the gluten-free athlete

Not that I’m an athlete. Or am I?

athlete: a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.

My running schedule over the last few months looks like this…

That’s definitely exercise. Could even pass for training. And it certainly requires strength and stamina. I guess I wouldn’t be too off the wall delusional by referring to myself as an athlete. Still, it makes me feel uncomfortable. Athlete sounds kinda like ‘elite’…which I am not. But for the sake of argument, we’ll go with it…

Anyway, a typical run for me has now crossed the 5-6 mile mark. I’m finding that I require a bit of an energy boost somewhere around 2-3 miles in. As I’ve mentioned before, I have food intolerances. Gluten, dairy and soy. When I first discovered that I had Celiac I wouldn’t eat anything that didn’t have gluten-free printed right on the label. These days I’m a little more adventurous.  Mainly because there are a lot of foods out there that are gluten-free, but are not marked as such.  There are a whole host of reasons why a company wouldn’t want to get involved in the gluten-free thing.  So, rather than have to worry about disclaimers and separate processing equipment they don’t bother with it.  I get that.  But it means that any new (unlabeled) item that I try has to be researched ahead of time.

Sometimes I’m easily able to determine if something is gfree.  Other times it’s not so clear cut.  There have been times when I’ve tried just a bite or a sip of something and then waited before finishing to see if I develop any symptoms.  The surest, but most painful way to tell.

I know that there are plenty of natural food sources that I can use to fuel my runs.  Obviously it’s easier pre and post, but during?  That’s a tough one.  I’m not so talented that I can maintain my pace while peeling and scoffing a banana at the same time.  Also, a lot of my upcoming races this year require some traveling.  Which means that I won’t have a fully stocked kitchen at my disposal.  I’ll want convenience items, but those are usually the things that are hardest for me to find.

I’ve started experimenting now so I’ll be prepared later on.

I’ve discovered that Gatorade (although they don’t label it) is gluten free…this includes their pre-drink.

PowerBar Strawberry Banana Gel has to be the most foul tasting thing I’ve ever had.  BUT, it didn’t make me sick.  Which means it’s a keeper.

Clif Shot Bloks are interesting.  On the website they say their products are not gfree, but on their allergen chart they do not mark wheat as an ingredient.  The ingredient label looked safe to me, so I tried one.  Popped the whole damn thing in my mouth while running at an 8:52 pace.  Yeah.  Uhm.  They didn’t make me sick, but those little squares are surprisingly dense.  The next time I use them I will definitely need to cut them in half prior to my run.

Occasionally I skip the hi-tech/enhanced stuff and go old-school.  When I run anything over five consecutive miles jelly beans become a ‘free food’…even if they aren’t the sport kind.

With all of that and the Pure Bars as an additional source of energy boosting yumminess I think I’m good to go.  Just in time for a 9 mile long run this weekend!!

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