Eating While Running.

I know the suspense was killing you, but now I can finally tell you that my hamstring is 1000% fine.

My body experiences strange miraculous healings that end up making me seem like the-girl-who-cried-injury time and time again.

Giants Stadium, 8/27/2011, angry hamstring

Where are you Brian Wilson!?!?

I see you checking me out girlfriend

A reader (hi Nelly) even pointed this out: "it seems like your injuries always get sorted out fine, so I bet you'll be okay."

Indeed, I have been running fine all week after taking all of Sunday easy after the Saturday race.  I will officially call it a hamstring strain, and declare that CHERRY JUICE IS AWESOME.  I still think it is the cure for everything.

Happy Labor Day weekend! I haven't been posting anything about this, but I've been driving to my hometown of Napa most every weekend to visit my niece, now 6 weeks old.

I have a compulsion to visit her, but doing so is a huge time commitment that is unsatisfactory in ways.

People think she looks like me, which reminds me that I must be the CUTEST thing in the world.

I drive 1.5 hours to my sister's home (less than 50 miles away, but traffic is ROUGH in the bay area on nice summer days).  Then I see my niece for anywhere from 10 minutes to 60 minutes, because either she is sleeping the whole time, or my sister is too busy with other friends/family during the weekend to make any more time for me.  I hang out with my parents while waiting for my niece to be available.

Then I drive home for an hour, and it is 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. and my day is gone, all for 10 minutes of baby.  And I can't stop visiting because those 10 minutes are worth it!


This Saturday I ran 17.2 miles.  I had slept in, drove the Gentleman to BART since he had to work, filled my ipod up with good podcasts and then set out for a run.

Know what was missing there?  Breakfast.  I left for the run without eating anything.

For whatever reason (maybe an extra large dinner the night before) I wasn't hungry.  But I grabbed a lemon-flavored GU that has been sitting in my cupboard forever, because I figured I would get hungry, and because I need to practice eating while running.

Before Saturday, I had only three prior experiences with eating while running.

1) During the Napa marathon in 2010, I ate sports beans around mile 19.  They tasted so good I swore I could feel them infusing me with a second wind.  However, it annoyed the crap out of me that they were bouncing around in my pocket for 19 miles.

2) I tried running on my own with regular jelly beans a few times.  I found it kind of pointless; I simply don't get hungry on the average long run, just thirsty.

3) I ate a few Gu Chomps, and some dried cherries, during miles 13-through-20 of the Eugene Marathon.

problem:  I was getting minor side-cramps each time I ate something.  solution: remember to breathe while eating.

When I saw the professional race pictures, I realized I when I was sucking on a Chomp, I wasn't opening my mouth for that minute to get adequate oxygen.

In most running pictures my mouth is open.  Here, sucking on a Chomp.  (Hey look, you can see my real name!)

breathing right, cheeks flapping

 On my Saturday 17-miler, I was unusually fatigued around mile 12 and decided it was because I needed food.  I pulled over to an elementary school water fountain where 7 construction workers ate their sandwiches and stared at me.  Then I pulled out the Gu, teared it open with my teeth, and alternated sips of water with globs of Gu.

As soon as it hit my tongue I felt energized, I swear.  It hit the spot, and the normally disgusting sugary glop tasted beautiful.  I tossed the scraps and continued running up a long hill -- no cramps, and I truly felt less fatigued.

However, I have no clue how to approach this in a race without losing 2 minutes of time.  Normally I grab a cup of water and let 3 driblets get in my mouth while the rest falls all over my shirt, sometimes I choke a little.  It's a mess.

How do I translate my typical  time-saving and sloppy hydration method to fully gulping water while snacking on some Gu?

What do you do in races?  I'm interested in trying dried cherries again since I am such a hardcore cherry juice advocate.  Do you think eating is necessary? Do you just drink the Gatorade-type drinks?