Aug 27, 2011

Out With The Old

I'm talking hydration. 

The old:
Amphipod RunLite 4

I bought this hydration belt back in 2009 when I was training for the NYC Marathon. It has worked pretty well for me over the last couple of years but I never really loved it. I never wear more than two bottles at once because I feel like it really weighs me down. This puts me at a max of 16 ounces per run. Needless to say that doesn't cut it on long run days and/or if the sun is shining. The belt also never really fits right. It rides up. A lot. Lastly, I can't count how many times I've dropped a bottle while trying to get it back on the belt and had to stop and turn around. Also, I feel that I look like batman when I wear it. 

The final straw came last weekend after my 14 miler. I carried the usual 2 bottles with half Gatorade and half water. I refilled my bottles with water at the local Starbucks, which happens to be exactly 7 miles from where I start.  It was an incredibly sunny day. I plowed through the last two bottles and ended up chugging gatorade and water when I got home because I was so dehydrated (STRUGGLES). I also experienced lower leg cramps for the first time in my running career (MORE STRUGGLES). I spent the rest of the day grumpy and trying to catch up on hydration. 

I've been doing some research about alternative hydration options for about a month. I hate handhelds, so any variation of those were out of the question. I've had my eye on some hydration backpacks for a while now. They can get expensive and there are a lot of different options so I wanted to make sure it was going to be perfect and worth the investment. I did a bunch of research and kept coming across raving reviews for the Nathan Intensity Hydration Vest. Reviews I found particularly helpful can be found here and here.  SO, I made the plunge on Friday...

The New:
Nathan Intensity Race Vest

The bladder holds up to 2 liters! This morning I filled it with 16 oz lemon-lime Gatorade and 16oz water. I figured this would be more than enough for 12 miles. It's super easy to use.

Excuse the photo. It was early. I was tired. Yet, I was also super excited to test it out. There are 3 different spots you can adjust the width and fit so it took a little while to get it just right. It's perfect.

The bottom (fullest part) of the bladder sits right in the small of your back and it's surprisingly very comfortable. It didn't bounce at all and I didn't feel like it was weighing my shoulders down by any means. It stayed firmly in place and to be honest - I barely noticed it. I was concerned the front straps might rub my arms or get in the way but it was never an issue. Taking a drink is easy and keeps the whole hydration process pretty seamless. The only real downfall is that you can hear the liquid sloshing, which is tolerable considering how awesome it is otherwise.
Post 12 mile run

Excuse my sweatyness
You can tell hurricane Irene was about to roll through because it was 73 degrees this morning with 96% humidity. I made it about a mile into my run before I ran out of places to wipe the sweat off. Needless to say the pack was soaked with sweat. I hung it out to dry (on my bike rack) after I got back.

The straps are made up of a mesh type material that make them very light and breathable. I won't lie - it now STINKS from all the sweating I did today. So currently my only real concern is how I'm going to wash it.

It's got an awesome pocket/storage spot in the front. I was able to fit my hat (incase Irene showed up early) and a few tissues (I HATE snot rockets. Also, helpful when the sweat WON'T STOP pouring into your eyes). You could probably fit a few other things in there if your heart desired.

 The front pockets are also super handy. I carried a package of Clif Shot Bloks, a Clif Shot, and my ipod (woohoo no arm band!). Definitely room for a cell phone or camera too.

If I had to rate this on a scale of 1 - 10, I would give this a 14. Seriously. Awesome. If you can't get the hint - I highly recommend it.

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