mean… Good luck!

  3. PJ Kaiser (@PJ_Kaiser) on September 14, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Gene – hang in there – it may be one of the toughest things you’ve ever done. But stick with it. Your body (not to mention your family) will thank you for it. If you ever need a scared-straight moment, dm me.

  4. Lynn Tall on September 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Good for you, Gene!! I quit on February 20th. I won’t lie and say it’s been easy. It hasn’t been! But my lungs and tastebuds thank me every day! Yours will too.

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