Sunday, July 27, 2008

Conquest Drink No Longer Available

As I prepare for the Howl at the Moon 8-Hour run (and other upcoming ultras) I forgot to plan for one important aspect of the race---my sports drink. My favorite drink has been Conquest and they are no longer in business! I started using this stuff several years ago after Buffalo Duane ("Wonder Calves") recommended it. I loved the slight lemonade-like flavor. It was just a basic sports drink with no simple sugars and no extras besides electrolytes (no protein or fats). And it was fairly cheap too. I've tried quite a few other sports drinks---Heed, Gatorade, Powerade, Amino, Succeed, Clip, Accelerade, Ultima--and none of them tasted as good, or worked as well, for me. Except for Conquest, Succeed is the only one that hasn't bother my stomach in long ultras. (Succeed is a sponsor of the Clinton Lake ultra and I do think it's a good product--it just wasn't as good as Conquest for me.)

What to do? As I paced around the house and cursed my fortunes, Sharon said "Why don't you make your own?" "Because that's insane!" was my first thought. Who makes their own sports drink? Then I recalled several posts to the ULTRA listserv about people making their own drinks. I logged on and found those posts and decided to give it a go! I just ordered 7 pounds of pure maltodextrin (glucose polymer). If I mix that with a sugar free flavored drink (lemonade, tea, Kool-aid, etc) I should be able to create a tasty, effective, and inexpensive drink. I can add salt if needed for a bit of flavor and electrolyte replacement (although I prefer to take S-Caps anyway). I should be able to experiment for about 7-10 days before Howl arrives. Wish me well. If this works, I'll feel like one of those old-time ultra runners that did tons of "experiment of one" trials with foods, drinks, training runs, shoes, clothes, glycogen depletion, etc. Kinda cool. I hope this works!

PS: Speaking of ultra runners that of my favorite books about ultra running, written by an ultra runner, is Bernd Heinrich's "Racing the Antelope: What Animals Can Teach Us About Running and Life." It's since been republished under the title "Why We Run: A Natural History." This is a great book investigating animal physiology as it relates to speed and endurance--all wrapped up in his attempt to break the 100K road record. Bernd is a great writer and an excellent ultra runner. I still can't get the image of an antelope on a treadmill out of my mind! BTW, antelope have a huge VO2 max.

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