Hi Blisters, you really don't need to take energy gels at the start of a race. As you said the pasta the night before and a good breakfast on race day will give you enough energy and carbs to start you run. I know Gels work, i use them, but never until after one hour of running. In fact, the the gels i use (SIS) state on the back of them, to be used with every hour of sport, although i understand some gels are different. One of the links i posted earlier, states that if you take too much of these things (gels+Engery drinks) your going to dehydrate yourself, with a build up of sugar in your system.
With all the things your doing, training and diet wise, you don't need a gel at the beginning of a run. In fact the last race i need, i had a mate who was going to take a gel at the beginning of a race and i persuaded him to wait until the half way point (It was a HM) or an hour had passed. He followed my advice and afterwards said it was far more affective than if he had taken it at the beginning of the run.
And the taking a gel before you expect to need one comment, sounds just like the powerade spiel about drinking their drink before you feel thirsty.
I know every runner is different and going off your post you train a lot harder than i do. I just think runners need to be careful about being taken for a ride by these companies. Look at the science behind the products and what they are saying, looking at what the pros are doing and mostly importantly train well, as that more than anything will determine your finish time.
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