As mentioned in my last post, I decided that I want to buckle down and get my fueling options squared away before November 12!
So, after chatting with a really helpful and friendly Ragged Mountain Running staffer (who has run Boston multiple times AND ran his last 26.2 within ONE minute of Olympic trials qualification!!) I left the shop with several different options, including:
So far, I have tried the Hammer Gel and I don’t know if it was the mental thing about me just loving Huckleberry flavored stuff, but I was impressed! The gel’s consistency wasn’t too thick, and the flavor didn’t taste overly sticky or fake – I took it right before Mile 6 on my 13.1 mile run on Sunday. As a test, I think I will continue that trend each long run day (a gel every 6 miles) and observe the effect. I have 20 miles on the docket this weekend so that’ll be some good proving ground!!
Of course, I know that the road to finding the right fuel will probably not be as wonderful as with this recent find, but believe me – this foray isn’t just beginner’s luck! In fact…quite the opposite! I am just proud that I’ve stepped back up to conquer this mission!
A little backstory…
In the past, I have both trained with Clif Shot Bloks but their size sometimes isn’t the most conducive to carrying during a race – plus I am not the most coordinated person (understatement of the century!) so I wanted to find an option that was as literally ‘grab and go’ as possible that worked for me. Additionally, I found out that the Richmond Marathon uses Accel Gel so I wanted to somewhat condition my body to them, should I need to take advantage of them at Mile Stops 14 and 21.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find Accel gel locally, so I purchased the first gels I could find, which happened to be the Clif Shot Gels – I just bought one, Razz flavor. I figured hey, I like berry flavored stuff and I love the blocks and the bars, why not this?
Famous last words.
See, I took the gel with me to the Charlottesville HS track one sunny July afternoon. I rode my bike there (about 1.5 miles) then parked, ran about two laps then ripped open the gel and…
I popped open my water bottle and chugged for a good 30 seconds to desperately remove that disgusting flavor and gloppiness out of my mouth, throat and memory. It was somehow salty and thick, artificial tasting and yuck-mo all around. I guess I just didn’t know what I was expecting from the gel, but all I knew was that I did not like it! There were some teenage kids playing flag football in the grassy area surrounded by the track and I swear they stopped and stared at me as I coughed and gasped up a storm by the stairwell.
Needless to say, this weekend’s SUCCESS with the Hammer Gel was definitely a stepping stone! Maybe it’s a combination of a better product, the right mindset (because as you can see, I am giving Clif another shot [PUN INTENDED] but with a different flavor this time!) or just something else completely, but I am so thankful that I ‘got over myself’ in time to get these fueling bases covered before the big race.
How do you fuel? Did it take you a long time to reach the ‘perfect’ formula for you? Any recommendations??