I am a clumsy person, unsuited for any sport that involves any sort of stick, ball or other implement. Running after a ball with a stick would pretty much be a guaranteed serious injury. My peers in elementary school gym class recognized this well before I did, and could find no better way to convey this observation than consistently picking me last for pretty much any team sport in gym class.
So I decided I wanted to be a runner. This was 35 years ago. They didn’t have sports drinks, sports gels, etc. The modern running shoe with the Bowerman/Nike “waffle sole” had only been invented 9 years earlier. But even then, I had trouble keeping up my speed beyond 4 or 5 miles. Nowadays we call this “hitting the wall” – it’s when glycogen stores in the liver and bloodstream are depleted. Gifted endurance athletes carry more and hit the wall later. But the rest of us can delay this point a little by consuming easily digestible, simple sugars along the way. As a 13-year-old, I addressed this by carrying little bags of gummy bears along with me on runs.
So nowadays they have these fancy sports gels, with vitamins and sometimes caffeine and other things, along with sugar, in an easily consumable goop. But living in India, I sometimes have a hard time finding them. I’m not sure if they even really work – they may be a security blanket or a placebo, but whatever it is, I’ll take it. I have a bunch on the way from Amazon.com.
But the mail here is unpredictable; and for this morning’s Cool Runners Republic Day half marathon, I had none of my magic gels. I was hoping to run sub-2-hours; not really all that impressive a time, but in south India’s heat and humidity (it was 75 Fahrenheit and 79% humidity this morning at 5 am), a 2-hour half marathon has eluded me thus far.
So I had to resort to my tiny gelatin-filled friends from 35 years ago. And with their help, and on bare feet (no waffle soles for me!), I managed to eke out a 1:57 or so (my watch crapped out at the start, so it’s a guess from those who finished around me).
Which goes to show, sometimes “back to basics” is the way to go. Regards to the people at Haribo!
I’m actually happier than I look in the photo below!
(Caveat for my Indian and/or vegetarian running friends who may stumble across this post – gummy bears are usually not vegetarian, often containing beef or other animal gelatin. And lots of yummy sugar.