The Unusual Ways I Stay Hydrated

As I poured a glass of wine the other night, my wife joked, “Are you going to carry some pinot in your water bottle for the race as well?”

Not a bad idea, not a bad idea. No, I’m not. But I’m not carrying the standard stuff either.

This Sunday’s marathon will be my third attempt to cover 42.2 kilometres, having run a marathon in 2010, and as part of an Ironman in 2013. I wish I had higher hopes for performance, but I will plug away—and enjoy every step of what is supposed to be one of the most majestic courses in the world.

One change I’m making is what I pack for fuel. I use a four-bottle belt and typically fill them with water or Gatorade. But I learned something wonderful when I finished the Ironman in 2013—that other liquids can work as well, or better. So here’s what I’ll be stashing:

Bottle 1: Wild card. I’ll use this as a refill bottle at water stations.

Bottle 2: Coke.

Bottle 3: Chicken-soup broth.

Bottle 4: Pickles and pickle juice.

The Coke and chicken-soup broth were my go-to choices at the ironman aid stations, and they were wonderful jolts when I needed them. So this time I’m planning to take a little with me. It won’t be a lot—but they’ll be there when I need them. As for the pickles, they’re what I crave after my long runs—that and sauerkraut. So I’ll stash some mini gherkins in one of the bottles.

I know, I know. Why don’t you just drive-thru McDonald’s while you’re at it? You sure you don’t want to run with a shopping cart? Mate, a buffet—save it for AFTER!

Are they elixirs that will catapult me to an unprecedented performance? I doubt it. But will they be there to temporarily mask some pain, provide a kick, or give me an ah when I’m feeling ow? They did before, and I believe they will again. That’s good enough for me.

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