On Sunday I set out to put the mythical 20 mile run behind me. I dont know what it is about this distance but it seems so daunting every time I am due to crack it for the first time in a long time It seems like it is 20 miles tall and long. In the end I ended up with 20.2 miles, and it was a little slower than I desired even though I was trying to keep the pace at long run pace (in other words very slow for a dude who is as slow as I am).
I did try something new on this run, I tinkered with my fueling. I recently bought a 6 pack of GenUcan superstarch from Holabird sports-the only place I found that sells the 6 pack. I didn’t want to invest in a tub if I was not sure how it would work. I did a fair amount of research before buying it and I was fairly convinced that what I was purchasing was not snake oil but a good well thought out product. It was kind of humorous to see some professional triathletes and some others dismissing the effectiveness of the product on message boards, even funnier that they are sponsored by other nutritional supplement companies and they could not stop talking about how good these other products are. Every time I see people attacking a rival with such furor it makes me think that they are on the defensive as they see a real threat. Another reason to try Ucan.
If you don’t know what the superstarch is, here it is in a nutshell. “Generation UCAN is powered by SuperStarch, a healthy, natural, gluten-free innovation in carbohydrate nutrition. SuperStarch is a complex carbohydrate (derived from non-GMO corn) that uniquely stabilizes blood sugar and causes virtually no reaction from the fat-storage hormone insulin. It’s backed by proven science. Finally there’s a healthier, more efficient energy source than sugars, caffeine, or high-carb meals. Originally discovered for children with life-threatening energy imbalances, SuperStarch is a revolutionary fuel being used for ENERGY, SPORTS, and FITNESS.” -taken from their website, even the colored and bolded words! Another big plus for GUC is that it is easy on the stomach, I usually don’t have GI distress issues when running but many people do. And honestly as I get older I do notice a little stomach distress here and there but nothing continual-knock on wood.
Another thing I noticed when doing a little research is how many people take this product…in ways never intended and contrary to what it is to be used for. Example…I don’t know how many times I read people say that they didn’t like the flavor so they mixed the powder with Gatorade or some other “sports drink” or they started using gels 15-30 minutes after the event started. Why? Do people even read instructions or take time to see what their products intended uses are? By taking it with a sugary drink or taking gels 15 minutes into your event will cause an insulin spike, the opposite of what you are doing with the U Can. Take a look, take a read and know what you are using. It is too expensive to use incorrectly.
I ordered the Cran-Raz flavor and was fairly surprised by the taste and flavor. It really does thicken up the water you mix it with, I even added more so that it was thinner. It would be very easy to make a gel or paste out of this stuff to take with you-which as you will see I will probably be doing in the future. I took one packet 30 minutes before I set out and from what I had read that would probably fuel me for around 2 hours of moderate low/intensity running. I got to about 1:45 into the run before i started to notice that my legs were asking for a little something more to fuel them, so that is by far the longest I have ever been able to go without additional fuel sources. I wish that I would have had a second drop bottle or gel for me to get around 2 hours, maybe next weekend I will try that technique. The run went well until around mile 17 then the wheels fell off and I did a LOT of walking to get me back home.
I am sure that you are wondering to yourself, “How is the 50k training coming?” Well as you read I did get a 20 mile run in, however the schedule called for a 26 mile run last weekend, and I was not in that shape. And considering that the last 3 miles killed me, I wasn’t even really in 20 mile shape. Will I be ready or able to do the 31 miles of the McDowell Mountain Frenzy in 4 weeks? I don’t know at this time. I am going to keep training and trying, and will probably be one of those race director favorites who signs up at the last moment if I run it. Tonight should give me a little insight to where I am as I have an easy 45-60 minute run on the schedule, so how I do there will most probably set the tone for the rest of the week and as of right now my hips and legs are really tight. Hopefully some stretching during the day and getting a slow few miles on them will loosen them up. Oh, here is a picture from Sunday morning…coming down.