Before I start, I’d like to note that I’m aware this is not so much a gear review as a gear tip. Actually, it’s more of a trail running tip, and before I bestow it upon you, I’d like to also note that I’m aware that four out of five dentists would not recommend this tip for their patients who run trails. Therefore, I cannot recommend enough that you don’t do what I’m about to tell you to do.
Anyway, here’s the scenario: You’re out for a short run on a trail you know well, you’re well hydrated, and you’re not all that concerned about getting lost in the wilderness and dying of thirst. So, understandably, as much as the experts might caution against it, you don’t want to carry a water bottle or Camelback on your run.
The problem is, in a state that can be hot, dry and dusty in the summer – and where marijuana is legal – it’s inevitable that some people are going to end up with dry mouths or even cottonmouth while running.
Here’s what I do: If I’m out for a short run – and, really, that’s the only kind I can manage – I’ll take something edible that won’t dissolve too quickly and stuff it in my cheek like a wad of chewing tobacco, and then I’ll just leave it there with- out chewing it as I run. It’s a little source of flavor and just enough of a saliva inducer to continuously wet your whistle.
This strategy works with all sorts of food items – hard candies, lozenges, Starbursts, Mentos – but I think my top choice is the good old-fashioned Tic Tac or, rather, three good old-fashioned Tic Tacs, which is the number I generally end up with. Two is also acceptable, as is four, but five is way out.
That brings us to the gear-review portion of this column, which will attempt to answer the question of which Tic Tac flavor is best. Thankfully, I’ve done the research for you. Cinnamon doesn’t quench your thirst. Wintergreen literally tastes like Skoal. Freshmint (the white ones) and orange are perfectly acceptable, but for my buck and a half, the juiciest, most satisfying one to stash away chipmunk-style is the Tic Tac Mixer Cherry Cola, available in seemingly limited supply.
If you can find some, try a trio out on your next short run. For legal purposes, I’m compelled to point out that squishing sugary pellets against your teeth and gums for an hour at a time will probably lead to tooth decay, but if you can accept the risk (while I accept no responsibility for your actions), it’s a cheap way to ditch a heavier hydration system.