Apples and Oranges of running packs


“Running gear that works well and has thought put into it can really enhance the running experience.”

Today I review a running pack made for runners by runners – Orange Mud, yep thats the name of the company.

I have been running for almost 28-years and in the past few years when I started commuting on foot to work and doing more trail runs and ultras —started using backpacks and bags. I also learned quickly what I liked and what I did not (see my blog on running bags).

In a nutshell I like something that carries enough gear/stuff for the length of run I am doing and is snug and doesn’t take away from the run – it enhances it.

The pack I recently had the chance to try out and reviewing stands out like an orange amongst a pile of apples.


Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest pack 1

I liked this pack from the start. Feels like strapping on a running bra with a quiver filled with fuel – with lots of pockets. Put bottle (like the spout on bottle) and fill with whatever you like (I use Cytomax) and fill front, back and shoulder pouches with whatever you need (cell, gels, mp3, money, debit card, small map etc.), snug up the straps and good to go.

I don’t just take stuff out of gear and look over – I am a silly runner and love opportunity to find gear that augments my running experience. I test (on foot).

I took the vest out for a few road runs and then out for a few long trail runs. I jossled, ran slow, ran hard and on pavement and smooth and uneven trail.

The orange among apples (why it stands out)


-Food/accessory pockets on the shoulders for quick access.
-Front chest pockets for access to nutrition on the fly.
-Bottle based hydration for easy fill, easy clean-up.
-Medical grade mesh for maximum breathability.
-25oz BPA free bottle included.
-Glove like design for a comfy fit.
-Weight 8.7oz/230grams, with bottle 10.7oz/300 grams.
-Fit for minimum chest circumference is 27″. Max is 52″. Measured at or just below your armpits depending on body type.

Website says price is $119.

This pack stood out for me because it is different than anything I have used before, had plenty of storage and hardly moved creating a running experience where I almost forgot it was there.


This is a great running vest for runs that require only 1 water bottle of fuel (unless you can re-fuel along the way. If you just need the minimals and want something comfortable this is it. Its called a quiver because its like reaching back for an arrow from a quiver (like action of scratching your neck).


One of my trail runs where I took the Orange Mud vest along.

Loved how all pockets velco’d or snugged up to keep things from flying out and was easy to adjust straps. Easy to grab and replace bottle and pockets in front make grabbing gel, cell for a photo or

Have only one thing to pass along to Orange Mud folks – tiny request – to add some small elastic loops on front closure so you can keep loose strap ends from being annoying on run (you can just slide under vest etc).

Check out their website – there is a vest with 2 bottles and more – I am intrigued to check out more Orange Mud gear!

See you out there running friends – find your own adventure and never stop challenging yourself.

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Putting some fun into fueling


Running and training – even when we do it for fun can sometimes be tough. Put a little fun into the food side of fueling your body.

When I started running there were not that many running fuel options other than eating a normal healthy diet (which is always the best way). But back 25-years ago+ when i was starting to lace up there were glass bottles of orange Gatorade and those stick-to-your-teeth Canadian-made Powerbars (that turned to rock when cold).

Here are a few quick ways to have some fun!

Electrolyte Jello

  • Jello packet
  • Scoop of Cytomax powder
  • Water

Make jello as you would normally make but dissolve in sport drink and refrigerate. Then before or after have some fun re-fueling!


Electrolyte popsicles

  • Cytomax powder
  • Water
  • Popsicle or icecube tray
  • Popsicle sticks

Mix your sports drink, pour into trays and add sticks. Pop out after a hot run and enjoy.

Electrolyte slushies

Simply mix your Cytomax or MuscleMlk drink and pop in freezer – you will simply need to check on to see how long it takes to become slushy and not completely frozen ….then you have your time to wait for great runner’s slush!


Protein pancakes

  • Pre-mixed or ingredients for pancakes (I like easy version)
  • Water for premix version
  • Scoop Vanilla MuscleMlk protein powder
  • Berries or banana as you wish

Mix all together, not too much protein powder as will affect way pancakes cook. Add yogurt and syrup

Protein brownies

  • Brownie mix
  • MuscleMlk protein powder (Chocolate)

Same principle as pancakes – add protein to brownie mix and pop in oven. Fun protein filled chocolate mix!

Smoothie tips

Throw some protein powder or Cytomax powder into a smoothie and add as you like:

  • Banana (for potassium)
  • orange juice (vit C)
  • kiwi (vit c)
  • Frozen fruit and berries-frozen makes drink cold
  • Yogurt
  • Juice concentrate flavours for added taste*

*Have fun with this – some juice concentrates like lime, lemonade or even cranberry can make cold refreshing summer post runs drinks!

Run on friends!

