Life Goals and other Random Nonsense: Water Bottle Woes

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Water Bottle Woes

The first few weeks of training, the runs were short enough so that I did not need to carry any water or Gatorade with me, I could just drink before and after the run. Then as the runs have grown longer, I have tried a few solutions to carry liquids along the way.

I tried drinking from the water fountains on the street - but I guess I have become a water snob, because that water was literally hard to swallow. In addition, the challenge of mapping a route with enough working water fountains at the desired intervals along the way meant I was more limited in where I could run than I really wanted to be.

My sister gave me an Ultimate Direction FastDraw Plus (pictured above) which is a water bottle designed specifically to be held while running. I did not actually run with it, because carrying it around the house, I realized that having to hold something in my hands for 2-3 hours was likely to aggravate the Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) I have developed in both my wrists from too much keyboarding and mousing. I ended up bringing the Ultimate Direction back to REI and exchanged it for an Amphipod RunLite 2+ (pictured below).

The Amphipod is a belt meant to be worn around the waist with two small bottles and a pouch. Since this was the first water belt system I tried, I thought it was a big improvement over having to carry a bottle in my hands, but after a few weeks of trying, I gave up on the Amphipod. Although they describe it as a "no-bounce" design, I had to keep adjusting it while running to keep it from bouncing around on my hips and waist. I could have lived with the bouncing, but the other problem was that it was hard to keep the bottles clipped in to the holders. The bottles fell off a few times, so I had to check every few minutes to make sure they were still there. But then on a 9 mile run, I did not notice when one fell off, and I lost a bottle. I sent an email to the company explaining what happened, and they told me to call in and they could get me a new bottle, but before I had a chance to call them, the same thing happened and I lost the second bottle on another run.

I was explaining the problem to a good friend who previously trained for a marathon and she mentioned she had a FuelBelt I should try. The bottles had things growing in them from sitting unused for a few years in a drawer, so I ordered a fresh set of bottles and have been using her belt with great success for the last month!

Like the Amphipod, the FuelBelt frees up my hands from having to carry anything and it has a pocket for my keys and some PowerGel. But unlike the Amphipod, on the Fuelbelt the bottles stay put, and the FuelBelt really does not bounce around as I am running!

My one complaint with the FuelBelt is that the caps for the bottles are not designed very well. The spout tends to leak a little bit which results in me spilling water/Gatorade on my self as I am trying to drink or even worse, they can leak in the car or my gym bag on the way to a run. Water leaking isn't a big deal, but I don't really want Gatorade all over my clothes or car.

I just looked back at the website to get the image above and now I realize that when I got the new bottles, I did not get the newest model, so giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe their newer models do not leak... one can only hope!

Now I am just trying to decide if I should wear the belt on the day of the marathon, or I should take my chances with the aid stations along the way. I am leaning towards wearing the belt because I want to carry my energy gels anyway, but maybe I think I will just use 2 of the bottles to lighten the load.

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