Sunday was a packed day, full of family-get-together plans, and my training schedule called for a 14-miler, which meant getting out the door early-ish, say 8:30 a.m.
I may have mentioned in the past that I'm not a morning person, so waking up was already a chore. And if I wanted to eat something before my run, I had to get up even earlier. I tried, honest I did. Instead of awaking at 7:30 as planned, I pulled myself from the warm confines of bed a little after 8:00.
If I ate something like a bagel as I had planned, I'd probably find the Puke Threshold in the first couple miles. Or at the very least, I'd be suppressing an angry food baby the whole way. I opted to skip breakfast, but I figured I'd need some sort of caloric intake for the nearly two and a half hours I'd be running.
That's when I remembered the Jolly Ranchers in the candy bowl.
I loaded up the tiny pouch on my handheld water bottle with seven pieces of sugary goodness (one for every two miles), and I hit the Towpath. I unzipped the pouch and pulled out my first candy at the second mile marker I passed, and it lasted a good while longer than I expected. All told, I consumed only four pieces.
I am unashamedly a cheapskate. I have purchased various electrolyte products like gels and sports drinks in the past, but I find them pricier than they are helpful. Why do I have to pay so much for a serving of carbohydrates, potassium and sodium? And then I have to suck one down every hour? I don't think so.
The candy provided me with a long-lasting trickle of moisture and carbs, and I felt strong the entire run. I don't have a cost-benefit analysis prepared yet, but I assure you that you'll get more for your dollar's rapidly declining value with a bag of Jolly Ranchers than you will with a box of Gu. However, I cannot guarantee that your face won't break out with zits.
[Drunkard's note: Comparing the nutritional information for Jolly Ranchers and Gu, I consumed one and a third servings of Jolly Ranchers instead of four recommended servings of Gu. Though Jolly Ranchers contain far fewer calories, carbohydrates, potassium (none) and sodium than Gu, my run didn't suffer for it. And neither did my wallet.]