Long runs (for me anything over ~10 miles) go better if I ingest some nourishment along the way. Hardcore racers like to suck down sugary cake-frosting-like goop with gutsy-sounding names like "GU" or "Clif Shots". But those concoctions tend to cost a penny or more per calorie (food calorie = physics kilocalorie, to the purists). That's a bit pricey for a cheapskate like me, though I'm happy to consume such fancy eats during a race if they're kindly provided by the organizers.

On my training runs, therefore, I typically carry a couple of so-called energy bars along. Favorite among those at the moment is the crunchy peanut butter variety of "Clif Bar". It combines rugged physical construction and robust flavor with a gummy stick-to-the-teeth texture --- and thus far hasn't caused any sudden ill effects on my digestion. That's an important criterion when one is far from a port-a-john on a busy semi-urban trail.

Slowly do I jog, and so also slowly do I eat. A typical pace for me nowadays is ~10-12 minutes/mile, including ~30-60 seconds of "walk break" every ~5-10 minutes, depending on distance and weather and course and mood and other conditions. I pace my noshing likewise: ~1-2 bites/mile, accompanied by a few sips of water. A single package of bar-format food thus lasts me an hour or more. That's cost-effectiveness.

But even more cheaply, I could just carry a jar of peanut butter and eat spoonfuls of that every mile. Or maybe I should fill a plastic bag with peanut butter and squeeze it into my mouth at intervals. (Hmmm ... perhaps I'll leave my GPS receiver and/or cellphone at home in order to make room for that next time.)

And maybe there's something still better. My brother Keith Zimmermann reports that on his hundred-mile bicycle journeys he inhales cheap mass-produced "creme"-filled sponge-cake-like artifacts to reenergize himself. But for wider appeal these things need a sexier label. What wannabe-fast runner will deign to ask for a "Twinkie"?

Keith's suggestion: call them "Power Sponges", quadruple the price, and sell them with inspirational slogans printed on the wrappers. Even better, I speculate, might be to give them a name with Third Millennium linguistic-typographic pizzaz. How about:

Powr SpüngZ

TopicRunning - TopicHumor - TopicPersonalHistory - 2003-09-18

(correlates: ZimmermannEnvironmental, CpapBong, 2008-10-08 - Butter and Eggs, ...)