Its not secret on the blog — or to anyone in my life really — that I have had an insane amount of stomach issues while running. Back in July it killed my dreams of a 42-43 minute race at Wharf to Wharf (which I just realized I never recapped…), and in February it dashed by dreams of a close-to or attempt at a sub 1:40 half marathon at the San Diego Women’s Half Marathon. And those are just two of the most recent downfalls of my stomach woes.
Since then, and I’ve made it my mission to discover different fuel options that will work for me in my long distance PR quests in 2014. As I’ve embarked on this mission, there has been one name recommended to me over and over as I’ve explained to runners from all walks of life the massive amounts of stomach unhappiness that I get on raceday — and during long, hard runs in general: Island Boost. So, for a while, I’ve been dying to try out Island Boost but just because everything has caused me problems, I’ve been hesitant to try out something new.
After receiving an email about Island Boost attempting to get a new flavor (Chocolate!) FDA approved, I knew I needed to try it, especially with the hopes of chocolate coming out in the future, so I reached out to them to see about getting a sample of the chocolate. Unfortunately, the chocolate samples were all out, but they did graciously give me a few samples to try out.
It’s different from your average gu or gel because it’s not a gu or gel. Its more the consistency of Gatorade, but its got more calories than Gatorade in a small little thick liquid.
I was pretty excited to try it, and I’m not going to lie — my first taste was a shocker. I mean, its like really, really over powered Kool-Aid on the first sip (note: this is coming from someone who doesn’t drink sugary drinks or juice because I don’t like them, and who thinks the Gatorade generally made at water stations is faaaaaaar too potent). However, by the end of the first pouch, I got over the intensity and the flavor was actually pretty darn good (Passion Fruit Flavor).
I was given three flavors to try, and of the three, Passion Fruit was by far my favorite, but the Orange wasn’t far behind. I just couldn’t get behind Blueberry-Pomegranate flavor, but then again I’m a fresh wild blueberry girl from Minnesota, and anything made with blueberry flavoring, just doesn’t cut it for me.
The real test, though, was how the Island Boost functioned for me on my runs. Although I was only able to take them on one run (I’ve only run one run long enough to require fueling in the past few months), I was stomach problem free. I can’t say it was my hardest run or my longest or that I had anxiety associated with race day, but it settled nicely in my stomach. Maybe its because I can read and pronounce pretty much everything on the back of the nutrition label? Or because it has coconut water in it (cue automatic swoon)?! Those both definitely made me happy — oh and its gluten free and dairy free!
So would I buy them for training? Definitely — I’m actually putting in an order this weekend. I’m still playing with a few other options for long runs and hard runs, but I am definitely keeping Island Boost in the mix — and if they can come up with the funds to get the chocolate through FDA testing and production, you bet your buns I will be all over that like a runner in a self serve fro-yo joint.
If you’d like to try out Island Boost, or just help them get chocolate into production, there are 10 days left in their fundraiser — if you give money, you get fun things back – for example $25 gets you a 10-pack of Island Boost to try; $40 gets you a 10-pack of Island Boost + a runner’s hat/visor. When I get paid on Friday I am definitely jumping on that — every little bit helps, and it gives a great company run by wonderful people with a good product the chance to make it against the big guns. Check it out here.
Have you tried Island Boost? What’s your fuel of choice?
***While Island Boost gave me the samples to try, they did not compensate me in any way or ask me to write a review. As always, all opinions are my own.