The very first British candy I ever tried was Jelly Babies. My dad traveled to the UK for work in 2002 and brought me back a host of cool British souvenirs — a die-cast right-hand drive lime green Beetle, a Meat Loaf and Friends CD not available in the US, and Jelly Babies.
I remember thinking how weird and foreign they tasted. Their colors were so dull thanks to the natural coloring and flavoring. And they were covered in this weird white powder (which I later learned is starch, which helps release them from the mold at the factory). Still, my family gobbled them up.
Surprisingly, I haven’t had Jelly Babies since — or at least until today.
When I first got into running I swore to myself I would never run a distance that required me to “fuel” while on the run. I lied. While the length of distance that requires fueling is up for debate (some running pros don’t even fuel during half marathons) and my 5, 6 or 7-mile runs probably don’t require fuel, I wanted to experiment to see how “fueling” would affect me. Most runners use energy gels, which are basically just sugar — expensive sugar. You know what else is basically just sugar? Jelly Babies. According to various UK running blogs and forums, Jelly Babies are quite the popular running fuel. And they’re downright cheap — I got a bag at Aldi for 59p (84 cents).
So I wrapped up 2 Jelly Babies in plastic wrap, stuck them in my pocket, and set off to do 7 miles around Buckingham Palace and St. James Park. I ate the Jelly Babies around mile 4.5 and 5 while stopped at lights. They tasted even more magical than I remembered, but that also could be because I was hungry for anything. It was only when I ate one several hours after I got home that I realized how sickeningly sweet they are. It may have been a little placebo effect, but I was able to dig deeper and really push myself the last 2 miles of my run. A 7-mile run probably doesn’t require fuel, but if it helps a little, I’ll take any excuse to eat candy I can get.
I can’t believe I’ve waited this long in the post to mention it: In St. James Park I saw not one, not two, but THREE CORGIS! THREE! Two of them were together and then I saw another, different one on my way out of the park. As always, I tried to stealthily snap a photo, but this is the kind of photo you get when you don’t stop running:
I really need to stop being so shy and just talk to the owners, even if I usually am a sweaty mess.
Speaking of being a sweaty mess, I also need to share this running achievement:
On Sunday Stephen and I had our first sub 9-min/mile pace 4-mile run. It was also my first sub-8 min mile. While on most of my runs I’m just happy to stay under 10-min miles, it felt really good to push myself. I wanted to die by the end, but it’s good to know that I’m capable of going faster. As the guy at the running store said almost 3 years ago (!) now, I’m a better runner than I think I am.