There has been a war brewing with my water belt for several months now. Let's review...
I have been wearing an old school Fuel Belt for many, many years. Like, 8 or 10 years. It was great. It was small. Fit well. Carried four 6 ounce bottles. I loved it. Although the bottles leaked significantly I continued using this belt for a long time. Over the summer, though, I noticed the Fuel Belt wasn't fitting too well. I've always worn it around my waist, but decided this summer I wanted to wear it lower on my hips. The only way I could keep it in place on my hips was to use a hand towel positioned on my backside. This worked pretty well. This winter, though, maybe with slipperier clothing, the towel trick was no longer working. Maybe it was time for a new water belt.
For Christmas my in laws got me a new Fuel Belt, the H20 Collection. I really appreciate the gesture and think it was a great gift idea, but this Fuel Belt was a piece of crap. I have the smallest size, synched as tight as it will go with the velcro overlapped and the Fuel Belt will not stay put. I put it on my hips, above my hips, at my waist, and no matter what, within 20 steps that belt is around my ribs and bouncing all over the place. I have used my towel trick and it still wouldn't hold it in place. I thought it was the slippery winter fabric and put it outside my fleece jacket or my wind breaker jacket and it still didn't matter. The water belt still wound up around my ribs. My last 20 miler, I fought with that thing every step up the way. At the 11 mile mark I had had enough, stopped, took off my jacket and repositioned all my other clothes, completely wrapped my jacket around and through the Fuel Belt and went on my way. It kept it mostly in place until I finished 18 of the 20 miles. Then I took off the belt, took out one of the water bottles and put it in the waistband of my tights.
With only a few weeks until my marathon I spent a little time checking out some details on the website the other day. I clicked on the link for the water stops and was really surprised to see that there were not water stops at every mile. They are every other mile except no water stops between miles 15 and 19. As a friend said on my Facebook page, "what marathon puts dehydration as a 'perk'?" A little panic later and a conversation with Coach, it was decided that I would wear a water belt for the marathon. Ugh! Was I really going to fight my Fuel Belt for a full 26 miles?
I have an Amphipod waist pack (aka--fanny pack) that I absolutely love. You put it on and you forget that it's there. It's lightweight and doesn't move an inch. I figured that their water belts were exactly the same. I got on the website, searched my options, Googled reviews, and put in my order. Before pulling the trigger, though, I put a call out on Twitter and Facebook for what my friends were using for their hydration. I got a lot of good responses about Nathan so I put my Amphipod transaction on hold and waited to head to a local running store the next day.
I went to FrontRunner with a bit of skepticism. A water belt is a water belt, right? I tried on the Amphipod and didn't like it. It didn't really have any stretch to it and I couldn't figure out how to get the water bottles in and out. I asked the sales associate about the Nathan one and he didn't have a lot of information. It was a new product for them. He told me to try it on and go for a run around the building. I did and it seemed okay. I went back in a talked to the associate a little more. He told me to try it out for a few weeks and if I didn't like it I could bring it back. Sold!
I brought it home, stuffed it with all the nutrition I would carry in the race, filled it up with water, and put it on. Dude, that sucker was heavy! My logic, though, is it's only going to get lighter as the race goes on. :) This morning I filled it with water and hit the treadmill wearing what I'm planning on for the race. It was only a 35 minute run but I wanted to get a feel for the belt. It.....was great! I didn't move. I was able to wear it on my hips and it didn't ride up. I didn't notice the weight of it. I was able to get the water bottles in and out with one hand, although it was a little tough. I'm sure it will loosen up with more use. I think it's going to be great for the marathon. FuelBelt may have won the battle, but me and my Nathan are hoping to win the war.
Thanks, Megan, for the suggestion.