Today I conducted what I was calling the "Girl Scout Cookie Expirement"; concept being a long run (35-37 mile variety) fueling solely with Girl Scout Cookies. During the month of March we do a customer promotion where we provide our favorite customers at work with free Girl Scout Cookies, so I have a surplus of the product at my disposal during this time. Naturally, I was looking for a reasonable excuse to eat a lot of cookies.
Enter the concept of the Girl Scout Cookie Experiment for this Sunday's long run. So I began my long run with my normal program in terms of hydration; a mix of bottles of Clip 2, Amino Energy & water with the usual S!Caps of course. During my pre-race planning I had calculated that 1 box of Thin Mints would provide me with 203 calories per hour over a 5:30 long run. Fortunately for me, as you can see below, my Nathan brand fuel belt was designed specifically to meet the dimensions of a single roll of Thin Mints; one could argue that Nathan might have had thin mints in mind when designing my chosen fuel belt. So I hit the trail with a full stack of Thin Mints at about 5 to 8a cst this morning.
I started out trying to eat approximately 2-3 cookies every 3-4 miles or so; basically my thought was to somewhat evenly distribute the calories & eat the cookies evenly over the course of the 5:30 run. Here's one fact that seems fairly obvious that I was reminded of very early in the run; cookies are fucking delicious. From the start I had no issues with the Thin Mints; I'm definitely a big fan of the taste, had no issues with the mint flavor being too strong & they honestly didn't even seem to sugary. It was definitely challenging for me to keep up the pace with the eating of the cookies as the run progressed; I luckily felt solid throughout, drank well, etc. I ended up eating about 1 & 2/3rd sleeves of Thin Mints, just shy of 1 full box during the run; I also ran slightly more, finishing with 38 miles in 5:38 of running. I know it sounds weird to say, but I honestly could have eaten the cookies all day long if this would have been a longer timed race. Absolutely 0 digestive issues, the taste did not get tiring; if anything they were slightly dry but I was eating at times without fluid (not advised really with any eating anyways).
Few things I learned from this. I am needing less & less calories; the use of Amino Energy & Clip 2 along with my improved overall conditioning is helping me need far less in terms of overall calories. But the big thing is that, we need not over-think the whole eating & nutrition thing. This thing showed me that you can spend all the time in the world trying a million different gels, shot-blocks, drink/food combos, etc & sometimes some pretty simply, caloric dense cookies work just as well. In training, don't hesitate to try some unusual tactics & remember, worst case scenario you can practice having a bad day. Who knows, perhaps next I'm going to try an all McDonald's long run.
In closing; have fun with food, have fun with training. This is supposed to be fun right? With that being said, I want to continue to learn & try as much as humanly possible about fueling pre, during & post run; but I'm also more inclined to try throw a few sleeves of thin mints in the ole race pack on my next ultra.
Below is my Garmin data from the run & a few pics from today & this week:
Morton Arboretum Long Run Garmin Data by Team Viper