Marathon runners are typically in search of any edge they can to help achieve their goals mainly setting a new PR. Most are legal, some are not including the story of elite runner, Eddy Hellebuyck who "came clean" with his use of EPO in the Runner's World article this month. I've done some crazy things myself including shaving my legs for the Chicago Marathon, usually cutting my (head) hair short for race day and even wearing tights in warm weather from Skins who touted their products help legally break records. Some people have tried the Strassburg sock...I own two of them. Wear one one of those bad boys to bed and you're guaranteed to stretch the achilles and plantar while you sleep and guaranteed to remove all romantic thoughts from your bed mate at the same time.
Some people drink a can of coke before a race...I'm still trying to find the magic formula for race day morning but that's a blog story for another day.
Aside from the usual list of odd products and routines are the products that fall into the "snake oil" category.
One of my favorite movie scenes comes from "Outlaw Josey Wales" when Josey confronts the carpetbagger on the ferry;
Carpetbagger: This is it... one dollar a bottle. It works wonders on wounds.
Josey Wales: Works wonders on just about everything, eh?
Carpetbagger: It can do most anything.
Josey Wales: [spits tobacco juice on the carpetbagger's coat] How is it with stains?
My bedroom bathroom cupboard has a myriad of such magic elixirs. Ironically, many are purchased at expo's the day before a big race & others have come home from the health grocer. Both are obvious sources for runners trying to get a race day advantage. Some of the products I'm either proud or embarrassed to admit owning;
Dr. Singha's Mustard Bath. Really?!?! No I didn't make this one up. My brother turned me onto this one. Touted as "an aid in relieving many ailments. These include stress, muscle and joint soreness..." Sign me up Doctor! I use this after a long run in my bath...usually combined with Epsom salts.
Jones' Formula 23 instant Pain Relief. I bought this one at an expo before the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon. Insert hook in mouth. This one is sort of a liquid BenGay. It did seem to put my bum wheel (leg) at ease on the expo floor, but did nothing to rid the pain that plagued me that whole race. I should have looked closer at the label that showed the J23 logo...was Jones trying to channel Michael Jordon's mojo into his product?
Power Balance Bracelet. This one my "jury's out." I bought my first (at an expo) before my first BQ and I've been wearing one ever since. Power Balance shows many professional athletes who wear their kryptonite bracelets and necklaces that provides...you guessed it, power and balance.
Body Shop Hemp Foot Protector. Talk about "happy feet." This is one of the best at providing relief from the hundreds of miles put on my feet. Probably due to better socks and my good friend, Body Glide, my feet don't have the blisters they used to, but a little of this ganja lotion on my feet go a long way towards keeping the feet in working order.
Total Pain Solutions Anti-inflammatory cream (diclof/bupiv.) Individual results may vary and consult your physician, but I need to buy stock in these guys. After taking x-rays of my sore heel and consulting with my running physical therapist and podiatrist, my podiatrist prescribed this cocktail I apply to my sore heel. Part of the problem is that circulation is not the greatest in the back of my heel and oral anti-inflammatory products circulate through your whole system. Applied directly to the heel...early feedback on this stuff is two thumbs up!
Today marks 110 days away from the 115th running of the Boston Marathon in April. As you can tell from the crazy list of products in my cupboard, I'm willing to do just about anything to shave some time off my time and arrive race day healthy. You just won't catch me shaving my legs again.