I vividly remember the moment I evolved as a runner. It wasn’t the moment I crossed the finish line of my first marathon. It wasn’t that moment when my mind was fuzzy and I staggered across the finish line of my first 100-miler. Nope, not the time I was running in a wind storm and my runny nose ended up in my eye lashes. My transformation came at mile 20 of a beautiful trail run in southern Utah when I stopped at my car to refuel with a pack of Hostess Crumb Donettes.
At this transformative period of my life, I already had a long-standing love affair with Hostess products. But I had never had the pleasure of using them to fill my veins with sugar during a run before. I stashed some in my car and planned to eat one or two Donettes instead of a Gu packet. But they were so good that I ate another. And then another. And before I knew it, I was standing with an empty package, crumbs down my shirt, and a stomach that audibly said “thank you for your gracious gift.”
I was surprised how well my stomach tolerated the donuts in the middle of a long run. I was fully expecting a gastrointestinal revolt. I was so surprised in fact, that on the next long run I tried a Hostess Snowball. As much as it pains me to talk bad about something so delicious, I admit that the Snowball didn’t go over well mid-run. For you unfortunate souls who haven’t had a Snowball before, imagine a velvety cream center covered by chocolate cake covered by a thick layer of marshmallow covered by pink coconut sprinkles. I had a “No duh!” moment after I tried to run and my stomach didn’t feel very good. Shocker! I can think of nothing worse than a bad case of Snowball Gut. (Well, except for eating cauliflower or listening to Celine Dion. I believe those things actually are worse than Snowball Gut.)
Every year I organize a group of 50 friends to run a half marathon in celebration of all things Hostess. A requirement of the fun run includes eating a Hostess product every two miles, although “The Hostess With The Mostest” Award goes to the person who, you guessed it, eats the most Hostess. It’s not often that you can say you gained weight during a running event instead of losing weight! The “race” is enjoyed by everybody and nobody at the same time.
After a great deal of trial and error, I’ve come to realize that the best Hostess product during running was my first Hostess product: the Crumb Donette. I only wish that these little morsels of heaven had a different name. I’d prefer that they just be called Donuts. I feel like I’m risking my Man Card by saying how much I love a food that ends in “ette”.
According to Dr. Thomas Dansie at the Institute for Completely Imaginary Facts, “A Twinkie contains the superior combination of monocalcium phosphate, sodium stearoyl, and soy lecithin to fuel the demands of a grueling ultramarathon.” As ultrarunners, we are striving to extend our durability and longevity. It seems only fitting that we ought to consume products that contain enough preservatives to survive the apocalypse.
Surely I can’t be alone in my desire for Twinkie-flavored Gu packets or energy bars that taste like cream-filled cupcakes with little white swirls on top. These would be a true revolution in ultramarathon fueling. Chia seeds are so 2009! Until then, we’ll have to subsist on Chocodiles and Ding Dongs. Is it important to eat healthy in training and racing? Without a doubt! I certainly eat more than my share of rabbit food. But is it okay to fudge a little with junk food while training for an ultra? I sure hope so. Otherwise I should retire right now.
My brother told me a funny story. He found out about this article on a flight home from Washington DC. He was sitting next to someone reading the magazine, and unexpectedly looked over and saw me standing there holding a Twinkie.
Rest in peace Hostess.