Racing with the FLEXR Sports Bottle

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Hydration wasn’t always an issue for me while running, but lately I have discovered that I just can’t find the perfect bottle to carry with me on my runs. With shorter runs, I don’t need my belt hydration system and I don’t like carrying a water bottle without it at least connecting to my hand in some way. Hydration is critical to athletes, including myself, and especially since my blood clot last year. Dehydration is one of the risk factors associated with blood clots and anything I can do to decrease my risk, will not only keep my healthier, but bring me peace of mind as well. Unfortunately, over this summer, I didn’t stay as hydrated as I should, especially while running and walking. Carrying a bottle became cumbersome and annoying, not to mention I forget to carry a bottle when I don’t have one I love. This Thanksgiving, I was racing with the FLEXR Sports Bottle.

I was excited to try the FLEXR Sports Bottle. FLEXR is a new, revolutionary BPA-free sports bottle with a disposable and fully biodegradable liner. Yes, you heard that right and as far as I know, it is the first sports bottle of its kind, which immediately gained my attention. I was grateful to receive the FLEXR Sports Bottle (go see the pretty colors!), the FLEXR Sports Bottle Hand Carrier with Pouch (it’s pretty much weightless) and the FLEXR Sports Neo Running Pouch (how they knew my favorite color was purple for the zipper is amazing) to try out in the Flying Feather Four Miler on Thanksgiving Day.

Products for review final

I love the sleek design of all the accessories I received, everything fit and felt good for running on the morning of the race. The FLEXR bottle came pre-loaded with the biodegradable liner (and extras for me to change it or a plug if I decide not to use the liners).

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Things I Love (about the FLEXR Sports Bottle)
  • It’s extremely light-weight and the ergonomic shape make it easy to carry over any distance, short or long
  • It’s completely flexible
  • The nozzle has a patented one way jet stream valve, for accurate and precise flow, and I don’t have to squeeze too much or tilt it go get water out
  • It fits perfectly in my hand
  • The nozzle is twist so I don’t have to bite down on it and pull with my teeth, which is annoying
  • The liner makes me feel a lot better about not ingesting the germs that may have been lurking in previous (non-lined) bottles
  • The liners are BPA free and leave no weird aftertaste like some plastics
  • Technically I wouldn’t have to clean this bottle, I can just change the liner
  • Affordable ($9.95 for the 16 0z)
Things I Don’t Love Quite As Much (about the FLEXR Sports Bottle)
  • My water still sloshes even it is drastically reduced with the liner inside, but that’s not important to me to begin with
  • While the liners are really inexpensive ($2.95 for 25) and easy to change, I probably wouldn’t take the time to change them on a regular basis (I’m more likely to plug the bottle and throw it in the dishwasher)
  • Changing the liner is not very convenient, I think because my habit is to wash my bottles, not change a liner (the bottle is great liner or not)
Things I Love (About the FLEXR Accessories)
  • The fabric is quality, sweat-proof neoprene and feels great on
  • The race bib holders are removable on the running pouch
  • The hand carrier is comfortable and not too bulky
  • Both accessories can hold everything I would need on a run or at a race (ID, cash, card or two, phone)
  • They are sleek and appealing to look at in design
  • Reasonably priced ($16.95 for the pouch and $8.95 for the hand carrier)
Things I Don’t Love Quite As Much (about the Accessories)
  • I love it all

FLEXR Sports Bottles are Made in the USA and are designed by athletes, for athletes, which shows in the superior craftsmanship, sleek design, light-weight accessories and functionality. This is definitely a bottle I would invest in (even if I don’t use the liners) and is a serious competitor for iFitness Belts and Fuel Belts.

It was totally awesome racing with the FLEXR Sports Bottle and I was thrilled to have Dad join my sister and I this year!

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It was totally worth the Finisher’s Prize too (I wonder if super fruit Sangria works in the FLEXR…..)

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Connect with FLEXR on Facebook and Twitter or visit their webpage.

Tell me about you. Do you run and/or race with hydration? Do you have a hydration system you just can’t live without? Will you give FLEXR a try?

Until the next mile marker,

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Flying Feather Four Miler Race Report

