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Thursday Test Drive

Posted Feb 25 2010 5:58am
Last night I felt it coming on... headache, tired, stuffy nose, sore throat.  And this morning it was full blown.  I have a head cold.  After sleeping poorly (Mr. Darcy decided to start painting our bedroom last night, so not only did I have my usual insomnia but was also in a different bed), drifting in and out of sleep from 3 am on, and my throat feeling like it had endured the dripping water torture throughout the night, and it being 39 degrees out, I decided to skip my swim this morning in the hopes of returning to health more quickly.  I do not plan to skip the bike tomorrow and cannot miss Saturday's open water swim test for TNT (or they literally won't let me participate in St. Anthony's), so I figured today was the day to try to fight the head cold.  Chicken noodle soup is on the menu for lunch.

While I don't have a swim to report on, I do have 3 products to Test Drive for the...

THURSDAY TEST DRIVE

Test Drive #1: Nathan Sports Quick Draw Plus

What they say:
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. The QuickDraw Plus keeps precious fluids at easy access during runs and walks. A pocket for carrying small essentials, like a cell phone and gym card, makes it the perfect gym tote for cross-training.

Moisture-wicking, adjustable Airmesh hand strap
22 oz. (650 mL) Hydration Bottle with Clipless Cap
Zippered pocket with Key Clip
3M Scotchlite™ reflective trim

My 2 Cents (or More)

The Good: I used this on my 12 mile run because I hate carrying hydration, but know I need it.  And for $17.95 plus tax, I figured I needed to try something.  And I rather liked it.  It holds 22 oz, the padding and pouch is set in just a way that for me was comfortable and unobtrusive and it didn't spray liquid on me even when I was getting tired at the end of the run and my hand started to tilt down.  It was easy to pop the cap up and down, take a swig, and keep on going.

The Bad: Part of this may have been user error at first because I readjusted part way through the run and it did not bother me the rest of the way, but the hand strap's buckle can kind of dig in to your lower knuckle area if you don't have it just right.  It also makes it hard to get out your gel (which does not fit in the zippered pocket) of a spy belt and you end up having to readjust it afterwards.  Granted, I wore it on my dominant hand but that's because I can't drink left handed.  So, if you're more ambidexterous than I am, this might not prove to be a problem.  My other complaint is that the zippered pocket really is only for SMALL essentials.  I have to laugh that they say a cellphone can get in there.  I could fit my driver's license and a credit card, and possible one key.  Gels do not fit in the pocket and I can't imagine that my cellphone would have either.  I would have liked the pocket to be big enough to hold 2 gels (or even 1) and a DL and credit card.

The TriMommy Truth: Overall, I really liked it. Once I got my handstrap readjusted and dealt with re-tightening after the 2 gels, it was great.  I didn't feel like I had to really grip the bottle, and it let me bring hydration on my run without being burdensome.  Most of the time (other than the sound of my liquids swishing), I didn't really notice it was there all that much, which for me was just perfect.

Test Drive #2: Moving Comfort 7.5" Compression Running Shorts

What they say:
With full-thigh coverage meant to keep from riding high, there's nothing our longer Compression Short can't do with confidence. We made sure the seams flatter, the waistband won't roll and the crotch is reinforced. Features an internal pocket and reflective logo.

Inseam: 7 ½"
Body: DriLayer® Power 88% polyester / 12% spandex
Crotch Gusset: 91% micro polyester / 9% spandex

My 2 Cents (Or More)

The Good: These shorts came recommended to me by Coach because, well, while the surface area of rubbing has decreased over time, my upper inner thighs still rub together and when I get sweaty enough sometimes impede my stride a little.  For $34 plus tax, I figured I'd give them a try since they're less expensive than my other shorts.  And I was not disappointed.  I never believe anyone when they say their waistband won't roll.  I have my twin belly with it's twin skin and until the day I used these, every waistband can roll (including dress pants) in the right circumstance.  But, the waistband did not roll, the compression while present was not uncomfortable, and the extra panel in the inner thighs (that you can see from the inside but not the outside of the short - very important) held my legs in enough that I did not have my inner thighs rubbing at all during the 12 miles.  It was like heaven!

