A few weeks before Kona, I met a guy through Twitter and after checking out his profile, I realized he was the mastermind behind Simple Hydration.

A few weeks prior to that, I’d been looking around at various water bottles, water bottle belts and handheld bottles because I was currently unhappy with my current setup.

I think it was back in CdA, June of this year, that I chucked my belt bottle system in the trash midway through the run.  The bottles were empty and the belt was annoying me.

Post CdA, I picked up a handheld bottle, one of the smaller versions, and that seemed to work ok except the bottle leaked and it tied up one of my hands.

While I was searching around for alternatives, I had seen the Simple Hydration bottle but the thought of shoving something into my shorts seemed unappealing because I don’t like things touching me.  So much so that I typically cut the tags out of my shirts, shorts or whatever in order to stop manage the insanity annoyance.

Now that you understand my craziness, you can understand why a bottle in my shorts might irritate me.

Fast forward to meeting Brian and after a few exchanges back and forth about important things typically discussed on Twitter, he offers to send me a bottle.  A few days later, I receive five bottles.  Five bottles!  With five bottles, I can do something useful like making bottle art.

This is really an attempt at trying to write off my very expensive paver patio but my accountants assure me that no matter how many objects I place on the patio, photograph and post on the Internet, I will not be allowed to write off the patio on my taxes.  The laws could change, I say!  And I will continue to use it as the backdrop as often as possible.

Anyway, where was I ?

Bottles.  Right.

After playing around with my collection of bottles, I decide to take one out for a test drive.  Without seeing if there was a right way or a wrong way to use the bottle, coupled with my desire to keep things symmetrical, I load up the bottle and I stick it in the back of my shorts in the center.  I begin to run, it sits well and I’m astonished that it hasn’t bothered me.  In fact, I practically forget about it.

I’m excited, I return from my run and I write Brian.  “Brian, I love the bottle!  Vince.”

Ok, in truth, that’s a summary.  I think in real life, I wrote a lengthy note about my run, I complained about the heat and amount of sweat I produced due to heat training for Kona and that despite my irritability, the bottle worked perfectly.

I liked the bottle so much, I considered using it for Kona but it was only one run and I wanted more tests.

A few more runs came and gone and the bottle continued to work perfectly.  I did move its position from the center of my back to the right side.  It was definitely messing with my need for keeping things symmetrical but the location provided easier access and the bottle doesn’t move even though it’s not nestled into the curve of my back.

When I arrived in Kona, I brought a bottle with me and I was still up in the air as to whether or not I wanted to use it.  The bottle worked well but my fear of change so close to the race caused me to question the decision.  Ultimately, I decided I would use my handheld and have the Simple Hydration bottle in my special foods bag.

The bottle was a lifesaver.  By the time I arrived at special foods, I really wanted the bottle.  In Kona, getting aid at the aid stations is crucial.  With one hand tied up with a handheld, it makes it a bit more challenging to get aid.  When I swapped bottles, I was able to take the Simple Hydration bottle and stuff it into my shorts allowing for two handed grabbing while rolling through the aid stations.

The downside for Brian with regards to my usage of the bottle in Kona is that it was stuffed into my shorts where no photographer could capture it.  Trust me, it was there and I was glad to have it.

After the race, I emailed Brian again – “Success in Kona!”

Summarizing, paraphrasing, etc., etc., but you get the point.

Since Kona, the handheld has been sidelined and the Simple Hydration bottle is the only bottle I’ve been using.  

On one of my post Kona runs, I used some older shorts which have a really low waist.  Think girly low.  There wasn’t enough short to hold the bottle in place so I ended up carrying it in my hand.  Due to the shape of the lip, it also carries well.  In some of my more recent runs, I find that I’m splitting the time between my hand and my shorts.

As I’m wrapping this up, I’m sitting in my hotel room in Tempe Arizona, kicking back and waiting for race day.  I have two Simple Hydration bottles with me – one for the start of the run and one for special foods.

Thanks Brian!

UPDATE:  I'm just getting around to posting this now and no supriise, the bottles were a huge success in AZ as well...

2012 Ironman Arizona Race Report