Monthly Archives: August 2014

New Favorite Hyrdration Pack

My first introduction to the Hydraquiver was back in January at Little River Trail Run, a race that my trail running community hosts.  I was there organizing packet pickup, which meant I could also run the race as well.  This year I ran with my dad and sister, excited for their first trail race!

Anyway, as we crossed the line and headed down the finisher’s shoot I noticed a pack I had never seen before.  Out of curiosity I had to ask her what and where she bought her unusual pack.  I have seen hand held bottles, bottles carried around one’s waist, and even a few in front pockets of racing vests…this one was a bottle right in the middle of her back, just between her shoulder blades.  I asked about it, and she insisted she loved it.  She had gotten it as a Christmas present from a friend who lived out west.

This sort of seemed to be the answer to my hydration pack search.  I always race with a bottle, its so easy to open and refill, I can use it as a cup in a pinch, and if I am breathing heavy I can squirt it into my mouth.  During most races there are aid stations every handful of miles, so typically I don’t need to carry several liters, plus I am small, and several liters of water on my back tends to throw me off my gait.  I like to have my hands free too.  I had a Nathan pack that clips around my waist, but my actual waist is above my belly button.  This causes me gastro-intestial problems from time to time, not to mention that if I want anything from the pack I have to try to spin it around, and usually have to take it off.  I have tried larger bottles in the waist pack, but they all felt cumbersome, and seemed to through off my center of balance, leaving me with lower back pain.

Several months passed, I poked around online, trying to find a local retailer close to Chapel Hill.  Since I couldn’t find one, I just decided to take the plunge and buy one.  So for my birthday in May, you can guess what I asked for.  The single bottle HydraQuiver came just as my training for Bighorn Wild and Scenic Race was ramping up.

Let me preface this, its HOT in June in North Carolina, and we don’t have mountains within a 3 hour drive from my house, so I spend time at the UNC stadium bounding up and down stairs.  The stadium tends to convect the hot summer sun, so I need to hydrate to stay cool.  The HydraQuiver was perfect.   The stadium is roughly 4 miles from my house so I would run there, run the stadium for a few hours, and then back home.  The shoulder pockets seems small, but expand large enough to hold my phone and a bar on one side, and then some salt tablets and more bars on the other side.  There is a pocket in the back that has a clip for your keys, and can hold a map, arm warmers, and gloves.  I also find that a nice ice pack fits in there quite nicely as well….perfect in the summer!

At first glance, when I saw that the straps wrap directly under my armpits, I thought perhaps it would chafe, or pinch, or annoy me, but the material they are made of and the flexibility of the pack doesn’t allow for any of those annoyances.  Even in a sleeveless shirt I experienced no chafing.  One would also assume that it would bounce, but somehow it sits just right in between my shoulder blades which allows my core to rotate so I can properly cycle through my gait….no bouncing and very minimal sloshing.  The bottle wedges into the pack quite nicely, even while launching myself face first downhill it didn’t pop out of the pack when I made contact with the ground…ouch, that left a mark!  The lack of strap across my core also makes breathing feel less restricted than some other hydration systems.

HydraQuiver Vest Pack 2The HydraQuiver Vest Pack 2 is the newest addition to the Orange Mud hydration line.  Two bottles, and two extra pockets make this vest go the distance.   I borrowed one for an overnight run and wore it for part of the run.   It was a bit heavy for me, full of water it weighed 10 lbs (close to 10% of my weight and was just too heavy to carry for an 8 hour training run.)
All in all, the single bottle HydraQuiver has been serving me well on all my runs and in all my races this summer.  I have been wearing it since May and have nothing but good things to say about the pack.

Chocolate Peanutbutter Rice Krispy Energy bars (sweet and salty)

As promised, these are the bars I like to eat before, during, and after long runs. They were really good at the bottom of each hill repeat at the JIM, broke up the monotony of the GU’s.

I made a version of these a while back.  Like several things in my life, my energy bars are a product of research, and then my own trial and error 🙂  These ones are better than the previous trial.  I’m guessing salted peanuts or broken pieces of pretzels.

4 cups of Brown Rice Crisps from 365

1 cup of brown rice syrup

2 cups of natural peanut butter

1/2 cup of maple syrup

dash of vanilla extract

a few dashes of salt

several ounces of dark chocolate rough cut

Since this was an experiment the only thing I really measured out were the 4 cups of rice crisps, everything else was “eye-balled.”

Like typical rice crispies, make sure the 4 cups of crispies are in a heat safe bowl.

Find a pan that is at least an inch or two deep, and line it with tinfoil for your treats once they are all mixed together in the heat safe bowl.

Then warm the brown rice syrup on a medium stove top, add the maple syrup, vanilla, and once its softened add the peanut butter, a few dashes of salt, and some of the chocolate. (don’t boil it, it burns. It should be warm, but not too hot to taste-test; which is what I advise so you can adjust it to your own liking.)

