I’m glad to have wrapped up the final week of the year with a rolling start to my training plan. It’s super to also see quite a few of my friends getting a head start to the year. All but yesterday’s run were great and enjoyable. A serving of weak coffee failed to pick me up (intake of coffee or tea after 12pm has detrimental effect to my sleep) somehow and I felt sluggish.
But a workout is a workout. Commitment is such that once you’ve penned it down, you will complete whatever task it is. Well, at least most of the time.
Yesterday was an opportunity to test out the Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 10, a 10 ounce (300ml) handheld water bottle. Prior to the UD, I’ve had many experiences with the various hydration options for runners. There’s the waist belted option like the popular FuelBelt, Nathan or those from nearly every major sporting brands. For ultra runners, backpack types like Camelbak and Nathan are ubiquitous. Finally there’s the handheld type. I typically stay away from hand-holding water bottles because I’ve never liked the stress it placed on my hands, arms and shoulders. But the UD design proved to be very appealing when I tried it in the RunnerzCircle store and decided to invest in it.
It’s basically a removable clear BPA-free bottle (so that you can check the fluid level) held by a compact holder. You slip your hand in and the entire package fits inside your hand. It’s designed for ambidextrous use, so you can switch it from left to right hand easily. You can customize the fit by pulling the cinch cord. There are plenty of reflective strips to ensure visibility. The small pocket will allow you to carry cash and your keys or a single gel pack. Unlike the 20-ounce bottle option, the 10 ounce bottle cap is the traditional pull and suck type. The 20 ounce bottle option called the Fastdraw Plus [brief review here] has the patented Kicker Valve, a very neat device, but I felt that it’s too large for me and will just put a strain on my hand and shoulders eventually impacting my natural running movements.
I filled up the UD with 50% isotonic drink and 50% Mountain Dew, all chilled and headed out. The small and compact build of the Fastdraw 10 fitted near perfectly in my left hand. The holder and bottle felt very comfortable and fitted so well and I needn’t even clasp my hand to hold on to it. I could relax my hold and even ran with open palms and the UD will stay in position. The pull action of the cap was the smoothest I’ve found. Drinking off it meant squeezing the bottle or just sucked as usual. Even with fluid sloshing around in the bottle, there was no spillage. I overturned it and the drink stayed where it should.
Overall, I can safely say that the UD is the best handheld I’ve used. The 10 ounce capacity is just enough for a 10K run on the road or trail, refillable at the various water stops on long runs. The pocket fits my car keys and cash. Most importantly it’s very ergonomic, fits like a glove, and felt so secure that I could run without always exerting pressure by having to grab it hard. Even after using it only once, it’s now my favorite water bottle, and that’s saying a lot from a person with too many bottles in the cupboard. RunnerzCircle stocks the UD Fastdraw 10, Fastdraw Plus and the Access Single Bottle Pack (a waist belt option).
Note: Do also check out Andy Bowen’s post on finding out which hydration system is best for you.
Originally published: Jan 3rd, 2011