A blog about Trace and her races.

Fanny Packs and Belly Aches

Did I grab everything?
I have always considered myself a simple runner. The only things I ever needed for any run or race were a watch, sports bra, shorts that don’t climb and shoes. I wish I could say that was still the case but it isn’t, in fact I literally have to take time each day and prepare my running bag for the next scheduled workout: outfit, shoes, tape for my PF, Garmin watch/heart rate monitor (not to mention I have to charge this the night before), ipod, sunblock and recovery drink.  (Sometimes the preparation actually takes longer than the run itself!) While I would love to reduce the amount of things I need, I don’t want to be without any of them, especially the watch and shoes.

I can stick this here. I can stick this there.
Preparing for a race hasn’t been any easier – not only do I need to bring the items I listed above, I need to also bring gloves, Hammer Gel, Endurolytes and ibuprofen.  I would love to NOT have to worry about carrying any of those things but if I didn’t, I myself would probably have to be carried off the course.  Since marathons are really new to me, I don’t want to chance it and run without them, so I stick them wherever I can – in my glove, waistband and in that little pocket located somewhere on my shorts/pants. Still not enough room…

The Dilemma.
So where else can I stick those things?   Only 11 days until Surf City – I have to figure this out.  I just can’t fit everything in, and the gels in my waistband have already contributed to a lot of cuts from the packaging digging into my skin.  The gels are my biggest concern – I only like Hammer, all the other brands give me the worst belly ache – it’s torturous and there is no way I am going to use the restroom during my race (at least I will try to do everything I can to prevent it).

This weekend at Carlsbad I used the Spibelt that I bought at the CIM expo to hold all my stuff and it wasn’t the best idea to carry this fanny pack thing for a few reasons: (1) I felt like I was living in the 80’s; (2) I didn’t want my picture taken with some huge contraption/bulge on my hip; (3) It was way to difficult to maneuver specific items out of the belt one at a time without completely dropping them on the ground; (4) My hip (flexors) are extremely sore from the tightness of the elastic band.  Please take note of the order in which I listed those reasons – talk about priorities!

The Solution.
The only real solution I can think of right now is to ditch this Spibelt (without ANY interest to try other brand) and try to consume the gels that are given away on the course.  I am not too crazy about that idea since I worry the venue could run out before I get to the gel stations and I really don’t like gels that have refined sugar, taste like coffee, chocolate, or any other flavors that don’t resemble a fruit.  (Actually, I don’t use any nutritional products unless they are from Hammer Nutrition, or, my new fave electrolyte drink Ultima Replenisher.)  For now that is what I am going to do. I’m just going to start using the gels that will be offered on the course during my training runs prior to the race.  Since I know my stomach is sensitive, I will have to consider carrying at least one of my own.

Let’s see what happens…

This is what I am trying to avoid...


10 responses

  1. David Plyler

    I am getting ready to run my first marathon in March, the LA Marathon. This blog of yours has provided me with some things to think about. Thanks for your thoughts/insights and good luck with the next twelve months.


    January 26, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    • Than you Dave! I am glad I can help. Good luck at LA!

      January 26, 2010 at 10:59 pm

  2. Michael


    It’s such an individual thing. I saw on DM where folks were trying to talk you out of carrying certain things. You are the only one that can trial different methods. You have spent the hours / miles on your feet and you know the formula that works for you. Use your training runs to tweak your plan but I’d be leary of listening to any of us. Not many folks perform better than you anyway. YOU should be giving US advise. You’re awesome!! Take care.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:53 am

    • Thanks! You are right about everyone’s individual needs – I am just curious as to what others are doing (that is working for them). I am going to try the course food and at least eliminate that from my pocket(s) – hopefully that will help. Thanks for the positive message!

      January 27, 2010 at 8:23 am

  3. morey000

    I’m so glad you blogged about this- it’s driving me crazy too! Fortunately, I’ve got a cast iron stomach, so I can down about anything.

    My list is getting way too long:

    Nike Ipod + on shoe
    Nike Ipod + receiver
    heart rate monitor strap
    Garmin 405 (I’m still using both the garmin and nike+ until I finish out some Nike challenges I entered 🙂 )
    Amphipod 4 bottle belt with:
    2 10oz water
    2 10oz electrolyte drink (usually XOOD mangosteen)
    In Amphipod pouch:
    Cliff Roks (for when I get hungry)
    Cliff blocks (margarita)
    Park pass for running in Saguaro Nat’l Park
    Cash $20 (just in case)
    health insurance card (just in case)
    cell phone (just in case)

    This is only for long runs. For weekday runs under 7 miles or so, I don’t take the Amphipod belt. (I tried a few and liked the Amphipod system the best). The SpiBelts are cute, but I feel the need to look more like Batman.

    January 27, 2010 at 8:07 am

    • Wow – that IS a lot of stuff. It is always better to be safe than sorry! At least you will eliminate the Nike + stuff. I try to run my longest runs in Santa Monica where I can drink from the fountains eliminating the need for a water bottle. Thanks for reading the blog. Take care and good running!

      January 27, 2010 at 8:21 am

  4. morey000

    I just made it sound long by listing every little thing.
    Oh- I forgot two items. Chapstick (for sunblock), Emergency contact card.

    The nike+ stuff is really tiny. Just listed it for ‘effect’.

    It’s not as bad as it sounds, as most everything just lives in the Amphipod pouch. There’s a certain comforting feeling when I put on my loaded Batman belt. I feel like I’m ready for anything and can run forever through the wilderness. Of course, the mask and cape help too.

    January 27, 2010 at 8:34 am

  5. Trace – I can empathize with you (as we all can!) It seems we have a routine and time investment on just preparing before we even step out the door. I recently discovered the Asics Quad Shorts that my friends were sporting (pun not intended) during our long runs & races. They are way cuter than the Race Ready shorts (especially for women with slighter builds like you & me) and reasonably priced. I bought a pair at a local running shop at 30% off ($36 retail). Zappos carry them http://www.zappos.com/n/p/p/7518304/c/183092.html

    In my Quad shorts, I can carry $20, my house key, ID, BlackBerry (if absolutely needed), some GUs (or Hammer gels), and Chapstick. If I need extra pockets, I’ll wear my Nike sport top with the two pouches in back. I don’t feel any bounce (even with my phone) or jabbing. However, I have not raced in the shorts (but I have in the sport top), so I’m not sure how they hold up.

    Good luck and looking forward to reading your updates of your other races!!

    January 27, 2010 at 2:02 pm

  6. Behzad Pirvali

    I really like the picture 🙂

    January 27, 2010 at 4:04 pm

  7. I vote for gear with pockets. I wear skirts from skirtgoddess.com which has THE most awesome pockets! I’ve stuck a phone in one and a camera in the other and there is no bounce. For marathons I use Shot bloks which are the perfect length that when I reach around to the pocket they are right there.

    Since you use gels, you might try those hats that have the little bands to hold gels on them. I think they are called Gas Caps or Fuel hats or something like that.

    For me, besides the pockets I stash bloks and chews in the little pocket in my handheld water bottle. Belts do work for me and sometimes I’ll use those, too.

    January 30, 2010 at 3:35 pm

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