Pour it over the crispy rice.  Once mixed in, add the rough cut chocolate and let some of it melt but leave some as larger unmelted chunks.  If it isn’t salty enough for you add a few more shakes of salt (This is running food after all, so there is no such thing as too much sodium..well ok, there is..but you get my point.)

I wanted it a bit more peanut-buttery so I redid the same thing as above with out the chocolate, but I used about 1/2 of what I used before (smaller amount of brown rice syrup, maple syrup, vanilla, and peanut butter.)  Once melted, I poured it over the mixture in the heat safe bowl.

Now that its all combined pour it into the pan lined with tinfoil and press it down.  Refrigerate for a few hours, and then cut it to the size you like.



Jarmans Invitational Marathon; Did it Suck?

Training for any mountain 100 mile race has its share of “sucky-ness” from time to time.  Whether its the super early morning wake up times, the slogging through rain, mud, or snow, blisters, muscle aches, or just missing out on other social activities, sometimes following your training plan just plain sucks.

So when I saw a fat ass that billed itself as a race where everything “just sucks” I was quite intrigued.   The closest hill near me goes up for close to 3/4 of a mile, and peaks at 800 feet (300 feet of elevation from the bottom to the top.)  This is pretty wimpy when I think about the hills in Grindstone that peak at 4,400 feet (with 2,800 feet of gain) I figured I needed to step up my training game asap!

This started at 900 feet and went up to 2,430 making it a total of  7,610ft elevation gain and loss over 29.0 miles.  MUCH better than my “mountain” that I train on at home.  As a matter of fact the top of the road crosses the AT and Skyline drive.  I joked that if it really started to suck I could just hop off onto the AT and go run some trails.

This weekend also happened to fall on my 8th wedding anniversary weekend, since my husband is such a great guy, he booked us a hotel room so we could make a weekend of it.   We hopped into the car at 7 am (for the noon start) and drove the 3+ hour up to Charlottesville VA.   On the way up I tried to decide, would this be an easy, chatting, enjoying the day training run, or would I actually try to run it hard?  With the 29 mile JIM my week would total at 97 miles, so there was no tapering for this…so I eventually decided I would just see how it went and how I felt.

Happy runners goofing off..

I was actually most excited to meet some of the speedy VA ladies there.  Two of them being Sophie Speidel, and Jenny Nichols.  Ultrarunning is a small niche sport, and well known women in it is even smaller so we have mutual friends, but its always nice to meet face to face.

Anyway, back to the day.  Drew dropped me off and went to explore VA, while a friend (Ben) and me got ready to run.  The first lap up I recognized several people from different races around and chatted, interested in what they were training for, if they had run Grindstone before, and just asking general questions (can you tell I like to talk yet?)  I love the downhill, especially since it wasn’t technical…all I had to do was let go, and make sure I wasn’t running too fast.  There was no way I was going to bonk!  Not driving 6+ hours just to drop out!

The second time up I chatted with a few different people that I recognized from the Grindstone training run last summer.  Marc Griffin and Christian Dahlhausen.  Its always nice to meet and chat with other ultra runners…makes me feel less like a running freak.  I also met John Andersen, another Altra ambassador, and owner of Crozet Running.  He and his wife were so nice and so very knowledgeable when it comes to running gear, if you are in the area of Charlottesville you have got to go say hi at their store!

Nicholas DiPirro, me, male/female winners of the fantastic beer can awards!

Anyway, the next two laps went by uneventfully, and I realized I was almost dead on pace each up and down, just a little over an hour per lap. Great, so that turned into my new goal, even splits.  I was still waiting for the repeats to suck, but the overcast sky, and the great company made it way less sucky 🙂

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Altra Ambassadors collide!

So while hill repeats suck, heat sucks, getting chased by a dog sucks, rocks in your shoes suck, what the RDs forgot to mention was that all the great personalities there negated the suck-factor! It was easy to enjoy the day, with all the high fives, and smiles that greeted me up and down the hill…it really boosted my mood, and I hope my enthusiasm made others feel the same.  This group of VA trail runners was so warm, and so comfortable…it was like a class reunion or an extended family get-together.  I loved how everyone was just happy to be out there, and with each other!  I even got to meet the ever famous ultra runner David Horton, who was recovering from knee surgery.  Even though you could tell he was dying to be out there running, he was biking with words of encouragement, and goofing off at the start/finish with all the runners and their kids.  It was a great afternoon, followed by a wonderfully chill evening with my husband after!

#DANton, me and David Horton

I ran in my Lone Peak 1.5s, my TrailHeads shirt, my hydraquiver pack, ate 1 Powerbar latte energy gel, 1 Huma chia energy gel, and 1 GU Roctane Energy gel, a handful of S-Caps several home made peanut butter/chocolate rice krispy bars, and lots of water.

The Peanut Butter Bar recipe will be my next post…

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well!

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Anniversary hiking the following day