I made a major step this past weekend.
At least I made a major step in my own mind (which is where it really matters, right?). I went from being a runner just because I run, to a being a real-life, race-registered, capital-R Runner. I made the decision to practice a mid-run re-fuel. I had always been a peanut-butter-toast runner. At the last peak in my running — weekend 10-milers through the Winter of 2009 — I stepped it up to a post-run Powerade Slush at Sonic and a cookies-and-cream PowerBar (a treat so tasty that at times it became by ONLY motivation for those runs).
But now I have become aware of a whole new conversation about mid-run refueling. Friends in Run Group have vehement opinions on various brands and flavors. And that’s only after they’ve settled the gel vs. gummy debate. I’ve found plenty in the blogosphere to read about these issues from other bloggers and their readers alike. Seems everyone has some sort of input on mid-run refueling, which I didn’t even consider doing until last week. Even though I’ve been able to knock out my 10-milers this time around, I’ve definitely had to overcome some major downturns in energy, stamina, and endurance. This, and my recent exposure to the whole debate, prompted me to get with it and become a mid-run re-fueler. I picked up a pack of PowerBar Gel Blasts, which are essentially performance Gushers (Throwback!) because I really don’t think I have what it takes to stomach a gel or goo.
The re-fueling debate centers not only on WHAT to eat, but also WHEN to eat it. Since waiting until you think you need fuel is way too late to actually benefit from it, and since you must have water with a Gel Blast and I don’t carry water with me, I opted to pop a Gel Blast just before running up on the free water stations that a local running store here sets up daily at opposite ends of my long-run loop. (By the way, can you believe they do that? RunTex, you seriously rock.)
So, the verdict is IN and the re-fueling was a complete and total success. (1) I did not puke in a downtown trash can, which I’ve heard is a common outcome on the first re-fueling practice. (2) I felt great during the whole 10 miles, and maintained a very steady pace. (3) I felt pretty good AFTER the 10 miles, not nearly as wiped as I’ve been in the past. All-in-all, I’m stoked that the first attempt at mid-run re-fueling went as well as it did. I’m going to keep working on it with my remaining long runs before the Austin Half Marathon.
I will definitely rock it out on race day!