Maybe six months ago when I was prepping for the last half marathon I was wondering what to eat when running. Mostly people recommended those gel pack things. So I thought I’d try them. But I didn’t. The half marathon came and went, I didn’t eat anything while I was running it because, well, procrastination.
I rarely go into sporting good or running stores …them’re dangerous places for my skinny wallet! And when I do it’s usually for a specific purpose which means I’m so focused on whatever I came in to get (really just not getting distracted and forgetting what I came in to get) that I don’t even think about picking up some energy gels. Really I only think about getting something to sustain my long runs when I’m on said long run, usually about six miles or so in. Last weekend when I did my nine mile run that’s exactly what happened. But then something different happened: I was shopping for running shoes online the next night and actually remembered that I wanted some gels.
There were lots of brands, styles, and flavors to choose from but I thought it would be safest to try the brand I’ve heard the most about. GU.
Besides they have a flavor called “espresso love”. How can that be bad???
They had a lot of flavors to choose fro, having never tried anything like this I really wasn’t sure which ones would be good or not. I didn’t want to buy a pack of ten just to end up hating the flavor and feeling like I had wasted my money so I did the sensible thing and ordered a 24 pack sampler box. It arrived on my porch yesterday which was not long run day but I figured I’d sample one before my regular run just to see what it’s like.
Yeahh, I’m really not sure about this!
Did I mention my slightly neurotic food texture issues? No?
Well, I have a hard time with soft, undefined textures when it comes to food. I’m fine with Jell-o, not so much with guacamole (the green doesn’t help…food color is a thing too) or that crazy grey goop some people like on biscuits. Just thinking about it makes me shudder. And yet there I was about to try something called an energy gel. That texture was very off putting. I had to take a few deep breaths and pretend I was eating something more solid. No gel slurping here! I took precise little bites and got it all down. A few deep breaths and a glass of water later and I was ready to run. I started with the Jet Blackberry flavor. It seemed innocuous and purple is an okay color. Really it looked a little like jam. Maybe I should spread it on toast next time. Except that wouldn’t be especially helpful six miles into a run.
Because I was only doing a shorter run yesterday I’m not really sure if the GU served it’s purpose or not but I was able to tolerate the flavor and texture (if just barely) and it did not bother my stomach. I’m looking forward to trying another one during my long run tomorrow. We’ll see how that goes. I don’t usually carry water with me (because who needs hydration on an hour and a half long run?) so that might make this harder to swallow…literally.