Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gel Anyone

I stopped by the running store where I got my recent shoes to pick up a new pair of shorts and some gels for the upcoming marathon. I was examining a pair of shorts when a salesperson approached. I explained that I was looking for a pair of shorts with a pocket or two that could hold a gel or two for the race. I guess I triggered something, because what I got felt like something out of Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

The salesman said that instead of putting gels in a pocket, he pins them to the waistband of his running shorts. I thought this an interesting way of carrying them, but the idea of having them pinned outside of my shorts and flapping around while I run seems a little odd. I told him this and he paused with an odd look. This was one of "I never thought of this idea" coupled with a "obviously an amateur runner" look. He explained that he doesn't pin them to the outside, but instead pins them to the inside. When he needs one he just grabs it an the safety pin allows him to tear it while it is still pinned on. He demonstrates the ripping maneuver.

I was a little taken back by the maneuver and thought maybe he's be offering me some of his invisible Gel. Ferris Bueller moment... I'm a little distracted by this thought and wondering how I could possibly run, reach down the front of my shorts, grab a gel, rip it and take it all without tripping. I doubt I have it in me.

The salesman then informs me that I get to be careful where I pin the gels because the movement and friction can rip the gel while running and then there is a big mess. I think that is an understatement. I can see it now. I'm running along. It's now mile 9 and all of a sudden I'm starting to feel something creeping down my leg. It's a slight tickling sensation almost like a bug of grass or something lightly tickling the skin. I reach down to brush it off only to feel something wet. First thought–I'm bleeding. I look at it and it's not blood. I examine the contents further only to discover that it is one of my gel packets that has leaked out and down my leg. Miles 9-26 would be ones filled with horror, embarrassment and resignation over the whole incident. All I'd be thinking about is how soon can I hit the shower and what does Gel mixed with sweat smell like and what color is dripping down my leg. I doubt I'd be buying the marathon photo from the course.

I took his advice with the nod of understanding and chose the shorts with the pockets.
No leaking gels for me....you never know what advice is waiting at the local running store.

1 comment:

  1. I had to chuckle at the thoughts of what a burst gel packet could do. Imagine a long run with a friend. She/He has forgotten to bring gels and asks for one. You reach into the front of your shorts.... I'm with you -- skip the pinning and use pockets.

    My problem with gel packets is that at mile 6 or so, when I'm ready to use one, my hands are sweaty and it's hard to open the things.