Friday, September 3, 2010

Ultrarunners and Gunslingers

Way back when, as a newbie ultrarunner, I got my first waist pack with the double water bottles (I didn’t then, and still don’t embrace, the Camelback style). I figured it’d ride low on my hips, much like the way gunslingers from the Old West wore their gunbelt for their six-shooters (or at least, that’s the way they are portrayed in film and TV).

See photo above (credit here) of Richard Boone, playing the antihero Paladin, in Have Gun Will Travel (my previous post here from January where I rave about the show).  Note his pants-holding belt is at his waist, with the gunbelt much lower.

Well, it was only a short distance run with my spanking new waist pack before I realized that the pack and bottles bounced all over the place. I finally devised the solution that the pack could not ride like Paldin's gunbelt.  It had to ride several inches higher, actually around the smallest part of my waist. There I cinched it down as tightly as needed to preclude the dreaded bounce.

It took only a little getting used to, and with the right amount of cinching—up to but not past the point of uncomfortability—I could run bounce-free. And what’s more, the actual weight carried did not seem burdensome. It was like it (almost) wasn’t there.

Figure on 2 x 22 oz of water—call it 3 pounds—plus any gear, gadgets, and food inside the pack—say another 8 oz.  Oh...what about keys, cell phone, the weight of the pack itself, plus whatever else floats your boat for suitable equipage for a backcountry jaunt, to the tune of another 16+ oz and you’re easily approaching the 5 pound mark.

One thing that still drives me nuts while running with others is when somebody’s pack flops up and down noisily. I can only imagine the abrasion that is being carved into their lower back by the time the run is over. And the affront to my ears!

One more Paladin photo (same credit as before).  I guess I have a man-crush:


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