Sunday, August 7, 2016

Orange Mud Hydration Pack


Disclaimer: I received Orange Mud HydrationPack as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
As an ultra runner, I have a great interest in hydration packs. They are vital to my successfully completing my long races but also my long training runs. While I already have what I feel is “the” pack, the only one I will ever use for ultras, I still am always looking for good other packs for training and other outdoor family activities. I don't like to overuse my special pack plus it's pretty disgusting even though I wash it, so it's reserved for those events where no one gives a crap that I smell worse than a dumpster.
At first glance, I really liked the Orange Mud hydration pack. It's pretty sharp looking with the black and green. It also comes in Orange and Gray and there is an additional option for a trekking pole upgrade for a little bit more money. I have to admit, I was impressed by the space in the back of the pack. It holds a 2L bladder (with a velcro strap to hold the bladder in place!!!) and has a large zipper pocket back there as well. The front has two cinch type pockets and then two velcro pockets on the shoulders. Now, don't get me wrong, the Orange Mud does not have near the space that my special pack does however it does have just as much if not more storage space than other packs I have seen and tried. Unless you need to carry enough food for two days, fuel, batteries, phone, extra charger, safety kit and extra water (yes I've had to carry all of this during a couple of ultras) then the Orange Mud pack has enough room for what you do actually need.



Ok so you know it can hold 2L of water and a bunch of other stuff but how does it feel. The pack felt comfortable to me as soon as I put it on. There were no weird/uncomfortable edges or straps digging in anywhere. The pack is designed to fit both men and women in a range of sizes. Being a small, lady, I did some adjusting of the straps to make the fit better for me. Emir was also able to adjust the pack so that it fit him comfortably and we are two completely different sizes. And yes I have boobs which after Josh from Orange Mud explained how to move the bottom strap lower under my boobs, were no problem. I ran many runs with the pack mainly in tanks and singlets. I didn't have any chafage anywhere, which is a HUGE plus in my book. Everything felt pretty good during all my runs with the pack. Since I'm smaller there are some excess to the straps that tend to dangle but they don't bother me. Just feel I should mention it since it bothers Emir and I'm guessing might bother other people too. I'm sure you could either trim these or tuck them in somewhere.



Lastly, I love how user friendly Orange Mud is. They sent instructions on how everything works on the pack, how to clean the pack and tips for cleaning the bladder. They also have most of this info on the website. I know everyone likes to use the different features on different packs in their own ways but it's always nice to be given some other ideas as well because maybe my way isn't the best way or I could optimize how I use the pack. 
Using as a pillow on the top of the mountain ;-)
Overall I felt like it's a solid pack, good product. I definitely will continue to use it a lot. It seems to be made of very sturdy yet light material, I think it will last a long time and handle the tough wear I tend to put on my packs and not get tears easily as a few of my other packs have. Like I said, I think it has plenty of storage for what most people need in a pack and is priced appropriately for it's size and durability. 


Monday, June 27, 2016

Amphipod Hydraform Handheld

Disclaimer: I received Amphipod  ergo-lite ultra Hydraform as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!



I'm always interested in trying new hydration running products because as a runner who runs "all the miles" I'm always thirsty.  I am always trying to figure out what's the best way to carry hydration on my runs.  It's a never ending cycle.  I have a number of 20oz handhelds already which is why I decided to test out the 16oz Hydraform.  The 20oz ones are fine for doing my shorter runs when I don't need my pack but they seem to be just a bit heavier than I want to carry when I'm trying to race fast.  The Hydraform i was testing was actually called the ergo-lite ultra which peaked my interest since it's supposed to be even lighter.  It also has an ergonomic shape to fit your hand nicely.  
gel holders!
I noticed from the first time I put it on that it felt very comfortable.  The bottle sits in a padded, insulated sleeve.  The only negative about the sleeve was that it was not too easy to take off and on.  I, personally, don't care much because I'm a dirtbag and I just rinse it out and put it in the drying rack however I know some people prefer the dishwasher which would require removing the sleeve often. Other than that, I actually really loved the sleeve.  The feel and look were nice.  The pocket was a good size.  I still have iPhone 4s ( I know, I know) but it says it can fit 6.  It also has a little clip for your keys in there.  The strap is adjustable so I was able to fit it nicely to my small hand   I love the thumb hole so I can switch up positions of my hand during the run.  Another feature not on most handhelds were the little holders for gels, 4 of them. I utilized those during my relay race this past weekend.  It's easy to get the gels in and out.  The gels however stay super secure in there during the run and even when I would throw the bottle around in the van.  The last nice feature is the insulation of the sleeve.  They say it will keep liquids warm or cold.  Clearly I didn't test keeping anything warm since its summer.  But two of my relay legs were in the middle of the day in the blazing sun.  I put cold water with ice cubes and my water was cold for entire run.  
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As far as the bottle itself, it has a unique opening for drinking.  I can't pretend to understand exactly how it works but I do know that nothing comes out unless I suck on it or squeeze the bottle.  I love not having to pull on something to open it and I like being able to just squeeze water out on myself easily when I'm hot.  
used it during this weekend's Rock Lobster Relay
Overall I was very happy with the Amphipod ergo-lite ultra.  It was light, comfortable with some unique features that set it apart from a lot of other handhelds.  It will definitely be a product I continue to utilize frequently in my running.  
Liked using the Amphipod!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Did you say running AND wine?! Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received entry to Virginia Wine Country Half as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Doukenie Winery
I didn't really realize the full extent of what I got myself into until maybe a couple weeks before all this went down.  First of all, I had originally thought I was going to be doing about 21-22miles in the United Relay and for some reason I didn't really realize that the Wine Half was that same week (I'm not very attentive to details, oops).  So when Bibrave was really needing people to do the wine half, I said sure since I knew I was one of the closer pros to the location.  Plus, when I checked out the website I realized there was a wine party after the race, so umm yeah who doesn't want to drink wine at 10am?!
Beautiful even on an overcast day

Monday, June 13, 2016

United Relay of America -- My Blue Route Adventures

Disclaimer: I received entry to United Relay as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

The United Relay of America is a new relay across the country raising money for various charities.  There was actually 3 routes, red, white and blue.  There were individual stages and group stages.  The distances ranged from 5K to maybe 10 miles (I'm not totally sure of that but that's the average).  I joined the Blue Route since that was the one coming closest to me.  There was no one signed up for any of the legs in this neck of the woods, so I agreed to do 3 of them which added up was about 22 miles.  My only issue was that my first leg was supposed to start at 2:00am so Emir wouldn't be able to support me or drop me off.  The RD of the relay assured me that the blue support team would either give me a ride back to my car or drive my car to the finish for me.  AWESOME, problem solved!

Blue team crew.  Two of them had been supporting the Blue route by themselves until this day I met up with them when two others had arrived to help with the end.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

UCan, I can, we all can

Disclaimer: I received Generation Ucan  product as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Nutrition and fueling is not something I really like to think about.  It's just my nature.  I LOVE ultrarunning but I don't really like to analyze and figure out what I'm putting in my body and how it will affect my running.  I just want to go out and run forever and not worry about anything else.  Unfortunately being an ultra runner means just the opposite.  I really do need to pay attention to these things (darnit!).