Thursday, August 04, 2011

Search for Nutrition

It has been four years since I started training for longer distance races. In that time I still have not found nutrition that works for me. It is like trying to find Jimmy Hoffa. You know he is out there, but you just don't know where.

Here are some of the things I have tried over the years:

GU Energy gel in most of the flavors. I was able to get over the texture -- come on ladies (and some gents) we all know what texture I am referring, but it was the way it sat in my stomach. I've tried it several times. Finally, I decided it just doesn't work for me. **Can I tell you how hard it was not to put in a "I don't swallow" joke here? Wonder how many times my blog will be found now!?

Shot Blocks didn't do it for me either. Or Sport Beans. Get stuck in the teeth. Too sweet, hard to get out of the packet when running and not fun to eat when they are warm. However, I could get over all that, but what really did it for me was they make me thirsty. I would drink too much water and then feel bloated.

Red Li Hing Mui Seed. What the hell is that, you ask? Here are the ingredients: plum, sugar, salt, licorice, aspartame and coloring. This is a snack from a friend who lives in Hawaii. This is what she uses when out on a long run for nutrition. It is a plum seed that is coated in sugar and salt. You tuck the seed in the side of your mouth, like you do tobacco, except you don't spit. It is the weirdest flavor -- at first it is sweet --and you think it isn't so awful. Then it hits you. The salt. It is overpowering, but still it has that sweetness! Your mouth start watering like crazy which only intensifies the flavor! I could only keep it in my mouth (insert joke here) for about 5 minutes. It is definitely an acquired taste. If anyone would like to try, let me know. Still have two packets sitting in a drawer. Bet they have a self life of Twinkies.

Chi Seeds. A woman in my running group a few years ago would put chi seeds in her water. The seeds would get gelatinous -- that word just sounds gross, doesn't it? She said it tasted like ice tea, but the chi seeds were good for energy, blah, blah. Okay. I would try it. As you can tell by now, I will try anything (insert joke here). But I couldn't get over the texture of the gelatinous seeds. I was like drinking tapioca pudding. Didn't notice any energy boost either.

And finally, salt packets. Another runner told me she would pour a salt packet on her tongue, drink some water and she was good to go. Doesn't sound good does it? It isn't. During a long run of 17 miles, I stopped, opened the packet of salt I had from the glove department of my car, dumped it on my tongue, drank some water and nearly puked. Check this one off the list.

Next on my list is trying Stinger Waffles. I've read rave reviews about them so maybe, just maybe I've found my Jimmy Hoffa.


Ms. Duffy said...

SO MANY TWSS MOMENTS! No, I don't like Gu or gels either - too messy. I can deal with the blocks. The waffles are freaking delicious, but I don't know how they'd go down while running (oh, I did it too and I didn't even mean to! TWSS!!!) since I've only had them on the bike. Report back... good luck!

Carla @ I Run, You Run said...

Gu messes up my stomach BADLY.

I've heard of people that put shotbloks in the freezer, to avoid eating them while hot, and they said it works.

Have you tried Hammer Gel? The texture is similar to Gu, BUT the Banana or the Apple Cinnamon flavor are delicious (like the real thing), and the flavor fits the texture (it's as if you're eating mushed bananas or apple pie filling) so for some reason that doesn't gross me out as much as the Gu.

I have a friend that loves Honey Stinger, and it taste like honey (so texture it's just like honey), but I found it too sweet.

As for salt, I use endurolytes pills. One before the run, then one per hour for long runs in the summer. They don't give me energy though, but do help me from dehydrating or getting cramps (as I don't like sipping on warm gatorade). Just don't tuck them into your pocket, but put in a ziploc bag first -- sweat + pill capsule means just dissolved salt in your pocket.

I tried Heed before, the reviews on Amazon are great, but the flavor just made me feel thirsty the whole time, even though I knew it wasn't thirst. It's like a salty gatorade.

Bridget said...

Thanks, Carla. Good to know that I am not the only one out there. And I hear you about warm Gatorade. With all the products out there you think they could come up with one to keep things cold!

Bridget said...

Ms. Duffy -- I am fairly certain I've traumatized my family with this post.

Samantha said...

I love honey stinger waffles, but they are very sweet....and they're kind of large so I have no idea how you would carry them on a run. I prefer to have those pre-race/run.

I find hammer/clif/honey stinger gels to be the best because they are the most "natural" I also know of some people who make a jelly/PB&J sandwich, cut it up into small pieces, and put it in a ziplock bag to eat on their run.