Good morning/afternoon/evening -whenever you are reading this-, can I interest you in some maltodextrin combined with filtered water, fructose, leucine, valine, natural and artificial flavoring, sodium and potassium citrate, pectin, calcium carbonate, fumeric acid, sea salt, histidine, citric acid, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (preservatives), GU Herbal Blend™ (Astragalus, Chamomile, Cola Nut Extract [has caffeine], Ginseng), GU Antioxidant Blend™ (Vitamin C, Vitamin E) or GU Tri-Berry Gel for short?
If you are like most people the above sentence is not too inviting but I willingly put myself into a situation where the site of a GU gel packet was the exact culinary experience that I wanted. I had been fantasizing about that gooey sugary maltodextrin for miles and it was finally in my hand. Let me explain.
I run. I intentionally say "I run" and not that i'm a runner because I see 'runners' and do not feel I am at their level of commitment. The perfectly toned body -almost like they run miles while lifting weights- their full wardrobe of race shirts, and the proudly displayed utility belt of water bottles. You know, those people that look perfectly un-fatigued after a 50 mile run while you are hunched over and shuffling along at a speed just barely above walking. Yes them. I can not say I am one of them hence the statement, "I run." Something else that may set me apart from 'runners' is that I don't really run for the pleasure of simulating being chased, I run for the things I get to see- the experience. Being able to run across the Golden Gate bridge at sunrise with no cars in sight. Running through patches of shade and sun in a forest of redwood trees. Or maybe just running/walking in the Bay to Breakers because it's a way to party and see public nudity. In all situations I don't expect to run fast, I just like the experience...except for the running part.
Because of that, when I was told that the Bear Lake Half Marathon was one of the prettiest in the area I signed up. On the day before the race the bestie, the pups and I packed up the car and headed up to the lake for the weekend. I woke up semi-early on Saturday and was driven 13.1 miles in a bus for them to basically say "Ok, now run back."
Yes, I willingly signed up for this.
Normally I would have trained up to this moment but against all reasonable decisions in life, I had not. In my defense I had spent a month walking around the French Quarter in New Orleans and roaming the culinary options of Washington, DC and New York.
As the race started I shuffled along listening to Tina Fey read Bossypants on audiobook. This kept me reasonably distracted from the fact that I was running until about mile 6. Then it hit me. My blood sugar had dropped. I was thirsty, and my 80 year old knees - while I am only in my late 20's- decided to remind me that I was running...for fun. Running for me is an exercise in distraction. As soon as my body realizes that i'm not running away from something it decides to turn my legs in dead weight, my knees into rusty hinges and make sure my brain is thinking about nothing but eating. So there I was, no food, a water station in 2 miles, and I had over 6 miles left to run. Yay for the experience right?
This is the point at which I wanted GU. Chocolate to be exact. Not bread, not rice, not any other amazing meal that I would normally write about. GU. I was eventually given Tri-Berry and was happy with it. It was sugary, it was a loose interpretation of food and for some reason it helped trick my body into being back on board for the experience. While my knees still slowly increased in discomfort my legs were no longer dead weight and my mind was back on Tina Fey talking about 30 Rock.
On a side note, I do not recommend going out and buying GU to snack on. It will be the most sugar rushed, sick to your stomach, feeling ever. Take it from me. This is how I was originally introduced to GU. GU is one of those things that only tastes good when you are physically taxed kind of like five pounds of Spam Masubi tasting AMAZING only after a drunken pub crawl.
Anyway. GU transforms form a sugary gel into a mixture that perfectly melts onto your dehydrated tongue not only providing that necessary nutrients to go on, but also suddenly states like brownie batter. That's right, my favorite one -Chocolate- tastes like brownie batter. Did I mention it's gluten free?