Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mercedes Over? Now What?

"The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is over. The pain in your legs within days, but the glory of your finish will last forever." - Unknown

Well, first of all, I want to congratulate all runners and walkers who did the Mercedes Marathon and Half Marathon yesterday. What a fantastic day we had. Just to think about running or walking miles and miles is enough to make most folks go lie down. I always say it's not doing the race that makes the marathoner, it's getting through the 5 months of training! When I first began running marathons in the late 70's (the year, not my age!) the recommended training period was 6 months if you ran but didn't have a solid base. Now, folks come out because you got a flyer in the mail, decide you would skip all that Base stuff, set a goal of a Half or Full Marathon out there and you hang in for 20 weeks. The next thing you know is that you have a medal around your neck. Finishing a marathon is something you can NEVER explain to anyone, and it's something that, no matter whatever you do from here on out, anyone can EVER take away from you. If you did this with TNT, The Bell Center, or any other charity, your rewards were even bigger. YOU are saving and changing lives. Through being a TNT Coach for so many years, I know the power of fund-raising and I know what you've been through to get there, but more importantly, I know what it means to children and adults you will never know. That's the best kind of giving, isn't it?

So, what do you do if you did Mercedes? After the soreness wears off - and you're sure it never will - you're all jacked up and you'll start thinking about your next race. Give yourself a break and enjoy what you've just done. Only one-tenth of 1% of the US population has ever finished a marathon - that's pretty select company. You'll start to feel better long before your muscles are ready to go through that again, and don't be surprised if you get a cold in the next week or so. I think that while you train, your immune system takes a tumble and some other forces are at work to ward off the evil germs, but then when you eventually complete your event, your body says "OK, are you through with that for a while? I'm not fighting Mother Nature for a little bit, so you're on your own!". You should take a few days off from running, but try to do some walking, biking, easy elliptical, etc. to keep the blood flowing to help the damaged muscles repair. Try not to take anti-inflammatories (Advil, Aleve) for a few days as inflammation is actually part of the healing process, so stick to Tylenol to control the soreness. Your first few runs will immediately remind you of how you felt at the end of the race, but that will pass. Your best bet for the next two weeks is to just do your taper in reverse. The danger lies in if you try to race too soon. Then you may be setting yourself for an injury. No racing for at least 3-4 weeks and then, try to keep it short and/or easy. There are alot of 5K's in the area, so you might want to look at one towards the middle of March. Anyway, go easy on yourself as you recover - easy runs, stretch, ice sore muscles for the first couple of days and keep your medal close at all times so absolutely nobody you encounter misses the chance to see it! If you want to see a funny, very short video from the London Marathon about what runners look like after the marathon, go to here.

So, this volume of Training With Al has come to a close. I hope it's been of help to some of you training for Mercedes or your own marathon. Then in September, we'll blow the dust off these posts and recycle them to the next batch of Mercedes runners. To them, the posts will be new, and the rest of you new veterans will review slightly revamped episodes of Training With Al. If at any time you have any questions about training, don't hesitate to contact me.

If you have any ideas for this blog, have a comment about how next year it might be better, or anything else, just email me at

So, again congratulations and I'll see you when I see you on the roads - AL

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Here We Go...The Night Before and Expo Tips

"You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down" - Annie Dillard

Ok guys, here we are, just a few days before the big day. I know what you're all thinking - "If I just had 2 more weeks, I could whip myself into shape". Well muchacho, that thinking won't work, so just relax and prepare yourself mentally. You've trained hundreds of miles for this day, and now you only have a few days left to really screw it up. I like to break things down to the ridiculously simple, so essentially, all you have left to do is rest, eat, drink, dress yourself, and run. Oh yeah, you do have to get yourself down to the Expo Friday or Saturday.

When you go to the expo to pickup your number, be careful if there is free food out there. You don't want to be loading up on Metamucil samples the day before the race! Tasting is fine, but keep it to a minimum.

When you go to the expo the day before the race, it'll be like Christmas morning with all the shoes and clothes and food and drinks and gadgets, and it's great to buy them all (me and Ken usually do), just don't convince yourself that this new gizmo is the missing key to your running success the next day! Have trust in the months of training that your good ol' whatevers got you through hundreds of miles and it won't fail you on raceday.

