Goodbye, CamelBak :(

Big news came out this week about rules for the 2014 Boston Marathon. One of the biggest pieces of info for me is about CamelBaks – backpack hydration systems. They are now banned for the marathon for security reasons. Unfortunately, that’s my hydration pack of choice that I’m used to wearing and using. In addition to being convenient to drink from, it also gives me room to carry my Shot Bloks (preferably the strawberry ones!), tissues, cell phone, and more – everything I might need during a long run.

So now that I can’t use a CamelBak, what to do? The obvious choice is a Fuel Belt, which I’ve always been wary of. I just don’t like the idea of carrying something around my waist for hours. Another choice would be a handheld water bottle, an idea that I shutter at even more; carrying something in my hand for 26 miles doesn’t sound like fun to me! Inevitably I will go with a Fuel Belt, which I’ll buy this week and try out next weekend…crossing my fingers!

Just last week I talked to my Dreamfar students about Camelbaks vs. Fuel Belts and the advantages/disadvantages associated with each. Let’s recap: Camelbaks are easy to drink from because of the hose that goes to the “bladder” (yes, it’s really called a bladder). They also provide a lot of extra storage space for whatever else you need on the road. However, with a Camelbak, your back can sometimes get hot and sweaty from it hanging on your back in the hot sun. They’re also a pain to clean out after a run. Fuel Belts, on the other hand, allow you to carry multiple types of liquids (water in one bottle, Gatorade in another) and still have some storage in a mini compartment. The major drawback, however, is that you need to take the bottles out of the belt in order to drink from them. And, of course, I just don’t like the idea of wearing it around my waist… In any case, I’m sure I’ll deal with it.

But changing hydration systems is about so much more than how I’ll get fluids during the race. Long runs and races are all about doing what you know works for you – eating the breakfast that sits well in your stomach, drinking the types and amounts of liquids that keep you going, and wearing clothes that won’t rub against your skin and cause chafing. And oh, did I mention wearing the sneakers that help you run best? For me, wearing a CamelBak is part of my long run routine, just like all of those other things I mentioned, so it will be a significant change for me to modify my routine…something us runners are taught not to do.

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