In every ultramarathon, there is that moment–the cris de fois, the “dark night of the soul,” whatever you want to call it–when everything collapses and you feel you just can’t take one. more. step. If the marathon has a “wall,” then the ultramarathon has an abyss.
There is a fatigue that goes beyond anything we might experience anywhere else in our lives (except perhaps one of those nightmarish protracted labor-and-delivery experiences). It’s physical, mental, emotional, even spiritual.
A good percentage of runners who go on to complete the race will do so by turning to caffeine to help build a (tenuous) bridge across that chasm of exhaustion. It’s amazing what a little caffeine can do for the human spirit–and central nervous system.
I haven’t experimented much with caffeine pills (since college, anyway), but what I recall is that a pleasant little buzz can suddenly escalate to heart-thumping, eye-popping, jittery mayhem. And I can say that coffee just doesn’t do it for me. I can shoot a double espresso and be in dreamland thirty minutes later. That being the case, I was pretty excited to have the opportunity to sample and review Energems. And I was even more excited to find that they actually work for me!
Energems are essentially over-sized M&M-type candies boosted with caffeine and B vitamins. They come in three flavors–milk chocolate, mint, and peanut butter–and there are 3 servings in each little box.
Each serving of 3 Energems contains 75mg of caffeine, comparable to what you’d get from a shot of espresso. I don’t know whether it’s the sugar or the vitamins or the “proprietary energy blend” of D-glucuronolactone, taurine, caffeine, and Suntheanine, but these turbo-charged candies are an effective pick-me-up. And they get bonus points for being a lot easier to carry and consume on the run than either coffee or energy drinks.
The flavors are pretty enjoyable, definitely palatable, although there is a subtle bitterness that regular candy-coated chocolate pieces don’t have. To me, this is no big deal because the bitterness dissipates quickly and doesn’t linger in your mouth.
My next race will be a 12-hour overnight ultra, and I’ll definitely be packing Energems (mint!).
Where to get them:
You can purchase Energems in packs of 3, 6, 12, and 36 from the Energems Web site, here, or find them on Amazon.
You can also find them in convenience stores and gas station shops like 7-Eleven, Pilot, and Circle K. Click here to find a retail location near you.
Have you tried Energems? If so, what did you think of them?