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Fall Marathon Plans in Picton, Ontario

running pic

The fall always seems a time to run long for me. The summer heat has dissipated and the cool fall and colours of the trees seem to beckon to keep going.

I am back to running after the birth of my first child and at week 5 after she arrived (cute little monkey) I managed to squeeze in 130-kilometres. Training and the amount of sleep has changed and I am now running when time and baby permits ….but still planning to run a fall marathon.

Here is a little about my planned race, one of the folks behind it and my training plan.

The race I have chosen is the Picton marathon in Ontario (Canada). Its is a quiet, beautiful course that finishes in a quaint Ontario town. I have some unfinished business there (my second marathon (3:14)). I was ready for 2:40-2:45 after running an unplanned marathon in Nova Scotia (2:54) that had started as a training run – and went through the half on pace before the piano fell and I struggled the last 21.1km. Time to return and better that time.


My first Picton marathon in 2010.

Information about Picton, Ontario (website).

I decided to profile the race and talk to the people behind it.


The Picton Marathon

The marathon is in its 12th year started by the parents of parents of Kailey the current race coordinator I got hold of. She said that Race Director Mark Henry and her mother Lynne Ellis (a Board Chair) started things and both are long time runners. Kailey also gives thanks to Peter Pimm and Peter Donato who have supported Mark and Lynne.

The dream was to create a local marathon race that would be a Boston Marathon qualifier and would be flat and fast.

Kailey Ellis-Chapman

Kailey is a humble life-time runner who says she has been running since grade school. She says she has really been involved since the beginning because of her mom and always seemed to have a volunteer role if she wasn’t running. Kailey has run all the events available on race weekend, the Full, Half-marathon and the Team Challenge but last year was her first year taking on a new role.

“Last year was my first official year as Race Manager and Acting Coordinator – this continues to be my role and I am truly enjoying it! It works really well for me as I have two young children, a background in Project Management, and therefore am able to work from home and Coordinate this fantastic event!”

half marathon pic 1

I asked Kailey a few questions about her race.

What draws runners to race the Picton marathon? I would say it’s a number of things,; a few of the biggest being our relatively flat and fast course, how it falls in the ‘marathon schedule’, as it is a great half race for those training, as well, it is a great first time race (this draws in a lot of people), and finally the feel our runners get running through our picturesque County – from the beautiful lakeside views, the small town and village charm and the support from our greater community. However, our socks have also always been a favorite amongst our running crowd!”

What is a successful marathon for you?

“Number one: a safe race, in other words – a race with out any safety glitches (which we have never had, knock on wood). Number two: a race with few complaints (which every race receives, of course) but again, we receive far more notes of gratitude, excitement and pleasure than the alternative. Which is in part Number three: Happy Runners! :) Runners who feel like they have been truly respected, supported and really, have been able to show up, run and recover with out having to worry or put extra energy into anything else! Number four: happy volunteers – they are the fuel that keeps this race running, so it is very important for us as a Race Committee to ensure our volunteers (mostly returning) feel supported and important!”

“Finally, the comments, cheers and smiles of pure exhaustion and enjoyment at the finish line and weeks following our race truly are what keep us as a Committee striving for excellence and excited to carry on. This race is a huge provider to our local community (financially) and too, so it is equally gratifying to know we have positively contributed to our local community in this way while also supporting new growth and achievement I the greater running community.”

My Picton Relay plan and team

My plan for this October is to train as hard as a new dad can, with the time I have available and aim for 2:35 to 2:40 shape and see what happens. I will be heading to Picton with some friends who plan on running the relay. I challenged them to try and beat me…..and came up with our team logo.


Okay – thats enough about me! Come join me in Picton, send me your comments or stories or see you on the roads or in the blogosphere!

If you have questions for Kailey or just want information about the race:

Toll free: 1-866-4PECRUN


Until the next blog my running friends!

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Inspiring running dad


Dads can be wonderful things. As youngsters they are our entire world and shape who and what we become.

I became a dad for the first time in May and it seems appropriate to have another blog from me on a related topic. And this week its easier because someone wrote me and basically gave me the words for a great story! Thats a good thing too as I am functioning at 65% and on reduced sleep!

Wild Bill and Christy

Christy DeWeese is a 40 year-old US runner from Louisville, Kentucky who lives down the street from her dad who she calls ‘Wild Bill”. Christy did her first 5k back in 2006 and did it with her running dad. Then in 2007 we did the 5k and a 10k. Dad and daughter continued to get out for runs together but life got busy for both and races became fewer and the goal became more just to stay in shape. Both Christy and her dad start most of their runs from the end of her dad’s driveway and out along various loops they have created.

dad sign pic

Christy’s dad’s name is William Hoover (“Wild Bill”) and he is now 63 years old, an auto accessories specialist, seat repair specialist who owns his owns his own company….and he is a runner.

