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Durango StartI don’t have sponsors.  Apparently there is some FCC disclosure regulation that requires bloggers, or writers in any medium, to be clear about sponsorships when reviewing products.  I rarely focus on reviews but figure I mix in my product endorsements as part of the details of my stories.  I feel compelled to relate my first race experience with my fairly new Camelbak during the Durango Ultra.  While I’m at it, I’ll share my feedback on the swag I picked up today at the Expo for tomorrow’s Denver Marathon.  I have my head down in this pic at the start to the Durango Ultra starting my Garmin.  That’s me in the blue jacket and red hat.  Rob is to my left – to the right of me in the pic.

camelbakI’m as quick to dis a product as I am to praise it.  Making my contribution.  Mentioning products accounts for many of the search results that lead to my blog, so I figure there’s value.  I don’t want my review of the Camelbak Rogue Hydration Pack to come across as negative.  It failed several times, but it failed so gracefully.  I only filled the 70 ounce reservoir less than half full with water.  Rob and I debated a great deal on how much we should leverage the aid stations.  I packed some Chia Seed bars in my pockets and stored extras in this pack.  I had to remove the pack to reach the pockets, which I did to eat several more bars, but that wasn’t at all inconvenient considering my pace.

I bought this pack because my blue running vest chafes my tailbone on long runs.  This wears high on my back.  I love the fit.  I wore it for my recent Georgia Pass run and it met all expectations.  Fairly quickly in the ultra though the little black plastic connector that attaches the clip for my strap fell off.  It remained attached to the chest strap, but seemed too complicated at the time to reattach to the shoulder strap.  And I didn’t need to reattach it because the drinking hose attaches in a similar fashion and position.  The hose held my pack together in lieu of the chest strap.  I simply tucked the chest strap under the other shoulder strap to keep it from flapping. This is what I refer to as failing gracefully.  The water hose served as a redundant strap.  Until the little black plastic connector that attaches the hose clip to the shoulder strap also fell off.  Completely.  I stored it in my pocket.  Then I discovered an extra flap of material on the strap that I could tuck the end of my hose into and continue to have it hold my pack together.  This worked so well, I’m not sure it isn’t designed for this purpose.  So yet another redundant system.

I can’t tell you if any of this is by design.  I find it brilliant nonetheless.  Or maybe I’m just a running MacGyver.  That ultra was a total success from a gear and nutrition perspective.  Combined with the snow covered Las Platas, it was a great experience.  Hope tomorrow’s Denver Marathon is just as enjoyable.  I picked up my race bib and related swag today.  I’m disappointed the race shirt is short-sleeved.  And that it’s essentially the same as last year’s shirt.  And that it’s ugly.  It is a more manly blue than last year’s baby blue, but that’s the only good thing I can think to say.  I like to wear the race shirt when the weather supports doing so.  I just learned the forecast calls for 45° when the run begins.  Previous forecasts were for 31°.  The 5 mph wind hasn’t changed, and is fine.

The day will warm up to 49° and is really perfect running weather.  But it’ll be cloudy all day.  The sun makes a noticeable difference in Colorado.  Everyone’s different but for me, an October marathon in Colorado calls for a long-sleeved shirt.  This run starts at 7:15am.  Sunrise isn’t until 7:16 tomorrow.  I want to be warm and comfy while I wait for the run to start.  And, I don’t know if this is scientific, but the downtown in a city is always colder than elsewhere in a city.

ultra shortsSo I won’t be sporting the official event shirt tomorrow.  I’ll layer with one of my short sleeve, cotton Moab race shirts underneath one of my favorite long-sleeved, running jerseys.  I picked up an awesome Pearl Izumi running jacket I could wear too.  The sleeves come off making it a vest.  Had the weather not warmed up to 45°, I’d consider wearing it.  Even better, I purchased a pair of Pearl Izumi ultra running shorts at the expo.  I spent some money at the expo.  The liner in these shorts wrap all the way around the legs – almost like having some short tights underneath.  These will keep me feeling toasty.

Durango FinishI won’t bother with gloves but will be wearing the 2013 Boulder Marathon hat.  That event was cancelled but they gave out the hats.  I’ll be looking for any others.  Because I’m a gentleman runner, I registered for the Platinum Lounge.  This gives me close-up parking and a private area to warm up and cool down before and after the race with coffee, bagels, private restrooms and other amenities.  I may not run fast tomorrow, but I’ll be comfortable.  Actually, I expect to run well – possibly in 3:45.  I’ve been dreaming about a 3:30 marathon to qualify for Boston, but can’t point to any recent runs to suggest I can run that fast.  I’ll be happy with anything under 4 hours.  What I want more than anything is to run a consistent pace without cramping or bonking.  Wish me luck.