OK you totally have to take what I say with a grain of salt, I guess, b/c I am not some ultra-speedy gal. I did my first 1/2 mary back now a month ago, and would have been *ecstatic* doing it in 2 hrs 45 and came in in 2:19 so that gives you perhaps some perspective.
This is what worked for me -- and what works for me on ANY run over 10 miles (including my LSD runs on the weekend):
First of all, I do the "Galloway" run/walk combo "plan" so I'm running 5 mins then walking 1 min. I have trouble taking big "hits" of water, so this works great for me b/c I run with a bottle, and I take 2 small "sips" from the bottle at every walk. My first bottle, I use Endurox formula, one scoop to 16 oz. It's "expensive-ish" but I have found a marked increase in my recovery using it. After I finish that bottle (2 sips at a time), I use a GU, and slug that down with the 2 sips from the next bottle, which is plain water. I finish that bottle, last sip, use a GU. Next bottle -- Endurox. You get the picture :-)))
I run with my dog, who carries the "provisions" in an "Outward Hound" pack. But when I ran the 1/2 mary, what I did was to carry the bottle with the Endurox in it, and the GU in a small hipsack. I have no problems running with either. When the "liquid" ran out in the bottle, I filled it up at the next volunteer station (went to the very end of the water and just asked them to fill my bottle, then moved on). Next time, I had made a little "triangle" that contained a scoop of Endurox -- I filled the bottle at the volunteer station as before, then tore off the corner of the triangle, and poured the Endurox in. Last bottle, water. In total, we are talking LOTS of GU and 2 bottles of Endurox, for a 13.2 mile race. BUT -- it worked for me. I am planning to do exactly the same thing on the marathon -- just b/c it worked.
I won't even grab a "shot" that I'm unfamiliar with, or even oranges (or strawberries, that is what they have at Big Sur!) without having TRIED to run with that in my stomach before. SO much better "safe than sorry."
Now, you can hear from the "real" marathoners -- I think the standard is that you use a GU every 10K or so of the race. But seester, if something works for you in practice -- make it work for you on race day -- 1/2 mary or full.
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