Do not confuse "carbo-loading" with "carbo-stuffing". Don't wait till Saturday night and try to stuff a pound of Rigatoni into your gut. During this week, you should try to eat some healthy carbs (pasta, rice, veggies, you know the routine), and don't force feed. You're going to be cutting down your miles run so the body will have no trouble storing the "extra" carbs for fuel. Be sure to drink often during the week. I try to be sure to have a bottle of water on my desk all the time AND during race week, I try to drink at least one energy drink a day (gatorade or powerade, NOT RED BULL!!). THAT may be more of a habit than anything else, but I'm convinced the mental is 90% of your confidence before the race.

On the day before the race, lay out all your race clothes, pin on your race number I'm not sure if there is a chip this year or if it's embedded in the number' but if it's a separate chip, have your race chip on your shoe the day before so you don't forget it.

Arrive at Boutwell Auditorium early on Sunday. You're going to be nervous enough - why add to it by getting to the start late?

Right now (like that carries a lot of weight) it looks like it might be pretty decent weather with a high of about 60. Looks like it'll be about 40 at the start. This is not cold!!. WEAR LESS THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED. Now go back and read that last sentence again! OK, one more time...I'll wait. Wearing a 55 gallon garbage bag waiting at the start may be your best running gear purchase (sorry, Val). It's waterproof, it's windproof, BUT IT IS NOT BREATHABLE, so don't run too far in it. You can just rip it off at the start and be sure to toss it on the sidewalk or better yet, hold it till you see a wastecan. DO NOT throw it on the course where some running coach (me!!) might trip over it! Dress in layers, so you can shed some clothes if needed. Wear gloves and a hat to keep the heat in. If you're undecided whether to wear long or short sleeves, you probably need short sleeves, but will have a hard time convincing yourself. 60 degrees at mile 20 is pretty uncomfortable with long sleeves.So, what you do is wear short sleeves and then cut the toes out of a pair of long tube socks, and wear them like arm socks (soccer socks will pretty much go all the way up to your armpits! When you get warmer, voila! Chuck them away, and your 99 cent investment has served it's purpose.

Be sure to position yourself at the start based on your pace. If you're walking, don't get in the front, because you'll get run over by some guy trying to win the race in the first 50 yards. There should be pacing signs at the start so you have an idea where to begin. We will have pace groups up to about 11:30/mile. They are based on finish times for the full marathon, but you don't have to be a UAB Grad to figure it out which group to join for the Half Marathon.

Before the race, be sure to try to learn the course so you have an idea what's up ahead. There are some hills on this course, but this is Birmingham and we're only going to worry about the things we can control. Knowing your opponent (the course) is the first step in winning (finishing).

Thank all the volunteers and Police out there. They don't get big bucks to keep you safe and happy, and they're there for a long time.

Try to have a great time, and remember, when you cross the finish line, they will be taking your picture, so smile, hands up, and for goodness sake, DON'T BE HITTING YOUR WATCH - it makes a lousy 1st marathon finishing photo!
If you have any concerns, email me.

Sunday, I'll see you all on the roads. Mercedes, here we come - AL

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

One Week!! Are You Kidding Me?

"There will be days when you don't know if you can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime of knowing that you have"
Hi guys - Holy Crow! What a huge crowd we had down at Boutwell two weeks ago for our "on-the-course" training run. There had to be close to 100 folks there! A big thanks to Val from The Trak Shak for putting out all the water & Gu, opening up Boutwell, and having coffee and Do-nut holes at the finish (Man, they were good). With so many folks out then, and with the huge crowds I saw running the streets this weekend, I know this is going to one fantastic Mercedes.
All of you training for the Mercedes Marathon or Half Marathon, pay attention. THE RACE IS A LITTLE OVER ONE WEEK AWAY!!! Now, if any of you are surprised by that, call me immediately...we need to talk! Now, about the next week! From here on out, I want you all to just relax and believe you can do this. Visualize the course EVERY day, EVERY night! Learn the turns, learn where the hills are, know where the aid stations are, know where to get's all on the Mercedes Marathon website. In other words, get the race in your head so you literally know what's coming all the time. You know how that drive to work in the morning just kind of goes by? Some mornings I wonder how I got to point B from point A, because I sure don't remember going by anything in between A & B (OK, I know there's nothing between A & B, but you get the idea). The running and walking will not exactly be automatic, but you are trained and your body won't let you down as long as you stay positive. Keep negative thoughts out of your head. Again, stay as relaxed as you can. It will take you a couple of miles to get comfortable, so take that time to just let your body unwind and the miles will click by. The middle will let you know that you are working your engines, and then in the final third of the run you may have to start digging down deep, but as they say (whoever "they" are), the marathon is easy until it gets hard! 

