Wednesday, September 30, 2015

CamelBak Marathoner Review

I have been using CamelBak hydration packs for about 15 years.  My first one was orange and I used it when cycling.  I still have it and other than the bladder looking pretty old, it still works great.  With my first full marathon coming up, I wanted to test out a few hydration packs.  CamelBak sent me the Marathoner Hydration Pack to try. 

CamelBak started in 1989 when Michael Eidson, who was an EMT by trade, took an IV bag filled with water and stuffed it in a tube sock.  Michael then put the contraption in his bike jersey pocket, put the hose over his shoulder and clamped it with a clothespin.  He wanted to have extra water during the “Hotter’N Hell 100.”  That was the first CamelBak. 

CamelBak feels strongly about “Giving Bak.” They started a program called "We Know Water".  It is designed to teach 4th and 5th graders the benefits of using a reusable bottle.  CamelBak also believes in being environmentally responsible in their day to day operations.  The CamelBak headquarters is located in Petaluma, California.    

I have tested out the CamelBak Marathoner for over a month now.  Hydration packs can get heavy, even before you put in any water.  Not the Marathoner, which weighs in at 11 ounces (pack only).  The included 2-liter reservoir has a quarter turn wide mouth opening for easy filling, which is an improvement over the first versions of the CamelBak.  The hose has a quick connect so you can disconnect the hose before pulling out the reservoir to fill.  It makes the filling process much quicker and easier. 

One of the best features of CamelBak packs is their Big Bite valve.  You get a decent flow of water.  Nothing bugs me more about a pack than having to work really hard to get a few drops of water.  When I am running hard, I don’t want to struggle to get a drink of water.  There are also arms that fold down to keep the reservoir open after you clean it out.  That way the inside of the reservoir can dry completely.

Other cool features of the Marathoner are the multiple pockets, 5 in all.  There are two pockets in the front that are big enough to hold bottles, although I use them to hold gels and my cell phone.  There is an envelope pocket, which is where I put my used gel packs.  You even have a sweat proof pocket for your phone.  I found that it felt better to have my Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6 in one of the front pockets instead of the sweat proof pocket.  Under the reservoir flap, there is another pocket to stash your keys and credit card. 

Light Weight, Breathable Materials
Plenty of Storage
2-Liter Resivoir
Great price at $100

CamelBak’s Social Media Links:

The CamelBak Marathoner is an amazing hydration pack for runners.  It is extremely light weight, carries plenty of gear during a run, and holds up to 2 liters of water.  CamelBak has the best hydration bladders and bite valves in the industry and I couldn’t be more impressed by this pack.  You can get yours for $100 at Amazon or at the CamelBak website.  You can also find CamelBak products at your local retailer (click here for locations).  Do yourself a favor and pick one up today. 

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Marathon Training Week 8 & 9

I just finished my 8th week of my first marathon training.  I have a little tenderness in my right heel (Achilles tendonitis), but it’s not that bad.  My mileage is really starting to increase and I am getting faster as a result of my training. 

My 7th week of training included:
Monday: 18 Mile Bike Ride (cross train)
Tuesday: Run 4 Miles
Wednesday: Run 7 Miles (tempo run)
Thursday: 15 Mile Bike Ride (cross train)
Friday: Run 15 Miles
Saturday: Run 3 Miles
Sunday:  Rest

My wife and went on vacation without the kids for the first time in over 3 years.  I had to move my schedule around a little.  It was more important to get my long run in than anything else, so I got up early on the day we were leaving to get in my 15 miles.  I didn’t want to feel pressure to get in my long run while we were there.  We ended up going on a 3 mile run on the this awesome path near the ocean.  It had a great gravel path next to the asphalt path and the view was awesome. 

Urban Cow last year
My 8th week of training will include:
Monday: 15 Mile Bike Ride (cross train)
Tuesday: Run 4 Miles
Wednesday: Run 5 Miles
Thursday: 15 Miles Bike Ride
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest
Sunday:  Urban Cow Half Marathon

I truly feel prepared for my last half marathon of the year.   I will be racing the Urban Cow in Sacramento, California on October 4th.  We will see if I can beat my PR of 1:50:20.  I can’t wait for the half marathon because, not only am I hoping for a PR, but it will be my wife’s first half marathon.  She is doing awesome in her training and I am so proud of her.  I love to hear how everyone is doing with their training, so please feel free to share your experience.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The All New Dr. Cool Chemical-Free Cooling Shirt Review

I reviewed a chemical-free cooling shirt from Dr. Cool in May and recently was sent the second generation of the Dr. Cool Chemical-Free Cooling Shirt.   I loved my Dr. Cool Wraps (Click here for my review of their wraps) and the original version of the Dr. Cool Chemical-Free Cooling Shirt (Click here for my review).   Dr. Cool has always made great products and I was sure the new chemical-free cooling shirt would be great as well.

The Claims:
Dr. Cool claims that the shirt delivers three distinct functions to provide chemical free cooling.  It wicks sweat away, circulates moisture, and regulates evaporation.  They claim that by doing so, the fabric’s surface temperature is up to 30 degrees cooler.  They also claim that because they don’t use chemicals like most of their competitors, the cooling effect never washes out.

My Review:
I have been using the original Dr. Cool Chemical-Free Cooling Shirt since May and I do feel that it does keep me cooler than most running shirts. Even if the shirt is wet, you feel cool.  The new Dr. Cool Chemical-Free Cooling Shirt is no different.  It does keep you cooler.  I actually like the new version more because it is lighter and I felt like it did a better job of evaporating moisture.  The shirts are made of superior materials which provide excellent durability.  This shirt should last for quite a while.  My wife tested out the women’s v-neck version.  She usually isn't a fan of running shirts, but really liked this shirt for the same reasons I did.

Keeps you cooler than normal running shirts
Great job of wicking away moisture and keeping you dry
Looks great!
Feels soft against your skin

It fit a little large, so order one size down

Dr. Cool's Social Media Links
Dr. Cool Blog

The second generation of the Dr. Cool Chemical-Free Cooling Shirt is even better than the first.  I really like that it is chemical free and the cooling effect won’t wash away like other cooling products out there.  It fit well, looks great, and most importantly kept me cooler.  This is one of my go to shirts when I am running in the 80+ degree days here in California.  They have several colors in both men’s and women’s shirts.  Dr. Cool also has cooling hats, headbands, long sleeve shirts.  You can pick up your cooling shirt for $27.99 at the Dr. Cool website or at your local retailer (click here for locations).
Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.