Ode to a Fig Newton

Type: A Little Ground and Pound
Distance: 5.0 miles
Time: 41:30
Average Pace: 8:19 min/mile
Average Heart Rate: 153 bpm

It was a great run to start off the week. Saturday ended ip being a wash because of work I had to get done and then stinkin’ Wild Card Weekend, so I needed to get in a decent run this morning. The 5K that I thought was in a couple of weeks is actually this Saturday. I got roped into night skiing Friday night, so I don’t know if I am going to make the race or not. The crappy thing is I really want to run this race, but I am pretty sure the PR is out the window because I just haven’t been putting in the speed work that I need to. I hate to say this, but I think Saturday is going to be a game time decision.

I did get registered for the lottery for the Triple Bypass in Colorado. They made registration a lottery system this year, which I think is great as long as I get in. Two friends and I registered for the double Triple Bypass, which is over two days. Each day you pound out 120 miles of riding with 10,000′ of climbing. That means you do a total of 240 miles with 20,000′ of climbing over the weekend. I am seriously excited for this ride. In comparison, the Ironman St. George bike course is 112 miles with over 14,000′ of climbing. Man they better pick me. My luck in race lotteries is crap right now, so I am not holding my breath.

What I Crave on Long Rides

Some triathletes, runners, and cyclists like to race like every weekend. I am not one of those. I think the people who keep a race schedule like that are more into racing for the social reasons, which is fine with me. I use my training and training partners for that. During a race I am really trying to push my pace and make my body perform to the level that I have trained to. I like to talk and encourage other racers — I am not one of those idiots who would step on you just to make sure your kids know I am faster.

But from time to time I will do an organized century with friends. These I call “rides” instead of races. Since I like to ride centuries, I will ride them solo in training at least three or four times a month. I have a tough time paying to ride 100 miles since I do it by myself all the time. What I need to do is organize an epic ride with my friends when we hit the road, stay overnight somewhere, and ride back. But I digress…

Last year I rode two organized centuries with my friends. While we try to ride as fast as our group will allow, we don’t set out to win the things. I like to try and win races, but rides do not have the same dynamic. In the better rides that I do there are Aid Stations or SAG Stations about every 20 miles or so. The best rides have a killer spread where you can just stuff your face. It is almost comical — you see these endurance athletes with 1,000 calories on a paper plate really throwing down in the middle of a ride at these stations.

When I am in the middle of one of these rides I cannot stay away from the meat trays. I usually will take more than my fair share of turkey, ham, and cheese and roll them up together. I will eat three or four of these heavenly rolls and I am usually satisfied. I think I really crave the protein because the only place you will see me shoving such a concoction in my pie hole is at one of these aid stations. But last year I discovered a new, heavenly confection.

I present to you the Fig Newton. At one of these aid stations a buddy of mine threw a small package of them on my plate. We were sitting waiting for someone to catch up and so I opened and ate them out of sheer boredom. Oh man do I love these cookies. Looking at the nutrition label, two of these have 90 calories, but there is no fat in the cookie. There are 22 g of carbs and 1 g of protein. But oh man the taste.


If I could reach up and take a piece of the clouds, I am sure they would taste like a Fig Newton. Since that ride, I have taken them on a ton of my rides over 75 miles. They just seem to hit the spot when I need something solid. I don’t do gels because they usually seem to get stuck in my gut. During a workout over an hour, I usually pound Infinit. I have been on liquid nutrition during long rides and runs for about four years now and I don’t have GI issues. Ever. But sometimes you need something solid and a Fig Newton just hits the spot.

They don’t melt and if you crush them, you can pick them out of a zip lock with little difficulty. At my body weight I can usually process about four an hour without any problems. I know we all have different nutritional habits during running and cycling, but man you gotta try a Fig Newton. You can always sing this song to yourself while you pedal…

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...