We are gathered today to celebrate the life of Nuun Kona Cola, a lovely brownish hydration tablet whose life fizzed out too early.
Yes, it may seem a bit awkward to mourn the loss of a flavor of hydration tablet, but Kona Cola? It has no peer. Far from having contemporaries, it ruled the world of sports hydration flavors.
Friends, let me tell you a little story. Because, in the tradition of most eulogies, I'm actually going to talk about myself, not the deceased.
Once in a while, a drink comes into your life that changes your life.
For an unhealthy number of my relatives, that was a one-olive, dry martini—or three of them—at lunch.
For me, that drink was Kona Cola.
Way back in the day, in 2004, when Nuun was just a few roots of the hydrated tree it’s grown up to be, I tasted Kona Cola at a trade show. I was smitten.
Just a few sips of the drink with such a badass, aspirational name gave my taste buds access to an elite world of Ironman Triathletes. Athletes who, after a long day battling the waves in the ocean and the winds on their bikes, could only sip flat Coke as they ticked off sub-6 minute splits on a marathon.
They’d sip flat Coke, barely stopping at the aid station, to keep their energy up and their roiling stomachs quiet. Then they’d continue clicking off crazy fast splits, wearing their Speedo suits that they’d worn all day. Their faces were streaked with salt, their eyes echoed all the miles they’d covered that day, but they were still charging. They had trained all year for this, and a few GI issues were not going to ruin 364 days of preparation.
I knew I’d l never compete in Kona. I knew I’d never run one sub-six-minute mile, let alone 26.2 consecutive ones. And Lord knows, I’d never wear a swimsuit anywhere but a pool deck.
But my taste buds could transport me to that world.
Kona Cola reminded me, in my own #motherrunner way, to keep charging. Keep charging through too many injuries, through miles that I was sure would never end, through workouts when I wondered what in the hell I was doing out there, alone, clicking off miles that felt meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
And as I head into my next attempt at going big—a 50K—I’m going to sorely miss my little brown tablets that I lovingly dropped into at least two bottles before long workouts. At least one for the workout, and one, with extra ice, to enjoy on the drive home.
Of course, I’ll find a new favorite flavor. And I’ll figure out, through my miles of upcoming training, a way to forgive Nuun for retiring the.absolute.one-hundred-percent.best.flavor of all time.
But rest assured, I’ll never forget you, sweet KC. Thank you for the many, lightly caffeinated, happy miles.
If you're feeling as sad as I am, one way to quell your sadness: Stock up on Kona Cola. It's on—sniff—discontinuation sale. To save even more beans, use code "amrnuun" to get 20% off your order.