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Gu Review

19 Feb

So I love Gu. I heart their products so hard. And guys, no one is even paying me to say that (although, you know, you can if you want). I thought about my love for Gu at length during yesterday’s 28k. Well I alternated between thinking about Gu and being convinced that the noise the wind was making was actually murderers and/or ghosts. But my insanity can’t be that interesting for you, so back to Gu

I love their gels and their electrolyte drink mixes and I’m not ashamed of it. I know there are some fancier brands out there with all-organic ingredients and natural sweeteners but eff that I love Gu. Tried Clif Shots and they gave me the barfs. Gatorade and Powerade make my intestines cry. Powerbar Gels — that doesn’t even make sense. You can’t be a bar and a gel at the same time. Gu is where it’s at

My favourites in particular, and the products I am most familiar with, are the gels. As someone who generally tries to limit sugar, taking a shot of pure liquid carb gel is like committing adultery (also known as the most fun sin). But even I have to admit that not all Gu gels are made the same.

So I present to you, dear reader, a completely subjective and unscientific review of Gu gel flavours. I do not pretend to have any real understanding of how the gels make me not want to die during three-hour runs. I don’t care about their patented recipe or the carb mix or whatever. All I know is that some taste like heaven and some taste like balls.

 

First off, the winners:

 

Sublime happiness in portable packaging.

Chocolate Outrage:

My absolute go-to. I’ve bought several 24-pack boxes of these babies. I used to be able to knock out a whole pan of fudge in my better days; chocolate was my thing. After shaping things up food-choices-wise, I don’t get quite so much chocolate in my life. These taste like how I imagine Nutella would taste without the hazelnut. Or like Betty Crocker chocolate icing but better. Just pure chocolatey, sugary, goodness.

 

Mint Chocolate:

The obvious next step. Just as good as plain chocolate, but with mint. Like downing molten Peppermint Patties. Perfection.

 

Espresso:

Tastes how I think the specialty drinks at Starbucks and TimmyHo’s should taste.  Just thicker. Which makes it sound gross. But if you can’t get over the texture of a gel now you never will.

 

Vanilla Bean:

Like vanilla pudding. Enough said.

 

Peanut Butter:

Just found out yesterday that they’re introducing this flavour. Promptly went into convulsions of joy. Peanut butter is my ultimate, numero uno, favourite food in the world. Beating even chocolate. I know.

 

And the losers:

Anything fruit-related:

Strawberry-Banana, Lemon-Lime, Orange, Tri-Berry, Jet-Blackberry… all taste like dollar-store candy. Like something’s not quite right. Like somebody cloned the fruit in a laboratory and it turned out to be evil so they made carb gels out of them. I do not recommend these ones.

 

Gu Roctane:

I don’t dislike the idea of the Gu Roctane line; they call these products ‘race day gels’ and they’re supposed to give an extra boost with double the caffeine and other scientific crap like amino acids or whatever. It’s just that the flavours they came up with are terrible! The Vanilla-Orange tastes unholy, the Pineapple like the tears of leprechauns, and Blueberry Pomegranate? UGH. Island Nectar? What does that mean?

 

Plain:

Never tried it. Can’t get over the idea of just plain sugar goo. I need some flavour to provide at least a sheen of reasonableness, like I’m not just dipping a soup spoon into the sugar bag and downing the mountain of calories that comes out.

 

So that’s my roundup of the Gu gel product line. It’s incomplete but I live in Canada and don’t get all the cool flavours okay? Jeez. You may have different thoughts but those are mine.

Disclaimer: You don’t need gels or electrolyte drinks or protein bars unless you’re running many kilometers a week. Don’t waste your money. When I first started running I would read all these articles about proper carbo-loading and electrolyte imbalances and get myself worked up about it. Truth is, you’re probably fine with a bit of carbs in your belly and a piece of fruit and some protein as a post-run snack. I personally only use gels if I’m running 12-15k+, and then only sparingly. So relax.

