Friday, September 2, 2011
At mile 18 of the Aspen Backcountry Marathon my trusty sidekick was waiting with fresh shoes and my bottle. I had been wearing the Nathan HPL 020 vest and was ready to switch it up for the last 8 miles to the finish. This race was for testing my set-up for the upcoming Steamboat 50 in September. As soon as I popped the clasp and pulled the vest off my shoulders I knew I had made a dumb move...it was still heavy...after 3 hours of trail running.
It wasn't until we got home later did I get to see just how heavy it was (see picture). I had managed to drink 20 ounces of fluid in the first 3.5 hours of running. That's me Mr. Dumbass or just plain dumb ass! No wonder I was all stupid for the last 8 miles that took me forever to finish. It didn't help that the race organizers sent us all up some stupidly steep climb with 2.5 miles to the finish. My wife ran in with me the last 3 miles and said I looked drunk. That's honest support from my teammate.
That's my issue with the hydration packs. I can never tell if I am about empty or running a full tank. Yes, I should have realized the pack felt heavy but after hours of running in the woods everything felt heavy. I also should have realized that I was dying a slow dehydration death. I was too busy negotiating the trail and the amazing scenery of Aspen and I just goofed up.
So I was back at testing out the vest again at Marshall Mesa in Boulder. I did better this time with drinking 35 ounces in 3 hours but still far from emptying the bladder. That's my only knock on hydration packs-it takes too much energy to get fluid out of the hose. With a bottle you can inject the fluid with a little squeeze on the bottle. With a hose you are losing valuable breathing time toking on the water hookah. Perhaps with practice it will get better.
If I'm missing the obvious please feel free to let me know.