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Fuel Belt Woes

Posted Mar 07 2009 2:03pm

2b-wachusett I hate fuel belts!

You may be reading this thinking that a piece of equipment designed to help you stay hydrated is hardly something to be so passionately against, but let me explain.

My TNT coach told us that we needed to buy a fuel belt by the beginning of this month, because we’d be doing long distance training beginning this morning (8 miles). Fuel belts are designed to hold water bottles and nutrition bars so that when you’re on a long distance walk/run, you can replace the nutrients your body has lost.  We were supposed to find on that could hold nutrition bars and water supplements (to replace electrolytes, etc.).  Logically, I guess they make sense, but let me just say that I hate “fanny packs,” which is exactly what these fuel belts remind me of.  I don’t want to wear one!

But, being the “good student” I am, I went to Sports Basement (which is a sporting goods store that is known to have equipment at cheaper prices) yesterday in search of a fuel belt that would fit.  I tried on the XL, but it was really tight.  I asked the salesgirl if they had any in a larger size and she said they didn’t.  This one only went up to 36 inches, which seems fairly small, considering they were unisex sizes.  I guess the people who make these fuel belts think that all long distance athletes are fit and trim.  I mean, I know that I’m a plus-sized girl, but my waist is actually one of my smaller features, so if I can’t find one that fits, I wonder about some of the other people who carry most of their weight around their stomachs.  But I digress.

I bought the fuel belt thinking that it might fit over a t-shirt (I had a sweatshirt on when I tried it on).  I also bought some Nuun hydration tablets, a sports bra, 2 pairs of running socks, some Body Glide, and a long-sleeved fitness shirt that is made of moisture-wicking fabric.  I spent way more than I expected, but I wanted to make sure to have all of the necessary “equipment” so that I would be prepared for the long walk.

I waited until later last night to try on the fuel belt with a t-shirt, only to discover that it was really, really tight, even over my thinnest t-shirt.   Plus, it didn’t really have enough room to hold the Luna bar I was supposed to bring with me.  To say this was frustrating is putting it mildly.

So today I’m in search of a fuel belt that will really fit me, and one that will hold everything I need it to.  I’m going to return the other one to Sports Basement and hit up REI in the hope that I can find a larger one there.

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Update: 4.7.09

I went to REI and was completely overwhelmed as soon as I walked into the store - their aisles are stacked to the gills with so much stuff!  I felt way out of my league, but then found a really nice salesperson who led me right to the “hydration waistpacks.”

After trying on about 5 or 6 with no luck (all too tight), I was beginning to lose hope.  Was I really THAT fat?  I can’t believe how hard it is to find endurance event equipment in plus sizing.  Do they really think that plus-sized people don’t partake in these sorts of events?  I wish someone would make a line of products specially designed for plus-sized people; I see a huge market for these items.

Finally, after almost abandoning hope I found it - the perfect fuel belt!  Not only was it plenty big (I have lots of room to spare!), it will hold my iPhone and my nutrition bars, plus it came with a larger bottle (16 oz), rather than two smaller ones.  AND, it’s light blue, so it matches my running shoes, not that that matters, but it sure is a nice bonus, after all of this. Thank you, Ultimate Direction, for making a hydration belt that fits a larger sized person!

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Posted in exercise, fitness, preparation, Team in Training, walking Tagged: fuel belt, hydration systems, Nuun tablets, plus size, REI, Ultimate Direction
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