Do you have a favourite brand of energy gel? Do you even use them or prefer something less Frankenstein-like (raisins, homemade carb bars, something like that)? Any recommendations? Looking forward to hearing everyone’s opinion!

Tales of Toes

8 Jan

I had an absolutely ridiculous amount of time off for the holidays this year, nearly a month. I am not good with free time. I can handle about a day/ day and a half of not working or not going to school before I go mental. I hate just sitting around wasting time. This holiday was no exception. I’d get my run out of the way early in the morning and then have a huge gaping day of free time in front of me that I had no idea what to do with. This may sound appealing to many of you but I am the sort of person who needs to be doing something productive.

So I got some things done. Worked out some financial/government things that had been hanging over my head. Completed my application to my dream school with fingers crossed (UBC Sauder reps, if you’re reading this… choose me!). Finally got around to focusing on speedwork. And, most important, painted my nails. I painted them right up.

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be worthy of a story, but having enough time to paint my nails and not have them get messed up when I have to do something productive was pretty exciting for me.

Also, this:

Happy Feet! Get it? HAPPY FEET.

Just kidding. I was going to attach a photo of the nightmare I found on my right big toenail. And then I decided I liked having people read my posts and didn’t want to scare anyone away.

I’ll put it this way: when I took the old nail polish off my toes, I originally thought I’d painted my big toe black and then covered it with the bright blue I thought I was removing. Nope! That would have been stupid! Turns out I jammed my toe somehow and it’s just black! Doesn’t hurt at all and hasn’t hurt in my recent memory, so I’m forced to assumed it happened on a long run somewhere along the way and the runner’s high allowed me to ignore it.

Either that or I’m just utterly insensitive to odd pains in my feet anymore. On second thought, this seems more likely. I’m sure I’ve just convinced a lot of you to take up running with these mental pictures! You’re welcome!

That’s my fun running story of the week. In terms of training, I’m just working on building up mileage and trying to get a better handle on pre-run meals because I’ve been losing steam a little more mid-run than I’m used to. I’ve started taking Gu’s with me for the long runs and trying to load up on more carbs the night before. Hopefully I’ll start seeing improvements soon! Any tips would be appreciated.

And hey, it’s the second week of January already! Good luck to everyone with resolutions! Sticking with it is the hardest part. Also, I’ve been thinking about getting into foam-rolling because of a tight hamstring. Any thoughts?

Happy trails everyone!

Okanagan Half Pre-Race Nutrition

10 Oct

I have to be honest here; I am no expert whatsoever on nutrition for training or to prepare for races. I’m not even slightly educated in the sense that I feel I could fake it in front of non-runners. I try to eat healthy all of the time but if I’m honest with myself, I probably don’t eat enough carbs. Carbs being the nutrients that even the fatty watching Oprah knows runners need to stay fuelled. I eat a heck ton of fruits and vegetables but I tend to avoid breads and pastas. I do eat pasta the night before my long run once a week and I eat oatmeal and quinoa almost daily. That’s it for grains though.

So I was kind of uncertain how to go about eating in the days leading up to my race. I ate a little more than usual, but no big difference in types of food consumed. The night before, I ate a butt load of pasta with broccoli, spinach, and onions. I tend to mix my food together in a big ol bowl so that mix might sound gross to you but I really liked it. I woke up at five the morning of the race (with a start time of 7:45) to have some oatmeal with a few raisins. This part I was most uncertain about. I had never eaten before a run at all. Ever.  I always run first thing in the morning; rolling out of bed and eating when I get home. This works fine for me, because I usually run about 5 or 6 in the morning. But with this late start time, I knew I needed to eat something. I was real nervous though that switching up my eating the day of the race would be a bad idea; visions of side-of-the-road barf breaks danced in my head. I also had a little caffeine at 7 and left for the race, feeling a little anxious.

But everything turned out just fine! See my next post for the race report y’all!