Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My Stomach, Dean Karnazes and Tailwind Nutrition

I am not Dean Karnazes.


I've never run through Death Valley. I haven't attempted to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. It never occurred to me, until I read it in Ultramarathon Man (written by Dean) that one man should attempt to run a 200+ mile race on his own that was created for a team of runners. These are a few good reasons I cannot be compared to Dean.

Another reason that Dean and I cannot be in the same conversation, other than this blog post, is I do not have Dean's stomach. For those of you that have read Mr Karnazes' autobiography referenced above, you'll recall the famous story of Dean ordering a pizza while on a long run. He didn't wait to finish the run to consume the pizza. Nope. He had it delivered while on the run and proceeded to eat the pizza while running. And not just a slice or two. And not a light, veggie, cheese-less variety. No, he ordered the full-on extra everything pizza. And then proceeded to eat the entire thing. While running.

One slice of pizza consumed on a run, let alone a whole pizza, would have me in sore straights within about 30 minutes. Since I'm now almost exclusively a trail runner I'd at least have the luxury of finding a bush or tree to squat behind while nature ran its unfortunate course. But when I run I'd rather be running, not 'running', if you know what I mean. Through years of trial and error while running road and trail I have discovered that I do not have a stomach of steel. I can't eat sandwiches, granola, candy bars, burritos, GUs, or even most liquid brands of fuel.

This has been very discouraging.

After all, a runner needs fuel, especially when on training runs that last 3-5 hours and races that last over 12 hours. And even though I have trained my body to use fat pretty efficiently, having an easily digestible source of fuel is essential to perform well.

Which brings me to Tailwind Nutrition.

By way of the brilliant podcast Trail Runner Nation as well as a personal recommend from a fellow Ultra runner, I discovered Tailwind. It has been a game changer for me. Not only does it provide fast but also sustainable fuel, but it has never given me a stomach ache. For that matter, there's been times where I've felt a stomach ache coming on and a swig of TW has calmed my digestive system right down. And it mixes and dissolves oh so easily in water. There's never left over sludge in the bottom of my hydration pack. Last but not least, it simplifies fueling because it contains the right balance of electrolytes meaning you don't have to carry and remember to take separate electrolyte capsules. Did I mention it tastes great? Yep, I love the flavor.

Since some of you may be wondering my motive for singing the praises of TW let me be clear that I am not being compensated in any way by the makers of Tailwind. No free product, no swag, no dinero. I just figured if any of you struggle with the same issues I have in finding a product that will sustain your endurance workouts without the painful and wildly inconvenient 'gut bomb' that other products can cause, you'd like to know what I've found works for me. So go to their site and try the Tailwind Challenge. A no risk way to see if it works for you as well as it has for me. Let me know what you think!

I wonder if Dean has ever tried Tailwind...

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