As I have been preaching since about October - don't do anything in the race you haven't done in training!! How can I be clearer? How about don't do anything stupid!! Remember, don't overdress. You should feel a little chilly at the start, but protect your hands and your head if it's cold. This week, your runs should be short, but done at the same pace you have been doing your training runs. After this weekend's long run, I recommend 3-4 short sessions of 20-40 more! On the morning of the race, be sure to get some calories in you before the race. It doesn't matter if it's liquid, solid, or something in between (a Denny's Gland Slam Breakfast is probably not a good idea -  unless of course, you've been doing this in training). It's amazing to me how many folks try to do a marathon or half marathon on an empty stomach. I mean, c'mon people, you're going to be out there for hours and there's no smart reason to begin empty after a 12 hour fast!! For those of you with finicky stomachs, there is something out there that will help you boost your energy supplies...Boost, toast & jelly, oatmeal, soft energy bar...SOMETHING! If you have any questions or concerns, NOW would be a good time to contact me. I'm here for you. This weekend, the full marathoners do around 11 miles and the halfers do about 6. So, plan on wearing most of what you plan to wear on race day, and just for good measure try to eat before this weekend's run whatever you're planning to eat pre-run on race day. Better to upchuck this week someplace in Homewood instead of mile 3 at Mercedes next week!
Next week's TWA will be a little more specific about the expo, the night and the morning before the race and a few specifics about Mercedes itself. Be smart! 

I'll see you all on the roads - AL 

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Oh Yeah!! 2 Weeks and it's Showtime!

"Tapering is to the marathon what sleep is to life"

What??? Two weeks??? You've got to be kidding. As we sit waiting for the roads to thaw out from "Alabama Gridlock 2014", we better start training pretty hard, don't you think? If you answered yes, go to the back of the class. This is the TAPERING PHASE - that wonderful part of training only surpassed by the totally unnecessary tradition of carboloading.

Tapering. It might be one of the most feared words in a runner’s vocabulary, right next to patience and rest. After months of long miles, finding the right balance of sharpening and rest to hit race day firing on all cylinders can be a nerve-wracking process. Even more daunting is that the taper isn’t an exact science. Ask any ten coaches and researchers what the optimal taper would be and you’ll get several different answers. However, coaches and scientists do agree on a few principles that are constant in the perfect taper. Unfortunately, these universal elements are also the most frequent aspects most runners botch in the last two weeks of their training.

Our mileage is drastically down, causing the body to say "whew", but also knowing that this is one big trick and it better store all the carbos it can in those little, resting muscles in case you pull a fast one and try to do something stupid like...well, you figure it out. You can do a lot more harm these next two weeks than you can do things to help your performance, so calm down, realize the cow's almost in the barn, and pat yourself on the back for getting through months of training. I've always felt that a marathoner is made during training, not the day of the race.

It'll always seem impossible until you cross under that finish line banner. That's not an original quote, but one I've always used with new marathoners. These next two weeks are pretty much to keep from getting hurt. You can do a lot more harm than good. During this taper period, you cut down your mileage to roughly 50% of your normal mileage and take a deep physical breath. You just want to recharge, heal, and get mentally ready. Get a map of the course (including elevation!) at the Mercedes Marathon web site, and memorize it. Picture yourself going through the different stages of the race and smoothly going up and down the hills - I didn't say FAST, I said smoothly. Visualization is so important and to do this, you have to know what's coming up (or down). During a quiet moment, try to recall the course in your head without the help of the map. Where the mind goes, the body will follow. You can't go in with a bunch of negative thoughts, and you can't hang around people who do have them. Don't let anyone doubt that you can do the race. You know you can do this. Just stay calm and approach it like you do for every long run on Saturday or Sunday mornings - OK, maybe a LITTLE more awake! Also, you don't have to go crazy with all this "carbo-loading" talk. For Pete's sake, you've been carbo-loading for the past 4 months. The fact that you're cutting down your mileage will automatically carbo-load for you. You'll want to drink a little more, so in the next two weeks, don't pass any water fountains without taking a swig. Getting a little more electrolytes into you is also a good idea, so salt your food a little more (for the sodium), eat a few bananas (for the potassium), and drink some extra Gatorade-like drinks.

