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May 19, 2006

Berry Burnout

You know what? I've done a lot of blogging this week. The whole strawberry mini-series idea turned out to be more work than I anticipated. I cranked out four posts that were much longer than I originally intended. I spent way too much time on the computer each night.

I'm tired. My kids miss me. My wife thinks I'm becoming an Internet recluse. And to top it off, the number of comments dropped off steadily with each post - a clear sign of collective fatigue settling in to R&R this week. (One other comment-related note: is anybody else interested to see a post from Olga elaborating on her comment about teen love in a strawberry field? Maybe if enough of us suggest it, she'll indulge us.)

So today, I'm keeping it short. One quick story with a strawberry theme, and I'm calling it a week. Just for kicks, I'll even relate it to Wednesday's Jewel post as well. And I promise to keep it under 300 words. Starting...now:

My favorite flavors of energy gels have always been 1) just plain, and 2) vanilla bean, in that order. But you know what they say about plain vanilla guys. So every now and then I get this wild notion to try something different.

So at the Big Sur Marathon expo I bought energy gels from a vendor, and noticed one of the Clif Shot flavors was "Sonic Strawberry". And, well...you know how I feel about strawberries by now. I bought a few packs to add a little flavor to my training.

Last week I did my first long run since the marathon, and brought the Sonic Strawberry with me. About 8 miles into the run, I finally got to try it.

It tasted absolutely awful. How could they screw such a delicious flavor up so badly? It reminded me of cough syrup and Sucrets. I drank about half of my bottle of Gatorade just trying to rinse the taste out of my mouth.

Then I remembered that the reason I settle into patterns in the first place is because I like those particular patterns. Sure, I'm a plain vanilla guy, but that's what I've found works best for me after years of trial and error.

The Sonic Strawberry experiment was my version of Jewel trying out hair extensions and body glitter in 2003: the notion that being more exotic or exciting will make life more appealing and/or successful. Not surprisingly, the results didn't work out well for either of us.

So on my next long run I'm going back to using my vanilla bean and just plain Gu packets, and not second guessing my boring preferences.

And the next time I get a strawberry craving, I'll just eat some out of the refrigerator.


olga 5/19/06, 10:34 AM  

I won't budge, I can't break my perfect image of a mother and a wife...well, that is if I stop mentioning butt in every race description:)
How about America kicking out last good singer? Chris, then Eliott? Are we going to be left with Taylor? And you are not writing about it?
OK, back to the topic of your post: gels. I like plain or coffee, but because I also found that e-crank work for me best and they only serve those miserable flavors of cough syrups (yuk!), I have to endure. At night, though, nothing is better than plain gu. Or soup from a cup.

stronger 5/19/06, 10:56 AM  

I felt the same way when I tried the Clif bloks in strawberry. Stawberry flavor is best left to strawberries.

Anne 5/19/06, 11:19 AM  

I think anytime you screw with nature, you're gonna be sorry. Gu, to me, has the consistency of cake batter and therefore plain and vanilla fit the sensory expectations a little better. And I think Malcolm G. is having an impact on your blogging -- all these odd, random items you connect so nicely.

jeff 5/19/06, 4:29 PM  

i'm a vanilla bean gu guy, too, donald. but don't let anyone tell you that vanilla is plain. vanilla is one of the richest flavours! it just happens to be represented by colourless advertising. don't be fooled...you know what they say about us vanilla guys...(i'm not sure what they say, but i'm just referencing your line as if there's some great mystery about vanilla lovers).

backofpack 5/19/06, 6:47 PM  

Just Plain for me, if I can get it vanilla or espresso will do - but only once in a while. Way too sweet otherwise.

What do they say about vanilla guys? Huh? Huh? What?

susie 5/19/06, 7:35 PM  

Never mess with the right Gu. But have you tried Cliff Shots? A little chewy but they worked for me.

robtherunner 5/19/06, 8:27 PM  

I am a chocolate Gu guy. I wonder what they say about that. I could just never get used to the vanilla, or any other flavor. I can only handle about 4 or 5 before I want to throw up though.

matt 5/20/06, 3:38 PM  

i will have to give the vanilla a try. i am currently struggling through the offerings of most of the gel companies. i have found that chocolate or espresso taste the way i might expect, but anything with a fruit flavor is a ticket to heartburn city.

do you think that certain gels are better than others? help you perform better? it seems like they have roughly the same amounts of potassium and sodium, while some may have more calories. i am curious about the clif bloks.

Jon in Michigan 5/21/06, 5:14 AM  

I had a chocolate Gu once. It was HORRIBLE. I think they label it with the flavor just so that you know what it was supposed to taste like.

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