The Bad: There really wasn't much bad.  These were really comfortable.  The only thing I can think of is just that because of the nature of the shorts being like tri-shorts in a way (without the padding), that they're not as figure flattering.  But then, I don't know any company that has created a compression product in an A-line so I'm not holding my breath.

The TriMommy Truth: I really liked these shorts and plan to buy more.  They move with you, you don't have the need to pull anything down or up, and can just enjoy your run.  And the price is reasonable as running shorts go.  Wonder if they have sponsorships...

Test Drive #3: Huckleberry flavored Hammer Gel

What They Say:

For over a decade, Hammer Gel has been the benchmark of concentrated carbohydrate energy gel, primarily because of what it doesn't contain - Hammer Gel has no added refined, simple sugars, and no artificial colors or sweeteners.
Choose either single-serving pouches or the cost-effective 26 serving jugs for even, reliable energy, not the flash and crash of sugar-loaded products. You get only what's good for you: complex carbohydrates, natural ingredients, and real fruit. The result is a great tasting concentrated fuel source that goes down and digests easier than other energy gels.
Hammer Gel is versatile as well - you can drink it straight, add it to your water bottle, carry it on the go with our convenient Hammer Flasks or single serving pouches, or combine it with Sustained Energy, HEED, and Perpetuem to create a variety of tasty energy combinations for any length activity, anywhere, anytime.

My 2 Cents (Or More)

The Good: In the interest of disclosure here, I have to say that I already am a fan of Hammer Gels and that really I was just reviewing the new flavor: Montana Huckleberry.  But I'll tell you why I like Hammer Gels too.  I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome and am insulin resistant because of my PCOS (yes, I know - I have a lot of issues).  So for me, complex carbs versus sugar works better.  With other gels, I can take them and end up with an intestinal cramp (no not stomach, intestine) by the end of a triathlon olympic distance or further; or I can take them just fine during the race and then have some interesting GI distress several hours after the race.  For whatever reason, using Hammer Gels gives me the energy I need without GI distress either during or after my races.

The flavor.  I was given a Montana Huckleberry flavor packet as a sample from our Nutrition Clinic at Tri and Run in Winter Garden last weekend.  I was hesitant because someone said that they had tried it and it tasted like a grape lollipop to them.  I hate grape candy.  I rarely eat candy, but if I am going to eat candy and the only choice is grape flavor, I will pass every time.  I'm not sure why this is, but we can examine that another time.  I was on my 12 mile run and decided to give it a try.  It does not taste like grape to me, but more like a subtle blueberry flavor that's even less intrusive than blueberries.  I rather liked it.

The Bad: I still haven't figured out what Montana has to do with Huckleberries and Hammer Gel.  Perhaps that's where huckleberries hail from.  The only other bad is the nature of gels themselves - sticky.  User error of the packets results in sticky hands.  Luckily, my user error was minor but I spent a few minutes attempting to lick fingers with a running bottle strapped to the hand they were on.  But that, my friends, is not Hammer's fault.

The TriMommy Truth: I like the Montana Huckleberry better than all of the other flavors of Hammer Gel, other than my favorite - unflavored.  Don't get me wrong, the other flavors are good but I just prefer lighter flavors during races (I have a hard time with tastes and even eating real food while competing or training - especially the longer the race goes.).  I used to alternate between Raspberry and Unflavored during races, but I think I'm going to be booting Raspberry out the door and replacing it with Huckleberry.  And I plan to get to Montana one of these days to compare it to the taste of a real Montana Huckleberry.

That's all for this week.  Hopefully I haven't used up all of my test drives.  I know I have at least 2 more that I can do..
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