Again, you have to trust me. The tapering is as important as the past 20 weeks of training. Don't screw it up! Relax.

I'll see you on the roads - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"


Wednesday, January 22, 2014


"Victory or defeat is not determined at the moment of crisis, but rather in the long and unspectacular period of preparation" - Winston Churchill

OK, so I don't want to surprise anyone, but if you're training for Mercedes, we only have 3 more weeks of training from this Sunday, and two of those weeks are taper weeks.YIKES!!!! Soooooo, last week, most of you should have done your longest run of the schedule (20 miles for the full, and 11 miles for the half). When I was coaching first-time marathoners, I would have them doing their longest run 4 weeks out just in case something happens and you missed still can do it this week and have time to recover. For all of you that DID do your long run last Sunday, this week we drop down to 15 miles and 7 for the half, unless you're doing the run this Sunday on the Mercedes course from Boutwell and then you'll adjust to 13/8.6. 

We don't treat these last few long runs any different than any other training run, just do it slow and steady. If you can, try to wear the same shoes you plan to wear on raceday. Unless you like surprises, it's a good idea to try everything out before raceday. Something that feels good for a 5 mile run may turn into clothes from hell at 16. It always continues to amaze me the things folks come up with as we get closer to marathon day. We all look for the "magic bullet" that will make this a walk in the park. You know what? - It ain't there. the only Magic Bullet is hard work, sweat, and consistency with the whole process (training, clothes, food, fuel, etc) and that's the ONLY way to assure success. Believe in yourself. If you've trained this far, and done well, then Sunday, or 3 weeks from Sunday, will be no different. You'll finish and say "I couldn't have run any further than that!" Heck, that's what you say after a 5 mile, a 10 mile, or a 15 mile run. You set a mental goal, and your mind doles out the effort (mental and physical) to meet that goal. How many of you actually thought you'd get this far? Oh sure, you had the hope of being here, but the HOPE ain't worth squat if you don't do the work. You did it by getting out there on Sundays, or Saturdays, and Mondays, and...all 150 of those days! As you grew up, you learned how to walk, write, read, play basketball, and now how to run marathons. Don't make it something it's not. It's a great physical accomplishment that you trained yourself for. Be confident in yourself. YOU are all you ever have to answer to.

I know you're busting at the seams to get going with this thing, but you also feel there is no way to "whip" yourself into shape in the next couple of weeks. Believe me, you're ready. Now, it's time to pull back on the reins, and allow the body to prepare itself by healing (injuries) and loading (carbohydrates). Remember the 4 stages of training I have you going through with these blogs: Base, strengthening, sharpening, and tapering? Well, all 4 stages are equally important. The first three stages are a series of tear-downs, build-ups, and recovery - sort of a "controlled trauma" to your body! Now, think of what you were doing 5 months ago, and how far you've come. The thought of completing a half marathon, or (yikes!) a full marathon, is not as foreign a thought as it once was, is it? Oh sure, it's still scary, but the word "impossible" just doesn't seem to fit anymore. You've put in many hundreds of miles since week #1. Intense training actually causes a DECREASE in strength during the tear-down and build-up stages. Only through rest are the muscles allowed the time to adapt to the stresses you're putting on them. Many runners are afraid to taper for fear that all their hard training will go straight down the toilet if they back off. Trust me, it takes a long time to decondition (remember, I'm a Physical Therapist, which means I have letters after my name that should make you blindly believe me!!). There is NO loss in performance or conditioning for up to two months if training is cut in 50%! Studies show that a 60-70% reduction in training over a two week period will result in a 3.5-3.7% improvement in performance. For a four hour marathoner, this COULD mean up to 8 minutes!! The solid foundation has been laid, but there's still time to screw everything up!!! Cut down the training as per your training schedule - they're not huge cutbacks, but enough to allow resting and recharging to occur. Tapering is cutting back your mileage, but not your intensity. Train at the same pace you have been doing (not faster). You're like a plane coming in for a landing - a slow decline in altitude for a smooth landing. Let's not put it into a nosedive!