In 2014 Christy decided she needed a new challenge and wanted to finish the local Derby Festival Half-Marathon; a race her dad had run numerous times in the 80s. Her text oozes with admiration as she describes her dad. But she also wanted to finish with her dad.

Dad agreed and training got underway. The April race day arrived and despite a sore knee and feeling slow Christy ran her fist half-marathon; with her dad at her side. “I kept telling Dad that he should go ahead and finish, that I would be fine.  But he never even considered it – he stayed right with me and we finished together, with many tears – of happiness and of pain.”

finish line big sur

Despite the race being tough, Christy was hooked on the longer distance and A few weeks later asked her dad if he would train again with her again for another half. The two of them made a vacation out of it and shaved 20-minutes of their time at the Big Sur Half-Marathon in California finishing hand in hand.

Christy: “My dad would do anything for me and has coached me and encouraged me and just been there with me to see me accomplish such a large goal.  I love him dearly. I know that I never could have done it without my awesome Running Dad.  “Wild Bill” is the best Running Dad in the world!”

Life is short. Family is precious and its great when a passion and family can come together. Great story Christy – thanks for sharing!

Run on Wild Bill and Christy!

See you on the roads my running friends.


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If you are going to run hard might as well look cool and protect your eyes!


“Sometimes the mind is stronger than the body. Sometimes the right mind-set can greatly affect your training and your races.”

Your outlook, your confidence and how you handle stress etc. can affect how well you run. Hence cool running sunglasses can be more than just sunglasses. Running sunglasses that not only do the job but also make you look and feel cool and like a serious runner – can affect your run.

While in social media I kept seeing an Ottawa running friend with some nice running sunglasses and was intrigued enough to ask her about them. Sundogs she said (Sundog eyewear) – I went and got hold of them and asked them about their products. I was initially looking for prescription running sunglasses with second option being regular sunglasses with good optics.

Sundog Bolts with my running gear ready to go.

Sundog Bolts with my running gear ready to go.


A box arrived and in it were 3 glasses from Sundog eyewear. There were 2 running sunglasses and then a more sporty but casual pair (all with cloth bags and including a 1 protective case). The 2 running glasses were the Bolt and Mach and the casual one (with a cool green colour on the inside) was called Default.








Because I wear a prescription I need something (without prescription) that allows clear vision and because I hate anything jangling or moving on a run – a good fit and comfortable. Both running glasses (Bolt and Mach were very comfortable). The Mach felt like it had more coverage on the side and I liked the breath-ability and colour of the Bolt frame. Both running frames did not move and fit the wide bridge of my nose with their adjustable nose-piece. I took both glasses for road and trail runs and had on my face, pushed up on my sweaty bald head and liked performance.

Out for a run with Sundog Bolts.

Out for a run with Sundog Bolts.

Both running frames seemed of good quality though the small red piece on arm of mach did fall off when I first put on (I glued back on).

The casual default frame – although not something i might pick for myself – fit, felt (no adjustable nose piece) and worked well and my wife said it looked good.


All the glasses had what the company called TRUE BLUE lenses – which they say incorporate both melanin and ocular lens pigment, to provide ultimate eye protection and vision performance. Their site says the human body naturally produces melanin and ocular lens pigment; together these substances are nature’s way of defending the eye from invisible and visible light. The lenses worked for me (even without prescription) with no squinting and adjusted to light levels well.

For the price ($40-$70 range) these glasses are a good buy and I liked the optics and look. Sunndog has also said they are looking into frames that could work with prescription lenses.

*Be sure to follow and check out Sundog eyewear Ambassadors Leanne Richardson @RLeannne and elite Canadian runner Erin Burrett @Track_Star1500.

**Watch soon for profiles of some Sundog running elites!

See you out on the roads my running friends!



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More Running metrics you can strap on


“Never stop challenging yourself.”

Having knowledge about yourself allows you to evaluate and potentially adjust and improve your training.

I’m back from small break from the blogosphere due to the arrival of my first child two weeks ago. Loving my new little daughter but she has been eating into running and blog time!

More on me in a later blog update. Today it is about two running straps from Wahoo Fitness that can really add to the info you can get from your run.


Tickr RUN and Tickr X

A heart rate sensor, workout motion activity monitor and workout tracker.

If you have ever used a heart rate monitor and have a cell phone with ability to download the Wahoo Fitness app than you should check out these items. The Wahoo Tickr Run and Tickr X are heart rate straps (that can be used in conjunction with your current HR-monitoring running watch (Like Polar M400).

