I just can’t do gels. I know they’re convenient and specially formulated and everything, but they remind me of a cross between snot and jelly beans, both of which gross me out.
My usual long-run fuel has been homemade honey balls, but during the Maple Leaf marathon I set mine out on the refueling table in a slightly open bag so I wouldn’t have to waste time or energy fiddling with the zip-lock, and they wound up being way too dry. I was glad I had them, but that experience makes me want to try something else.
Enter Combos, which came into my life shortly after I ended my relationship with Doritos and French fries. (You know what they say, when one door closes another one opens.) They’re every bit as junky and dangerous as what they replaced, and I can’t keep them around the house without getting into trouble. But because I associate them with my postfat life rather than all that came before, I’m more confident about my ability to buy a small bag every once in a while as a special treat – if I’ve got enough Weight Watchers points, that is.
As far as running fuel goes, they’re salty, filling little nuggets that provide plenty of carbs. Yes, they’re junk food. But judging from what other runners brought to eat during the marathon – and every single person there was WAY more experienced than me – the best fuel is what works for you. Yes, there were the usual stacks of gels and energy bars, but I also saw a stack of Snickers and Twix bars in the mix, along with pretzels, tortilla chips, Gummi Bears and who knows what else lurking in various mysterious bags and Tupperware containers.
I’m still a week or so away from doing a long enough run to warrant any on-board fuel besides water, but next time out, I’m going to try bringing a little bag of Combos.