Now, pay attention: on Sunday, January 26th, we will run our 2nd trial run on the Mercedes Course from Boutwell Auditorium downtown (the Start Line) at 6:30am. Many thanks to Val & Jeff with the Trak Shak for opening Boutwell for warmth & restrooms and providing Powerade, water, and Gu on the course. A course map can be found at . If you're doing the half marathon, then just return to Boutwell from 5 Points for 8.6 miles. 

Hope you all have a good training week and I'll see you on the roads - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Yikes! FOUR Weeks Till Mercedes!

"Sometimes I lie in bed at night and I ask 'Where did I go wrong?'. Then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take more than one night.'" - Charlie Brown

As Mary Engelbrit says "Time flies whether you're having fun or not". Well, time is sure flying for all of us. Just four weeks from Sunday, you Mercedes guys will be lining up for "Showtime in Birmingham". I hope all of you boys and girls are getting excited. Hope you're not saying to yourself "yikes, what have I done. I can't get ready in 4 weeks". You're right, you can't get ready in 4 weeks - you got ready in the months you've put behind you on the road, in the cold, in the rain, in the dark. Calm down. it's going to be fine.

What you need to do now is to go to the Mercedes Marathon website ( and print out a copy of the course and have one at work and one at home. Learn the course's uniqueness - where the miles are, where the hills are, the aid stations, the porta-potties, turns, straightaways, EVERYTHING. Visualize running the race, picture yourself going up those hills, stopping at the aid stations, stopping at the porta-potties (OK, let's not visualize that!), and finally, see yourself getting to the finish line, people cheering, music playing, and a medal being placed around your neck. When you do these things in your mind, you should feel your pulse go up and your breathing getting more rapid. Why does that happen? Because your mind is so entwined with your body that it has trouble distinguishing between what is real or imagined, so it starts reacting like you are running, and it is doing something called "cerebral mapping". It is learning how to react in a situation and the more familiar it is to a situation, the calmer it is and the more it will react like it did in training (physical OR mental). If it knows what to expect, things will go a lot smoother. Getting out every weekend and putting in those long runs are for a reason folks, and one of those reasons is when you're deep in a race, your body will say "we've been here before" instead of "what in the sam-hill are you doing?!!". And when you sit and learn all the aspects of the race course, that mental training will pay off big.

It just slays me when I talk to runners after a marathon and they say "I didn't know it was going to be that hilly" - DID YOU NOT LOOK AT THE COURSE DESCRIPTION BEFORE THE RACE? Sometimes the Race Director will be a little deceiving with his "rolling hill" baloney, but you can usually see an elevation map on the website. I think Mercedes will be using Powerade as their aid station drink and GU products for their gel, so start using that in your training runs.

This week for Mercedes, the week has come - our 20 miler. You just approach it as a long station-to-station run. No cooler or water stop is more than 2-3 miles apart, so just focus on that. Run, or run/walk, at a pace that is very comfortable, which translates in any language to mean SLOWER than your intended raceday pace. Not a ton slower, just slower. Wear the clothes you plan to run the race in (supposed to be in the mid 20's Saturday morning), drink the drink you plan to drink, and get a hold of some Gu's to carry along with you. I recommend one Gu per hour. Any questions at all, email me before Saturday ( . I'll get back to you pronto. 

BTW, if you're thinking of using a Pace Group during your race, you should read this post in RUNNING WITH AL about Pace Teams that I wrote last year. Actually, you SHOULD read RUNNING WITH AL anyway! Well worth the subscription price ($0).

