The Story Behind the Gum

Both being very much NOT morning people, Kristina and I have made a habit of somewhat regularly-scheduled easy runs after work. Our offices were near each other and there’s a convenient path a short distance away.

Well today, in my new state of unemployment, I left for our date from home. I didn’t think much of the drive until I came to a screeching halt a mile into the barely five mile commute.

Oh, right. Rush hour. On a major feeder highway. At 5:30. Duh.

As I cruised in the second lane at a paltry 4mph, which if you’re wondering is even slower than coasting because I couldn’t take my foot fully off the brake, I pulled out a resealable bag of Dentyne Ice from my console. It’s a vile peppermint that loses its flavor fast and disintegrates shortly after, but was on sale and works in a emergency bad breath bind.

[ chomp chomp chomp, text Kristina that I’m going to be late (I know, text and drive = bad), chomp chomp… ]

‘ugh this gum SUCKS.’ [ spits into empty Bevmo wine bag on passenger seat. high five myself for the foresight to not clean my car more often ]

[ grabs a fresh piece of chewy peppermint acid… ]

Repeat. Like, a lot.

Eventually boredom and curiousity led my eyes to the now half-empty bag.

‘oohh a nutrition label. you never see these on regular packs, huh? interesting… well let’s see…’


Wait what the fuck??!

I stopped chewing and also nearly rear-ended the Toyota in front of me. Moving at a speed slower than I’ve ever had a treadmill, I’m sure the only damage would’ve been transplanting dirt from my bumper to theirs, but it was a close call nonetheless.

I called out to twitter, because that’s where semi-serious medical inquiries should always be directed and at this point I had fully committed myself a hazard to the snail’s pace highway so why not tweet and drive? (spoiler, I made it out scratch-free but yes mom promise not to do that anymore)


As it turns out, my estimated 19 pieces of minute-chewed-and-spat gum was likely about to wreck a complete shitstorm havoc on my insides.



when the doctor says “email me…” it’s probably not great news

I’d finally reached our meeting spot and had to break the news to Kristina that this would likely be the last run we ever go on. Who knows how many grams of sugar alcohol it takes for spontaneous GI combustion?! I told her she could have all of my Oiselle, Launches, and Nuun and we set off on our death march way.

With her healing piriformis and my rust from low mile recovery weeks we went out all clunky and creaky and gasping for air between breaths. Between heaves we talked food, job searching, boys’ aversion towards making plans… everything but running.

     me: “What are you wanting to do, four miles or so?”

     K: “Yeah, that sounds good… Oh, uhh how bout five? We’re at 2.3 already”

After the turn around things just started falling into place. We gabbed more about non-running things (gossip about the locals) and after a quick stoplight I realized I was on my first runner’s high in a VERY long time.

Or maybe it was a sugar high. Who knows.

Regardless, I felt amazing. Light and springy, perfectly in sync, no aches or pains. My stride felt easy – like FINALLY this simple, pedestrian movement was second nature again and I was running without force.

We laughed about something stupid, I said I wished Brightroom was there, and if we didn’t have things to get home to I guess we would’ve run forever. Or at least a few more miles.


Brightroom wasn’t there but K and an iphone were!

I didn’t wear a watch and I’ll never ask K what pace we were running. It truthfully could’ve been 10min+ (especially with that pirouette mid-stride, thank god I didn’t pull something) and I don’t care. The numbers aren’t welcome back until there’s a training plan loaded into my gdoc.

It’s all fun running until then.

Sarah OUaL

Oh and as of 12:32PM I’m still alive but if you don’t see a tweet or instagram from me by mid-day tomorrow please send an ambulance and tell them to check my center console for the source.


10 thoughts on “The Story Behind the Gum

  1. Anything that ends in -ol is a sugar alcohol. Nuun has sugar alcohols, sorbitol. It doesn’t affect me unless in large doses I.e. an ultra relay in sweaty hot temps. My intestines and butt HATED me afterward, so that is when I learned nuuneratiom (moderation of nuun)


  2. Ha! Mostly said “email me” because I knew it’d be too long for 140 characters!

    Sugar alcohols are what food manufacturers convert sugar to in order to make artificial sweeteners – ie something to give a sugar taste without the calories. The reason you don’t get the calories is because a sugar alcohol is non-absorbable, meaning your GI tract can’t absorb it like it normally would sugar. Since they are not absorbed, the sugar alcohol will stay in the GI tract (ie will continue on out the other end), but will cause bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence. Hopefully, running helped work all of that out. :)

    And, don’t worry – when I studied for and took the MCAT, I changed pieces of gum each section. I was like an orbit pack-a-day-er. I got some pretty bad cramps, but didn’t die….yet. :)


  3. Glad to see you’re alive, I wasn’t on twitter much yesterday so I was very confused by your tweets. My fiance eats at least a pack of gum a day. He’s probably gum wasted and doesn’t even know it!
    p.s. thanks for the response on the last post. :)


  4. Ugh I will regularly go through a pack in like an hour because I clearly just like the taste from the sugar alcohol. A friend and I have a joke about what kind of propulsion we can get thanks to a pack of there’s that.


  5. haha! So glad your intestines didn’t combust! ;) AND so happy that you enjoyed your run purely because of the run! :) Leaving a stressful situation seems to make everything better! ;) Go you! I don’t chew gum unless i’m running or working out and it’s only half a piece of the wrigley 5 gum!



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