Race: Flying Feather Four Miler
Distance: 4 Miles
Location: Glacier Ridge Metro Park, Dublin
Overall Time: 53:15
Average Pace: 13:19
Overall Place: 2683 / 3242
As you know, racing on Thanksgiving Day has become a tradition for me and my family. I’ve always run the Flying Feather – we made that decision early on because of the Finish Line Prize – a bottle of wine! This year it was Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages:
Four thousand bottles of it to be exact:
I woke up on Thursday morning excited for this race, even though I was thinking about how much I missed my mother. She loved this race, and I know she was as sad to miss it as I was sad to miss her. This one was for you, Mom!
Last year after the race with my Mom and sister, Mollie
 I woke up to a lovely note from my husband that left me tearing up before I even got out the door (shhh…don’t tell him I shared it! Who am I kidding? This will be the one post he decides to read!):
Enjoy your race and run like the wind, fly like a bird and dare to touch the sun. 
Let your cares disappear behind you, and I will always be there waiting for you in the end.
I got to the race early, as usual, because I am afraid of not getting a parking spot and because every year I get stuck and/or lost in at least one if not two roundabouts [read: a never-ending vortex of horror] in Dublin. So, yeah, needless to say, I get there early. And then, I promptly freeze while waiting for the race to start. It’s just as much a part of the tradition as running by now. 
Mollie, Judi, Me & Ben waiting for the race to start.
Judi is wearing a roasted turkey on her head, by the way. This is why I love her dearly.
We met up with my Dad and Aunt Beth, who were both volunteering at the event and then froze some more waiting for the event to start – then, we were off! We started off at a pretty even pace, met up with Mandy and Keri of the Lucky 13’s, and then we hit the first of a few gently rolling hills. I powered up that hill thinking about Michael’s words. Mollie asked if we could pick a new Thanksgiving Day tradition for next year and we all laughed – even though we all know you won’t ever find us anywhere else.
Here are my splits for the race:
I think I almost had negative splits (in a race!). Mile 2 I was on my own as the rest of our little group dispersed. Mile 3 I slowed down to get some water and walked a steeper hill because my knee was tweaking just a little bit. Mile 4 was awesome! It was mostly downhill, and I felt like I was flying for the first time in a long time. Some of the people who had already finished were heading back out to cheer on friends and family and it was fun to see everyone jogging back through the course wearing their medals and toting wine. You know, the important things! I’m really proud of that last mile, as a matter of fact.
Loved the medal this year!
I love the Finish Line of this race because it brings you right back to where you started and there is a real party going on with people celebrating and cheering and music playing, that you can hear from a half a mile away.  I love M3S Events for this reason – it’s a party like none other! Here’s my big finish – I even sprinted in:

And then there was a real celebration with the Lucky 13’s and friends:

 And, of course, we got our wine:
This would be why I love my sister too.
I enjoyed this race, and that feels awesome to say! I am really happy with my time and pace, and I feel like I accomplished something and felt great doing it. It was a beautiful start to Thanksgiving Day – one that I will look forward to for a long time to come.
Until the next mile marker, 

A Thanksgiving Day Tradition: Where the Turkey Just Has to Wait!

For my family, racing has become a part of our Thanksgiving Day tradition. In particular, we run the Flying Feather Four Miler race. This race is so much fun and a great way to spend Thanksgiving morning.
I started running this race two years ago with my Original Running Buddy (Chrissy) and my mom:
Chrissy, Me, Mr. Turkey and Mom before the Flying Feather 2009.
Me and Mom before the race in 2009.
And last year, it was a regular Lucky 13 affair:
The Lucky 13’s after the Flying Feather in 2010.
Organized by M3S Sports, the Flying Feather course tours the Glacier Ridge Metro Park in Dublin, Ohio and is serenely beautiful. I love to run there with the winding trails, rolling hills and peaceful scenery. I usually get a good glimpse of Ohio wildlife in the fall – birds and small critters like squirrels and groundhogs. Runner’s World names Flying Feather as one of the Top 6 Thanksgiving Day races in the country and nothing I have found compares to the awesome race-day swag! All participants get a long sleeve Technical running shirt; hat and gloves; a Finisher’s Medal to show off at the table later; food and beverages at the finish line and – the real favorite – a bottle of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages wine for your Thanksgiving Table (or cookies for those under 21).
Yes, friends. An entire bottle of wine for each participant:   
Mom, Mollie and Me with the Coveted Bottle of Wine in 2010.
The Flying Feather has made Thanksgiving Day one of my favorite holidays (just second to the Fourth of July when I got engaged to my husband, Michael), and I have beautiful memories of the last two years. It is strange to me that even though I have only participated in this race for two years, is is prevalent in my mind as the only way to spend Thanksgiving.
Even Mom put the Turkey Day preparations on hold for a couple of hours to cross the Finish Line:
My Mom loved this race as much as I do.

In fact, I was recently interviewed by Amy Saunders with The Columbus Dispatch about what this race has become to me and my family. You can find the complete article by Saunders HERE and below is what I had to say:

Mollie and I will run the Flying Feather again this year, along with our friends of the Lucky 13’s. I know it will be bittersweet for me because Mom won’t be there, and I know how badly she would have wanted to be. In fact, all of Thanksgiving won’t be the same without her. I know she is running with me and Mollie, in our hearts, but I will miss her smiling face, her cheering us on, and not to mention her turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. It will be a different Thanksgiving for our family, and I hope we can still make Mom proud by carrying on the one tradition she became so much a part of – racing on Thanksgiving Day.
As always, my Dad will be there to cheer us on and this year, he is volunteering at the event along with my Aunt Beth, who has never been to one of our races. It is definitely the start of something wonderful, I know, and Mom will be smiling to see us all there.
And, in the spirit of true family tradition, even Beth is putting the turkey day cooking on hold to spend a little time at the races. Mom wouldn’t have it any other way.
Until the next mile marker,