I have never met a Gu I truly liked, and certainly there has never been one that I would even consider eating outside of running and racing. Heck, I often look for ways to fuel during runs and races that don’t involve the sticky, overpowering and thick, fake taste that is Gu Gels. I have tried other brands with much the same result.
But! Recently I had the opportunity to try Huma Chia Energy Gels, and I absolutely love the taste. So far my favorite flavor is cinnamon apple. And I am happy to report that these gels contain the same carb content and electrolyte profile to Gu and similar gels. Here are some pictures to compare as well as the company site for Huma.
This blog post is nearly two years old, but I thought I would republish it for some friends who are racing this coming weekend. Sometimes taper is the hardest part of training. I managed a 21 minute marathon PR after this particular piece was written.
Runners do this thing called “taper” in the weeks leading up to goal endurance race. Tapering is essentially a decrease in weekly miles run that allows for repair of muscles, storage of extra glycogen, and amply recovery before race day. It has been shown to increase performance somewhere between 2-8%, depending on how the tapering is done. The most effective tapering plans take into account a runners peak mileage, the length of the race, and the runner’s experience and goals. Plans that decrease intensity along with mileage have been shown to be far less effective than those that decrease mileage but maintain intensity.
But, all that said, that is not really what this post is about.
This post is about Taper Madness. It’s about what happens to your brain on taper.
My last marathon ended in DNF. When I signed up for the City of Oaks Marathon, I wanted one thing: redemption. I could have picked a flat course or course with more aid stations and less greenway running or maybe even one with huge crowds throughout the 26.2 miles. But I chose the City of Oaks Marathon with all of its 1275ft of elevation gain, 10 miles of greenway running, and some lonely stretches.
And the challenge made the redemption all the sweeter.
I have 4 kids; and, in this day and age, that means a lot of standardized tests. Over the years, I have come to realize that many of the questions on these tests are all about “learning to take a test.” You know the ones I am talking about: “All of the above are true except,” and “A, B and C but not D,” or “none of the above except.” You simply have to learn to do questions like this. You may understand all the material, you may be able to talk about main ideas and solve all the problems, but you have to learn to handle the structure of these questions.
Racing is a lot like that. You have to learn to race. You may be fast, have great form, be full of dedication, and all those things you need to get to the finish line, but if you don’t learn to race, you will never get to the line first.
On July 26th, I ran in and won overall female at the Rockin’ Summer 5k, a race that is part of the Stubborn Warrior Resolution Series. I only wish I had known about this series of races earlier. I had a great time on this challenging course which is held at the Dorthea Dix Campus of the North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.
I appreciated their responsive customer service, ease of registration and packet pick up, dedicated volunteers, generous goodie bag, and fantastic prizes.
On June 26th 2014, I ran in and won the 10k in the Esprit De She 10k in Cary, NC. I had not originally planned to run any summer races until closer to the end of July (who in their right mind runs a 10k in 90 degree weather?), but I had heard so many positive reviews of this race, which had its inaugural run last year. It’s an 1600 participant, all-woman race held on a Thursday night at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre and billed as a “happy hour run,” ending with live music, free wine and dinner. Free Wine?! After Party? I was in, especially after learning some of my friends were running, too.
Before I go any further detailing that fiasco that was this race, I will say that the free wine and food has kept my mood mostly positive on this one. Sure, we were shirtless, (at times) waterless, crowded, pictureless and (in my case) without a working time chip, but there WAS free wine at the end. Promise delivered.