Like all runners all over the world, hydration is very important to a penguin like me. We need to stay hydrated to stave off exhaustion, cramps and even death. All that shuffling and puffing on the run makes me thirsty more often than naturally gifted runners. Thus, thru the years, I have tried many types from specially designed backpacks with water bladders (Camelback) to water bottle belts (Amphipod) to hand-held bottles (Polar).
But the more complex the solution is, the more complaints I have. The hand-held bottle is too big for my hand to carry and my arm gets annoyed. The water bottle belt needs to be adjusted every so often while on the run to minimize bouncing. The backpack with bladder feels heavy and the tube have a nasty habit of sticking out, making the whole experience unnatural for running. Maybe, the secret to having an effective hydration tool is to make it as unobtrusive as possible for the runner.
Enter the Simple Hydration Bottle. I first read about the Simply Hydration Bottle thru the blog entry of Running Shield a couple weeks back (http://runningshield.blogspot.com/2012/10/simple-hydration-water-bottle.html). The bottle is a creation of Brian Hock, a runner from Cincinnati, Ohio who is a graphic designer by trade.The promise of the Simple Hydration water bottle is that “it hooks onto a runner’s waistband or race belt, and is contoured to fit the shape of the lower back. The 13-ounce bottle has a leak-proof cap, wide opening, and grips to help it stay in place. No more handheld bottles, hydration belts, or leaky caps for runners who want a simpler solution to hydration.” I immediately got curious about it and bowed to get one fast. A couple days after reading Running Shield, I was at the SecondWind running store in Ortigas, buying the bottle priced at Php 850. Sounds pricey but at the current peso dollar exchange rate, it is just about the same value as the one being sold in America for US$ 19.99.
The bigger question is if the Simple Hydration Bottle lives up to its promise.
Only way for me to know is to test it, which I did in a 23-km long run last October 20 on the asphalt roads of Ateneo de Manila and UP Diliman in Quezon City, which I followed up with a 15-km tempo run the next day in our village.
|Testing the Simple Hydration Bottle at Loyola Heights|
I tried it in the following positions:
1.Tucked into the strap of my bib belt and placed at the back of my shorts.
2.Inside the back of my shorts (ass crack position).
3.Inside the side of my shorts
4.Carried in my hand
What worked for me?
Placing the bottle at the back of my shorts, while tucked into the strap of a bib belt, had less bouncing than my experience with the water belts. But there was still bouncing (maybe my bib belt was not tight or strong enough). The bouncing was minimized when placed inside the back of my shorts but I don’t like the idea of something sticking close to my butt. What worked great for me was putting the Simple Hydration Bottle inside the side of my shorts. It really felt great because there was no unwanted disturbance from it. It was as if the bottle was not really there. And then when I gripped it to drink, there was no danger of slippage. In fact, I was also comfortable running with the simple hydration bottle handheld as the hook fit the shape of my hand.
Thumbs up for the design of this product! It is the simple solution I have been looking for.
Another plus of this product is its big mouth. The brochure points to its 53-mm bottle opening as resulting in easier refill and cleaning. Yes, this is true and I point to another benefit which is important in our humid tropical climate. The big opening allows for cube ice to be placed inside, unlike the smaller opening of the bottles of the Amphipod hydration belt.
|Bigger opening versus Amphipod|
Still a “pog”i point for the Simple Hydration Bottle is its capacity to hold 13 ounces of liquid. It is just about right for me. Let me elaborate. For long runs and marathon races, I like to carry in my hydration bottle, not water (they are abundant in the hydration stations of the local marathons) but Gatorade (they are not as abundant as water and whatever amount given out to runners in hydration stations is already taken by the time slow runners like me come along). The typical size of a Gatorade bottle available in local groceries is 500 ml (or 17.6 oz). I fill up all 13-oz of my Simple Hydration Bottle and the 4.6-oz excess I gulp down for energy before the run. Nothing is wasted.
|Just right for a Gatorade|
Overall, I like the Simple Hydration Bottle very much. It works for me. It does justice to its promise of a simple yet very effective solution to the simplest yet very important need of a runner.
Gripping the bottle in my hand, I am reminded of the words of the great communicator, President Ronald Reagan:
“They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong.”
I used the Simple Hydration Bottle at the Run United Philippine Marathon (RUPM) last Sunday and it proved to be very helpful, especially in the Buendia stretch (18-km to 24-km mark) where the hydration stations did not anymore have water or Powerade when the slow runners like me came along. While many runners got sidetracked in queuing to the nearby 7-Elevens to buy water, thereby losing almost a dozen minutes, I steadily trotted along, confident that my hydration needs will be met by my trusty sidearm. I had a good time at the RUPM, finishing with a time of 5 hours & 55 minutes. My second sub-6 marathon after 7 attempts.
|Celebrating with my trusty sidearm at the RUPM|