Thursday, August 19, 2010

So far I've taken you back to how I got started in running. Let's switch gears for a moment. Let's talk about hydration packs.

Recently I ran my second 50K and I was in search of the perfect hydra pack.  I already had the 4 8-ounce bottles made by Fuel Belt.  I like the belt because of the neat velcro closure.  It was a snap to take on or off.  But there is drawback. The combined 32 oz is not enough, even if you can fuel up in the aide stations situated every 8-9 kilometers. The bel,t however is perfect for shorter runs.

When I shop for gears, I like to see how the gear look on actual folks in motion.  So what better way to find out by looking at actual photos.  So I checked out the website on Bulldog 50K, linked to the photos of the finishers.  You can see how the gear looks on the run.  The Nathan Vest stuck out like a sore thumb.  The runners who wore it looked comfortable.  It was more like a vest as opposed to a backpack.  The backpack hydration looked like it shifted quite a bit. The runners with this kind of pack looks like they are a little uncomfortable.  The runners with the Nathan, they look like they don't have anything on their backs.  The plus of side of the vest also has to do with the pockets right at your disposal.  Gels, cameras, phones can be accessed easily.  you don't want to have to take off the pack to get stuff in or out every time you need a gel. The adjustable straps are great, as I found out myself.  The most important factor for me was that it holds 70 oz of water.  It didn't shift side to side even when I packed it at 6 pounds with my water, camera, cell phone, 8 gels, Vaseline, 2 Luna Bars.  I love the neutral light shade of grey color.  It goes with any outfit. (Yes, that's important. You don't want to clash colors. Just because you're gonna sweat later on doesn't mean you can just wear whatever.  Got to look the part.)   By the way, this Nathan Vest comes in a model designed for the woman's shape.  However, when I compared the two side by side, thanks to the folks at The Running Warehouse, the difference is negligible.  The women's vest was shorter by 1/2 inch.  The adjustable closure across the chest is longer.  The last thing that made me decide over the men's version was the pockets in the front.  The men's pocket seemed slimmer and has an additional mesh pocket.  The woman's version has a bigger bulkier pocket.  I prefer the slim line design.  But that's just me.  So I finally put the vest to the test on Sunday and it passed with flying colors.  I was comfortable meaning I didn't get hot like with the others.  The back mesh didn't ruin my technical shirt and refueling was a pinch.  And by the way, I had changed into dry clothes midway through the race and it went beautifully with each running outfit. Like my husband asks, "Are you running a race or going to a fashion show?" What a joker.  I give the Nathan Vest two snaps in a circle.

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