Only a little more than a month remains before I’ll be running my first 50K — the Algonquin 50K on Feb. 11 — and today, Jan. 8, I went on my first run with a hydration pack.
Although I have run marathons before, I have never really felt a hydration pack was necessary because marathons have so many water stops. But for an ultra, having a hydration pack is a good idea. Luckily for me, I didn’t even have to buy one — I won one on Christmas Eve for showing up to an Algonquin training run with the Pemberton Running Club and mentioning that I didn’t have one.
I had planned to run 8 miles today, but I ended up running 6.5 because there was so much ice and snow that I didn’t want to overdo it with my marathon coming up in just one week. I felt like I was definitely getting more of a workout than the average 6.5-mile run, and it took me 1:22:28. I walked some, and the ice was frustrating. There were also times when I went to the side of the road to wait for a car to pass.
Before using the hydration pack, I gave the bladder and tube a quick wash. They were clean, but I always clean something new before drinking out of it. I would note that when cleaning the tube, be sure to take off the part you put your mouth on. For some reason, I had trouble figuring this out and I couldn’t figure out how to get water in or out of there to clean it, but it turned out being quite easy to wash.
The hydration pack is like a mini backpack and has two straps across the front that are attached with plastic buckles. I adjusted the pack so that it fit securely during my run.
The pack holds 1.5 liters — the size of three regular water bottles — but I could really hardly feel the pack. If not for the fact that I was thinking about writing a blog post on it and that I could hear the water sloshing, I may have almost forgotten it was there. It didn’t feel like I was carrying something heavy.
Each mile, I stopped to sip out of the tube, and I could get water the entire time. Although the temperature was well below freezing (it’s 22 degrees now), I didn’t have any problems with the water freezing in the tube or in the bladder. The tube is insulated, and I think that would certainly help. The water did have a bit of a new-item taste to it, but I expect after I wash the bladder and tube a few more times that shouldn’t be a problem.
I brought my phone because I like to take pictures for my blog, and sometimes I just like to have it. When I didn’t need it, I put in one of the side pockets. There are two zippered side pockets, which could hold things such as a phone, gels/chews or money. There’s also a zippered pocket on the back. For that one, you may need to take the pack off for easy access, but I was able to access the side pocket without taking off the pack.
The pack was comfortable to wear and I didn’t have any problems with it chafing or digging into my skin.
When I returned home and opened the backpack to see the bladder, I saw that there was still plenty of water left. That’s a good thing, because I’ll be running nearly five times this distance at the 50K.
Although I have my marathon on Sunday and will then be taking off from running for at least a week, I plan to use the hydration pack hopefully at least two more times before the 50K. It wasn’t hard to get used to, but I think it would be a good idea to use it a few more times before wearing it for such a long-distance event.
Interested in getting your own? The Camden Gear Sports Hydration Pack is currently on sale on the company’s website at the cost of $34.95. Go here to check it out.
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