The Truth About G.I. Jane

I debated long and hard before I hit the publish button after completing yesterday’s post. In the end I decided that what I wrote was the truth and if a certain someone was angry with me, well then, tough cookies!

The reality is that it turned out to be a good thing. Not only did I get amazingly positive and supportive emails (and comments) from my bloggy friends and family alike, the hubby was awfully nice for the rest of the day. He actually took Sophie to the grocery store on a Sunday (this never happens) and worked hard in the kitchen making the most beautiful sushi for our dinner.

Even though the truth hurts sometimes,  it’s always better to speak it than hide behind the fear.  Plus, if we shared our common experiences more, wouldn’t we feel a lot less the less alone in the world?

I think so.

An unfortunate truth about running long distances is the effect that the duration of exercise can have on the gastrointestinal tract.

It’s common knowledge among long distance runners that the depletion of glycogen stores in the muscles (that happens about every forty-five minutes to an hour into exercise) must be replenished to boost energy and aid in recovery. It’s also widely understood that any experimentation with how to manage carbohydrate and glucose replenishment should be practiced during training, never during a race, to ensure no unfortunate G.I. Issues (before, during, or after).

At the of start of my adventure in longer distanced running I played with different flavors of Gu (a sticky gel like substance). It has a funny texture, which is why a lot of people don’t like it, but one of my marathoning heroines (the amazing M.M.) turned me onto the Vanilla Bean flavor, which I love. Once a Gu is taken, it is important to drink a good amount of water to get it into the system. Soon after sucking it down I can feel the legs pick up steam, and the caffeine (in it) perks me up like a good shot of coffee would.

It was working fine, but I was curious about the Cliff Shot Bloks, which are like big square gummies with carbs and electrolytes, and so recently began rotating them in; Gu and then Bloks at about every five miles. I started to miss the caffeine, though, so I moved back to my Gu with a few Bloks thrown in when needed. I also filled two of my four Fuel Belt bottles with watered down Gatorade, a tip I received from the nice guy at the running store.

The strategy had thus far been successful, but in an effort to promote even better and faster recovery (or push my luck as I have been known to do), I decided to experiment even further.

I’d read that Gatorade (as fluid/electrolyte replacement) was better than drinking plain water after a long run, so soon after I got home on Saturday I started to guzzle the stuff.

This is when (I am convinced) the experiment went awry.

By awry, I mean that my G.I. tract revolted.

By revolted, I mean, it was revolting!

I tried to think of a good title for a post about an unhappy gastrointestinal tract; G.I. Jane, or G.I Martha, or Don’t Drink The Hatorade?

Whatever the title, my more important goal was to share this little piece of information with the hope that another runner might know and benefit from my disastrous test.

It’s always better to know than to wonder.

Ain’t that the truth.

5 thoughts on “The Truth About G.I. Jane

  1. Oh, I hate that feeling! At least you now know what not to do. I discovered that I can’t handle drinking Gatorade or eating anything sweet after long runs or triathlons, but it took me several instances of feeling horrible after a race to figure that out. I really like Shotbloks – there are some flavors that have caffeine in them too – I’m pretty Black Cherry does and possibly Lemon Lime.

  2. Runner’s tummy is no fun! I learned the hard way also that Gatorade does not work for me. I’m a fan of Vanilla Bean Gu and Nuun as an after run fluid replacement or chocolate milk.

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