"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Stuff I like

I am not much for doing product reviews, something about companies not liking the word "fucking" in their reviews. Whatever, squares. I have, however, benefited from other people's experiences with various products, so I thought I would share about a couple of things that make running suck less for me.


I have been running in the Asics Gel - Fortitude for over 2 years now.They are apparently for people with freakishly short, wide feet. I had crippling (ok, dramatic, but that shit hurt) toe pain with every shoe I had tried before these. Since there are not many of us garden gnomes that run, these shoes are sold in about 2 stores worldwide. Fortunately, one of those stores is near me. I keep waiting for them to be discontinued. That will rock.

Hydration Belt/Pack

Run belt: For about 4 years I have been using an Amphipod belt.

I like it immensely better than the admittedly better looking Fuel Belt brand for several reasons: 1. you can get the bottles out of and back into the belt without being a Cirque du Soleil level contortionist 2. You can choose how many bottle holders to put on it and you can add or remove pouches for carrying Gu and such. 3. The stretchy, wide belt fits snugly enough to not bounce when running without having to cinch it so tight it cuts off the circulation to your lower trunk.

Go Lite Rush Hydration Pack: My Go Lite Hydration Pack. This is the newest of my running tools and I am a HUGE fan.

I got it to replace my Camelbak pack for longer trail runs. I liked my Camelback pack but the one downside was that to get to the food storage, you have to remove the pack, so I would end up running in my run belt and hydration pack. Which resulted in me looking much like a Machu picchu pack mule. Not cute. Plus the Camelbak would rub on my run belt which bugged the crap out of me.

The Go Lite does not come with a bladder (the plastic, bag thing that holds the water and you drink out of) I love my Camelbak hydration bladder, so I wanted to keep it. This pack allowed me to do that. Plus it gave me TONS of storage. There are two front pockets on the waist strap for easy access to my camera (an essential for me), my inhaler, and my food. There is also a large, backpack type compartment that you could carry my cell phone, first aid kit, more food, a light jacket, gloves, a book... (ok, a race would have to be going REALLY badly for me to stop and read, but it gives you an idea of the space)


Gu Chomps - Lindsay turned me out on these. "The first one is free, little girl"
Thanks, Linds. I am going to look like a total puss in rehab when I say my drug of choice is Blueberry Pomegrante flavored.

I was a die hard Cliff Shot blocks girl, but let's be honest they are too big and too hard (shut up, G) and their new packaging, while easier to eat out of, does not fit in anything. Not in my run belt, not in the Bento box (I provided a link for non cycle types, since last time I mentioned the Bento Box SQ thought it was some sort of sex toy) Anyhoo, since I am so slow I need to pack a lot of stuff, very irritating to have odd shaped packaging.
Gu Chomps are smaller, softer and now that they have other flavors they taste just as good.

My other nutrition consists of Gu gels Vanilla bean flavor only. All of the other flavors make me gag. To be honest I hate them, but they do not upset my stomach, are easy to eat, and you can buy them anywhere. Word of warning, if you offer me a Gu gel of ANY flavor after 20 miles of running I will typically try to gouge your eyes out with my thumbs, but they are a necessary evil in the running world.

For longer distances (runs over 20 miles, bikes over 50 miles) which I have not done in so long I barely remember what I ate, I use Perpeteum from Hammer in one of my water bottles. The flavor, meh, but not so repellent that I won't use it, it does not give me gas, and I find that my recovery is WAY faster after big efforts. (Highly anecdotal, no real data, so take that for what it is)

Last weekend at mile 15 I was hurting and I tried a Gu Rocktane for the first time (Katie A. swears by them and gave me a couple to try.) I will admit I tried it by accident and it tasted like cough syrup since I was expecting my boring ol' vanilla. However, within 5 minutes I felt like a new woman. I hate to review something I have only tired one packet of one time, but I was seriously hurting and then all of a sudden I am running like I was on fresh legs. I can't say it was the Gu Rocktane for sure (or the fact that I was almost done and on a downhill section) but I came in looking so good the guy at the finish line joked that I needed another loop I was too peppy. This is a highly suspect review. Take it with a grain (or truckload) of salt, but I think they are worth a try.


Yes, for me this is a necessary running tool. I have had one camera die in the line of duty, so I did a quite a bit of research before purchasing my current baby.

Olympus STYLUS 850 SW Water Proof Digital Camera - 8.0 Megapixels, 3x Optical Zoom, 5x Digital Zoom, 2.5" LCD, in Pink of course. :)It is a great camera. The pictures are pretty good for a point and shoot and it is easy to operate when you are delusion inducingly low on oxygen, glucose, or patience. I have tested all three extremes extensively.

All in all I love this camera. Things that I am not crazy about with this camera:

1. The wheel you use to change modes is difficult to operate sometimes. Ok, I will give you that mine may be encrusted with body sweat, dried Gu, and other sticky nastiness (not that, G, *eyeroll*) from being used when I run. It is irritating, but not a deal breaker for me.

2. Olympus makes you use XD cards which you need a converter for to plug directly into your computer and is not interchangeable with other cameras like the more popular SD cards. Not a huge deal for me.

