Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I just can’t swallow something so thick and warm.

OK, provocative title aside, it is the truth. The texture of Gu just does not work for me. And it isn't just Gu brand it is the gels in general. My history with Gu goes like this. Back in the day (~Oct 07) as I was training for my 1st half-M and as my mileage was increasing I decided it was time to experiment with fueling.

Strawberry-banana was the flavor I decided to give a whirl on a 12 mile run. Around an hour into the run I give it a go. Now mind you, I feel ridiculous eating and running. I feel like the people around me want to say "Ok chubby, you may be missing the point of running", but that aside I open my packet and put about half the packet in my mouth. AUTOMATIC PANIC, my gag reflex turns on and I cannot will myself to swallow. For the next 0.5mile I run with a mouthful of Gu, trying to figure out what to do with it.

Fast forward 9months and I decide to give Gu another chance for 2 reasons: 1. I have a hard time with solids during a race and 2. I almost died after the half marathon until I ate an orange which makes me think I need to focus on taking fuel if I am seriously considering training for a full marathon. My latest attempt with Gels was this last Saturday.

It has been 3 weeks since my big race and I am planning on doing an Oly distance this Sat so I did a decent Brick. It was a 26mi bike ride and 7 mi run which I thought would be the perfect time to practice gels. I snipped the tops before I headed out for easy access and set an alarm for 1hr into my ride. At this appointed time I tackled my first gel (this was a powerbar brand, tangerine flavor). OK, I have to say here, does it make anyone else crazy that it takes that much volume for 100 cals, I'm pretty sure if you put a 100cals of Starbucks mint-chip frap it would be ~one drop. So, I bravely squeeze one into my mouth and the panic returns…but this time I'm on a bike fumbling to remain in control and not litter and get to my water bottle. I swallow. But it was not pleasant and I think the stress it caused me was > the energy it gave me.

~45min later, I get either optimistic or delusional and decide to give the Hammer gel a try (Raspberry). This packet is even bigger and while the flavor wasn't bad (it tasted like melted jello) IT WAS A GIANT MESS. It got all over my hands and since I couldn't down the whole thing, it spilled into my jersey pocket which later wound up leaking on the seat of my car.

I think the bottom line here is that I am not Gel'in. So I still need to figure out my fueling situation but on the run I had a very successful time with ½ Melon flavor Gatorade& ½ water…totally saved my butt!


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