Monday, February 01, 2010


First off, it may have been nearly 6 months between interview, but it lives.

I had an okay week last week. I managed 37 miles running and 43K skiing. While the entire week was just okay, I had a packed “weekend”. I took Friday afternoon off and skied for 2:15 at Murphy-Hanrehan – aka the toughest ski trails around. Saturday I ran for 1:52, and then Sunday I skied for 1:50. All told, I closed out January with 162 miles and 165K.

I’m kind of struggling to run much more than 2 hours. Saturday I was hoping to go longer, but as I got back to my car, I had no desire to add on. February kicks off ski-race month with races on the 7th, 13th and 27th. Hopefully I can manage to squeeze in a couple of 2 hour runs.

Lots of things confuse me, including endurance nutrition. There are so many products on the market – all with fancy marketing literature and websites – that it’s hard to make heads or tails out of it all. Awhile ago, Kurt gave me a sample of VESPA to try.

I’m not talking about the scooter.

Rather I'm referring to an amino acid supplement.

It doesn’t boost performance. It’s not a fuel, an electrolyte replacement, or energy supplement. VESPA works by enabling the muscles to get their energy from a readily available and plentiful source in our bodies…fat.

Let me just start by saying I’m always skeptical going into anything like this. I believe in the mantra “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.”

Here is what some of their literature says;

The benefits include; 1) increased endurance/stamina derived from tapping into a plentiful energy source for aerobic muscle metabolism, 2) stabilized blood sugars to help you beat the bonk, 3) reduced lactates for improved recovery, 4) naturally-occurring ingredients.

Basically, you drink a packet 45 minutes before working out (used when going 2+ hours) and then you don’t eat or drink any carbs/sugars prior to beginning your workout. Keep hydrated. During longer durations workouts you may need some calories and electrolytes.

They claim what you “feel” is what you don’t “feel”. There’s no sugar rush or caffeine high, and you won’t get the lows either. You’ll just feel an even and sustainable energy. You may simple “feel” that you had a “good” day.

VESPA “works” in subtle yet significant ways. Note how you feel throughout your workout, immediately after, and in the recovery phase. Again, what you will notice is what you don’t notice (the ups and downs, the crashing, being completely wiped out after a workout and the relative level of soreness and recovery time.

Well, with all that said, I decided to put it to the test prior to Friday’s ski. I can honestly say, I didn’t feel a thing – just like they claimed. However, I was hoping to ski a little longer than I did, but I got so chilled, I couldn’t continue on. I have no idea if that was because of tapping into my fat supplies or it being 10 degrees out. While I was able to bounce back with nearly a 2 hour run the next day, the last mile or so was a struggle, and I had no desire to go further. And I did feel pretty wiped out all weekend. But it could be from cramming in nearly 6 hours of training in 3 days.

So basically my one-dose experiment is inconclusive. With some longer ski races and training sessions coming up, I’ll probably include a few more uses.

I would recommend that everyone experiment with different things to find out what works for them. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t ever feel like I get the high-highs or low-lows that seem common in others. Maybe that’s why it’s hard for me to notice what’s working and what’s not. That and the fact there are lots of other variables that need to be considered.

More to come.

Quote of the day;
“I wish I would have known that I would still be running 29 years later and that so many wonderful friendships would be formed by being a runner. My best friends are runners. It turned out that running is more than a sport. It is a way of life. I can’t imagine my life without it.” - Kathy Peterson


Julie said...

Hi Chad,
I have never heard of Vespa...very interesting. I love Kathy's quote, it is so true!

Psyche said...

Hey Chad! I try things occasionally as well, and like you, feel most of these trials are basically inconclusive.

Vespa is a good example. It reminds me of ARX (Athletic Recovery Xcellerator) from It's supposed to "clear lactate from the bloodstream faster and circulate it to the rest of the body so that it can be used as an additional fuel source, thereby increasing your performance and reducing muscle recovery time".

Maybe I recovered faster by taking ARX, but maybe I did other things that sped recovery. Kinda hard to prove, huh? Yet, somehow I doubt this will keep me from trying the next product that claims to give me an advantage:).

Kurt said...

Glad you gave it a try Chad. I as well used some Vespa on my 2 1/2 hour trail run Saturday morning and just drank nuun in my water pack. Felt great no bonking at all. I look to keep using it this winter on all my long runs. Take care.