I am a Coke person but when it comes to my long distance running, nothing beats Mountain Dew. In the 2 ultramarathon events I have joined, the Tagaytay 2 Nasugbu (50 kms) in 2010 and the Mayon 360 (80 kms) in 2011, the cooler in my support vehicle had an abundance of Mountain Dew. Sure, my cooler had a bottle or 2 of Powerade and water but these 2 were for hydration. On the other hand, the ice cold Mountain Dew in my cooler was there as a treat for me. My sweet vice so to speak. It wakes me up to run many many many more kilometres in those stages of the long distance run where my body and spirit start to falter.
|Chillin with the Dew during a break from pacer duty at the BDM 160|
And I am not alone. It would seem that Mountain Dew is a favorite among ultra running fanatics and enthusiasts alike.
At the recently completed 2012 Bataan Death March 160 ultra, many of the support crews of the participants generously supplied their ultrarunners with Mountain Dew, during and after the race.
And apparently, this is true all over the world. David Horton considers it the best carbonated beverages for ultrarunning. Endurance stars like Dean Karnazes, Scott Jurek and Christian Griffith are known to favor Mountain Dew in their challenging adventures. A runner blogger in Washington, USA waxed it eloquently when she referred to it as the “elixir of the gods” and wrote of its effect on her. “I drank a few sips...wow, that was tasty. I have never had anything so delicious. I poured the rest of the can in one of my water bottles (I would soon learn that was a bit of a mistake), and headed on my way. I don't know if it was all psychological or there really was something powerful in that Mountain Dew, but I almost immediately felt rejuvenated. At the next traffic light (luckily only about half a mile away), I pulled out the bottle again and discovered that the carbonation had made it fizz up and leak onto my shirt (luckily the shirt was orange, so I wasn't sporting bright yellow stains) and I'd lost quite a bit. That was okay...” (http://runningwiththerunnergirl.blogspot.com/2011/09/mountain-dew-elixir-of-gods.html)
I often wonder what is it with Mountain Dew that makes it a favorite?
Let’s google for some enlightenment.
Type in google the word “Mountain Dew” and you get 4,240,000 results. More than a handful but 2 ideas about the Dew seem to rise to the fore. They are:
1. Mountain Dew is a soft drink with high caffeine content. The caffeine content of the Dew is 55 mg. per 12 oz. can as compared to 45.6 mg. in Coke and 37.2 mg. in Pepsi. So what of caffeine? To answer this, let us be scientific for a little bit. The primary muscle fuel is adenosine tri phosphate (ATP). As fatigue builds, phosphate is lost for the adenosine molecules. As a protective measure, the adenosine is absorbed on receptors located on cell walls. That means there is less adenosine around to be re-phosphorylated. One way to get that adenosine back in circulation is to provide molecules which bind more tightly to the receptors than does adenosine. One family of molecules which will do that is the xanthines found in coffee, tea and chocolate. The most common xanthine in our diet is caffeine. So, the caffeine in soda drinks gives a runner a lift by making adenosine more available when in a state of fatigue. The sugar in the soda provides the energy for bringing the adenosine back to the useful ATP form. So, the more caffeine the higher the high, does the feeling of Mountain Dew as an elixir.
2. The second idea of the popularity of Mountain Dew has something to do with its southern rebel origins which resonate quite well to the near counter culture nature of ultrarunning. The original formula of Mountain Dew was invented in the 1940s by Tennessee beverage bottlers named Barney and Ally Hartman. Even the name “Mountain Dew” has some rebel bootleg connotation. It is a Southern/Irish slang for moonshine (homemade whiskey) .
So there you have it. Two reasons why Mountain Dew is super duper for cool ultra runners. Chill.