I'll see you on the roads - AL

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Getting Those Carbs in During the Marathon

"The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses--behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road--long before I dance under the lights" - Mohammed Ali

Last week, I got to talking with one of our newer marathon trainees and the talk drifted towards what to take in during the long training runs or the race itself. As I said a few blogs back, the body can only store maybe, about 2000 calories in carbohydrates, and seeing that carbs are the absolute #1 preference for your engine to use as fuel, and also seeing that you burn about 100 calories per mile, it doesn't take Watson The Computer to figure out that somewhere around 18 miles, your engine will start sputtering and your GAS light will come on. This is simple science. You can alter the carbs/fat burning ratio quite a bit during training (that's why training MUST be consistent), but other than that, you better be throwing some carbo-logs into the fire along the way.

When I’m running a marathon, I take in 4-5 gels during the race, usually about 45 minutes apart. This provides about 150 calories of carbohydrates per hour to keep me running strong (a totally relative reference). In addition, I like to drink whatever sugar drink (Powerade, Gatorade, etc) they have, so totally (gels + drinks), I supplement my rapidly depleting energy stores with about 250 calories/hour. Depending on your bodyweight and your pace, you may need more or less than this, but 250-300 calories is about all your engine can process/hour without mucking up the food-to-energy continuum.

I have found that gels are the most convenient form of carbohydrates for me to carry during long distance runs. They are small and easy to carry in the pockets of my shorts or in a waist belt. Plus, I actually like the taste of most of them, but we are all different and some people just can’t stand the taste or texture of gels. I’ve had the opportunity to try many brands (Gu, Powergel, Hammergel, etc) and there are some that I prefer over others. To me, they go down easily, and they are easily digested, so generally, it should get into your bloodsteam in about 10 minutes IF you dilute it with water (otherwise you wind up with a big carbo-ball sitting in your stomach). I generally like lighter flavors like vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, or citrus vs. stronger flavors like chocolate or espresso, although my favorite is Peanut Butter Gu.

Now, some of these gels have 25mg or 50mg of caffeine, but how it affects your performance is a whole other bag of potatoes. But being I brought it up, here goes...when I mentioned caffeine to this runner I mentioned above, she says "Man, if I take one of those Powergels with caffeine, I get too hyped up!". C'mon folks, a cup of coffee has something like 120 mg of caffeine and if you're a Starbuck's fan, then you're talking 200mg. Powergel has 25 mg! The 2X has 50mg - HALF A CUP OF REGULAR COFFEE!! I don't think that's going to have you bouncing off the walls. It's meant to give you a little kick, but mostly rather than jolting you like a Starbuck's Double Latte, caffeine has been shown to help with the breakdown of fat into muscle fuel and increase the speed the absorption of ingested carbohydrates (which is what Powergel is). But, the mind is a strong (though sometimes not very smart) muscle, that can have a dramatic effect on how you respond to all aspects of the race. Like I've always said (paraphrasing my grandmother, "If you BELIEVE tying a piece of garlic around your neck will make you run faster, then tie it around your neck - AND YOU WILL RUN FASTER!!).

If you don’t like gels, the fact of the matter is that a carbohydrate molecule is the same no matter it's source and there are a lot of alternative forms of carbohydrates that you can try. As with gels, be sure to test them out on your training runs to make sure they are convenient for you to carry, that you can eat them on the run without choking on them, and that they don’t upset your stomach.
Here’s a list of other carbohydrate-rich foods that you can try though I REALLY hesitate recommending some of them;
Clif Shot Bloks (fancy Gummy Bears)
PowerBar Gel Blasts (same as Bloks)
Honey Stingers (they make gels and some waffle-like things. Good, but hard to carry)
Sport Beans (c'mon, they're Jelly-bellys)
Gummy Bears
Jelly Beans
Tootsie Rolls
Hard Candies
Go-Gurt (squeeze-pack yogurt)
GoGo Squeez Applesauce (or other fruit)
Fig Newtons (nutritionally, very close to Powerbars and a whole lot cheaper)
Energy Bars (hard to chew on the run...impossible in cold weather)
De-fizzed Coke or other soft drink
Honey (I saw somebody once drinking it straight - Yecchh!)

You can get a lot more specific of which forms of carbohydrates are better to consume, but generally, the big picture is pretty much the same...keeping fuel in your engine to get you to the finish line balloons. Find something you like, but more importantly, something you believe in. Now, if we can come up with that lasagna flavor gel, then we're really cooking!!

I'll see you on the roads - AL