3. Not great in low light conditions.

GPS (timing/distance/elevation gain device)

I use a Garmin 305 like just about everyone else. I am the type of nerd that has to know the numbers. There are a billion reviews on them. They are big and ugly and akin to running with a Volkswagen Beetle on your wrist, but you can operate and read them while running and, again, I have to know the numbers, so it is a necessary evil for me.

To clean up the GPS data (you cannot believe the elevation data on the Garmin software it needs to be cleaned up as it is always artificially elevated) I use Bimactive.com. It is free, easy to upload your Garmin data to and cleans the data through the USGS site. It usually matches all of the race sites elevation profiles except for ones that use Avocet altimeter data like PCTR. Take that for what it is worth. Told you, I am numbers nerd. These things bug me.


C said...

I love the fact that you had to call out G twice in this post. You know him well.

Have never been able to use the gels. Totally puktastic, the lot of them. I eat gummy bears instead. Obviously I'm so not a real athlete. I'm cool with that.

Btw, love your animal family photos.

RunnerGirl said...

Thanks for your review of the Amphipod! I've been considering one of those for a while and your write up about how you can tighten the belt to prevent bounce sold me for sure!

Indi said...

I'm starting to do some trail runs and man they suck some serious energy. Might have to try the Roctane! And looking for a good hydration pack as well..so thanks for the timely review. How did you know :)

SteveQ said...

I clicked on the bento Box link and that still looks like a sex toy to me - albeit, not a good one.

You have quite the collection of gear there and seem to have hit on the same items as the hard-core ultrarunners (except the shoes). I, of course, eschew all of them. [Hmm. "hit on" and "hard core"...]

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

So wait - you mention something hard, stiff and so big it doesn't fit, and you ALSO mention that it makes you gag (<-- your words, all), and I'm just supposed to sit here and NOT say "No wonder your camera has goo all over it"?

(You misspelled "goo", by the way.)


Instead let me comment on this:

I provided a link for non cycle types, since last time I mentioned the Bento Box SQ thought it was some sort of sex toy

SteveQ thinks everything is a sex toy. Except dildos. He uses them to stir his martinis. Because he likes them stirred, not shaken.

Also, he likes that yummy hint of dildo in each sip.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Also, Xenia hurts my feelings when she implies I'm some sort of perv.

Next time, SAY it, don't IMPLY it! Some people might get the wrong idea, i.e., that I'm NOT a perv.

And that would NOT be goo.

I mean, "good".

Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

I will check out the amphipod belt. I need one as I have entered that marathon training realm.
Good reviews!

RoadBunner said...

I have the same camera! But now that I think about it, I think we established that when we ran into eat other at Big Sur.

How much food would your hydration pack hold? I want a little backpack style bag to use on run errands. So if I wanted to buy Mario a head of lettuce and maybe a broccoli for dinner would that fit in it if there wasn't a hydration bladder?

I have been using Shot Bloks for almost 2 years I think and am officially getting tired of them. I bought a bunch of different gels to try. 15 minutes after taking them I definitely get a new set of legs. I never got that effect with the bloks since I ate one every two miles instead of a huge blast of energy all at once.

The un-Zen Runner said...

I was always told when I was in elementary school that one day some stoner kid would come up me and try to give me crack...for free. If I took it then I'd be immediately addicted and buying from him forever after.

Unfortunately I was so focused on making the right decision with the stoner kid that I totally missed it when the Gu Lady offered me free samples of Chomps. Damnit! Thus began my forever after...

PunkRockRunner said...

So, will you be wearing the fuel belt AND the hydration pack for the San Francisco Marathon?

FYI - There are lots of products that prefer you to use the word "fucking" in a review. These are not running companies.....

All the best,


Lindsay said...

i was wondering what pack you use in your trail run pics. i am contemplating getting one, but still a little concerned about my dork status. you know, cause i have sooo many cool points going on... riiight.

you are welcome for the chomps. i'll be right next to you in rehab.

Lindsay said...

ps. i must admit, i'm enjoying *actually* seeing RBR in my google reader all the time now.

Southbaygirl said...

I need a new hydration pack. I run my long trail runs(ha they have been non-existent lately) with my camelbak racebak-but I need something with pockets! So I've started looking....do you really like the GoLite?

Jo Lynn said...

Ahem!!!! I told you about Gu Chomps and you got your first little bag at the Nitro run we did together. Pfft, giving someone else the credit. Whatever!
What time do you want to get started on Saturday? The earlier the better, beat the heat. ;)

Diana said...

Cranberry-apple are my favorite GU chomps! I never leave without them, even if it's only a pussy 3 mile run!

Great commentaries on all the products, but you so took all the fun out of it for G!

joyRuN said...

I shared my Gu Roctane with my co-worker at mile 6 of the Broad Street Run. Bitch took off with a burst of energy while I was still waiting for that very same boost (never came).

I love love love my Garmin. Dunno what kinda tech-hating mountain man would despise it, unless it's someone who would also go somewhere awesome for vacation but run on a mill.

Southbaygirl said...

did you look at the other GoLite hydration packs? I need one and am looking at the GoLite ones and one camelBak specifically for trail running. I dont want something HUGE but I want something that has little pockets so that I can carry some things!