Sugar High or Runner’s High?

It was really hard to pick a title of this post. I could have gone in so many directions.

Scottish Sweeties

Jelly Babies > Gu

Scotland Runners Crave

Scotland Running: Where grown men reach for gummies w. glee

I want to first state that I have been purchasing and consuming more shit food here that I would ever in Chicago. I wouldn’t allow the stuff that comes into my house anywhere near my trolley in Potash Brothers. But if I’m in Sainsbury’s…apparently you have to hold me back. I think there’s a mix of reasons. The most obvious is marathon training…and with it the increased hunger and cravings. In fact I think marathon training is like being pregnant. Bad skin, mood swings, tender breasts, aches and pains, difficult to sleep, odd cravings….at least with this I’m not stuck with the aftereffects for the rest of my life (or at least 21 years when they’re off my payroll). But actually I’m pretty sure my knees will never be the same….so marathon training = growing a baby.   And I’ll go out on a limb and say running my first marathon will be like having a baby. Super emotional, exhausting, 5 hours of excruciating pain, and then the happiest and proudest moment of my life and looking down at my medal and realizing it was all worth it, even though I can’t walk for the next 3 days. See. Exact same.

Then there’s the fact that all the treats here and new and exciting! And made with less preservatives and real Cadbury chocolate (suck it America!) And it’s part of the cultural experience to try everything, right?

And the last reason, which coincides with the first, is that Scottish runners delight in eating sugary shit. I say shit with the utmost love and respect. I love sugar. And I love that I get to call everything “sweeties” over here. And I love long runs with my Scottish friends because it’s nice companionship, they’re friendly, it’s eye opening, and generally I come back from a run with at least a couple hilarious antidotes. Now my crew does refuel with a Science in Sport (SIS) gels and nuuns and clif bloks and all the standard stuff (or the Scottish equivalent), but they also refuel with gummies and “tablet.”

And after every run club, out of someone’s car boot comes a giant Tupperware of assorted gummy candies. And everyone goes wild for it. Grown men digging in for a handful of gummy minions, eggs (a Scottish thing- gummy eggs), animals, hearts, and coke bottles. And I learned just last week, “fizzies” when applied to gummies, means gummies covered in sweet/sour substance like what we cover sour gummies and sour patch kids in but theirs is not really sour…

One of the many varieties in my drawer o' sweets

One of the many varieties in my drawer o’ sweets


I referenced in my last Race Recap: Kinloss to Lossiemouth that I would share a bus encounter later. Well here it is. Getting on the buss with all the runners to the start of the Kinloss to Lossiemouth half marathon- we sat in a row of open seats in the back, with my friend Pauline exclaimed- “Oh look he has jelly babies!” Jelly babies were something I had been hearing about as the preferred sweetie when training. I was thinking something like jellybeans…but then they said more like a mix of gummies and winegums but covered in a white powder. This sounded intriguing to say the least. More so- the guy didn’t have a baggy of them, he had an entire box. Like a cereal-sized box. This is the second time at a run function I’ve seen cereal-size boxes of sweeties. Now you see my daily struggles? Although I’ve yet to find them to buy for myself…IMG_1342

Weird white substance all over jelly baby

Weird white substance all over jelly baby


Anyway, he offered to share and I took one, and took a picture to mark the occasion. And it was odd.   I didn’t hate it, and when he said, “Hey American chick- you want another one?” I said yes. And actually I thought of how my Chicago friend Megan would really excel in this situation and have the entire bus giggling with something she said. Man, she’d be a better expat…everyone loves Megan.
At a later date I did buy a small bag of jelly babies- only to determine I really don’t like them. And what IS that white powder? And after googling and talking to people, I know that it’s not totally uncommon to use gummy candies as fuel on runs or rides…but it is just such a part of the culture here, it just makes me chuckle. Went on a long run today and one gal biked with us with fuel options- not limited to just gummies, but she had both gummies and jelly babies. I had neither and waited until I got home to indulge in my gummies, which fill an entire drawer in my kitchen thanks to you Scotts! PS- Haribo Easter Basket Gummies- the best I’ve had thus far. Gummy eggs…just weird. And what are those weird half-Prince (artist formerly known as) symbols supposed to be?

gummy eggs


The other sugar-crack associated with post-long run treats is Tablet. I’ve also had it in cafes in Aberdeen ( Café Cognito for one) served with my latte. Or given to me my random old men in cafes in Aberdeen with some type of comment like, “Here- you can get fat.” Generally handed to me with their bare hands….another time.   Bare hands on food.   Thank god I’m not a germaphobe but my brother sure is…

It is said, “Tablet is “fudge’s grainy Scottish cousin.” Here’s a recipe if you want to rot your teeth out instantly…with an instance of using Tablet after an excessive hike and an explanation of what Tablet was designed for.  I think it might be the root of the poor dental hygiene in the UK and should probably be made illegal…or taxed heavily at the lest.

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  1. Pingback: Race Recap: Paris Marathon | From Hot Dogs to Haggis

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