Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My first energy gel

At the half-marathon expo, I picked up a sample PowerBar energy gel from the Team in Training table. I thought that if I continue going for runs longer than 2 hours, especially in hot weather, I might need to try out some other types of fuel. I gave it a try on an 8-mile run last week. (Coincidentally, that was the getting-dive-bombed-by-psychotic-bugs-run, so I forgot to mention the whole gel experience in my last post.)

For this run, I ran an out and back on the trail, and my first problem was when to take the gel so that I could benefit from it and also have a trash receptacle to put the left-over packet. I had stashed the packet in the key pocket of my shorts and did not want to put the gooey package back. I decided on a spot at about mile 3 where there was a parking area and trash can, but I really think that I should look into getting a belt that will allow me to carry more stuff - just to have room for an extra plastic baggie to put the left-over packet would be better than jamming keys, phone, and fuel into one tiny key pocket.

When I got near the spot with the trash can, I pulled the gel out, tore off the top, and tasted it. Was it just the apple flavor, or are all energy gels that disgusting? Really. It tasted like apple-flavored amoxicillin - the same texture, too. I washed the initial amount down with some water and swallowed some more. Wow. Now I know why the companies have come out with so many other fuel products, like sport beans and gummies and water supplements. Energy gels are just gross. But I finished it, deposited the trash in the appropriate receptacle, and continued on my run. I did not feel like I had to take massive amounts of water to go with it, which I did encounter when I experimented with some household foods, so the gel did serve its purpose.

Besides the dive-bombing bugs, the run went very well after that. I didn't feel that drained, even though it was my first long run since the half-marathon and I was expending massive amounts of energy by flailing my arms wildly around my head. I also did not have any GI problems at all, which I know is an issue with energy gels. So dispite the gross taste and texture, energy gels are a fuel option for me. I'd prefer to stick to things like raisins, but it's good to know.

1 comment:

Patrick Mahoney said...

Well no jells are ever going to taste as good as a fresh baked apple fitter or a handmade chocolate shake, I thing some taste better that others. Clif Shots are OK (except vanilla) and GU is OK too.

There are also other things like chews out there (think amped up gummy bears) that you may find more agreeable.

Bottom line is that as you run longer you will have to deal with nutrition so I wouldn't give up just yet...

Good luck to your taste buds!!