You lick the back of the heart rate strap, click together the strap and either grab your cell phone and app or (with Tickr X) just the strap, running shoes and shorts (shirt optional).


Tickr RUN

If you run with your cell phone the Tickr Run sends info to your Wahoo app you can download and gives you info on: running form in three dimensions, cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact, heart rate along with distance and time of your run. You can add this to the information you might also get if you are wearing a GPS/HR running watch.

Wahoo Fitness even sent me a cell-phone neoprene arm-sleeve that worked well after I got used to it for some runs (does need however a hole for you to insert earphones if you listen to music while running).


Tickr X

I asked to try Tickr X because I often do not run with a cell phone unless on a running commute to and from work and the phone is in the backpack. The Tickr X does not give all the same info but does not require you to carry a phone.

This strap has built-in memory which allows folks like me who prefer not to run with things in hand or strapped onto them – to get more workout information. Tickr X captures heart rate, calorie burn, and duration from your workouts and syncs them to your phone later.

Experience and thoughts

Being a running geek and always game to get more information from my workouts to improve I was excited to try Wahoo straps. The straps themselves were almost better than other HR straps I have used and snapped easily together in front. Small flashing lights indicated a signal had been attained. Cool. The Wahoo Fitness app (Android for me) was also easy to download. I entered my personal stats into the app and then found and synced the chest strap with the app. Done.

The app.

The app.

Out the door and running. The Tickr RUN I wore on my arm with my HTC Android and wasn’t too bad but hated having on arm at first but got used to. I did a few road runs and a trail run to test out and even put headphones on with some music one run. When back home I took a look at the readout from my workout. The Android app shows lots of graphs and you distance, duration and calories….the stats I really wanted however were hard to figure out from the graphs – would have like an average, a score or something to compare between workouts etc. Was a little disappointed. I did some googling and research and looks like there may be more details on iPhone or other versions or the Wahoo app.

Ok – on to the Tickr X….no arm band. Liked this idea and off I went. This one has neat addition of also being able to tap (the sensor) to start and stop but gives less information for runners but like Tickr RUN does show things like time spent in zones (Speed, Power, Aerobic and fat burn). There is also something called Burn and Burst which I still have to read up on. Once again like Tickr RUN I think my Android version of app limited info and readout details that would have been cool to see.


If you use a GPS/HR running watch and have an iPhone I think that either Tickr RUN or Tickr X could bring some fun additional information to your training. The straps and apps are relatively easy to use and you can be out the door using within 5-10 minutes.

I would love to have a better version of their Android app with more detailed info (average, scores etc.) and would love to find a way to download the workout information to a spreadsheet or another program to look at. It would also be amazing for runners like me if the Tickr RUN had built-in memory. For the price ($79.99 – $99.99) – a great buy if you are looking for a new tool to try and already use HR strap.

I intend to keep using these straps with my Polar M400 running watch and hope to keep playing with to see what insights I can get from it on how to improve my running.

Keep on running my friends!

*Two other reviews (1 and 2) I found of the Wahoo fitness straps you may find interesting.

Stay tuned for upcoming reviews of Orange mud running packs and Sundog eyewear.

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A slightly different running insole


“Feet are like the foundation of a house, when they are misaligned they can affect everything from the ground floor to the chimney.”

GEAR REVIEW: Arch Mobility insole

I was a running shoe geek working at a small running shop in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Aerobics First) many moons ago, made a go at a career in Pedorthics (foot evaluation and orthotics) and have been a runner for over 27-years now. I have some knowledge of feet, running shoes and thibnk I am fairly in tune with my body and feet.

I used to wear orthotics but now run without (after slow, gradual move to less and less support and less shoe).


An insole a wee bit different

The insoles that sell for around $40 are called Arch Mobility insoles and on first glance do not look a whole lot different than many others on the market. But they are.

Orthotics when made by a professional are supportive devices for short-term help or for long term problems and are made to fit your foot through a number of means (slipper casting, foam box, scanning…). But not everyone may need this type of custom help – someone who makes orthotics (Pedorthist) can still give you good advice, but all you may need is an over-the-counter solution.

I saw Arch Mobility one day on social media and wanted to find out what they were about. My feet have been okay, but there are occasional days when one or both feet feel like they could use some mild support (in my running shoes).

Arch Mobility – what they claim:

On their website – the company claims that most other brands of insoles concentrate solely on arch support, while they and their products focus on proper alignment. Arch Mobility insoles are supposed to help orient the ankle in a more neutral position — 32% more — decrease pronation 27% — and move the tibia (shin) into a neutral position — 40% more — than other leading shoe brands’ insoles. This neutrality of the ankle and tibia is said to provide the key to increasing performance and reducing pain and fatigue because the foot is better aligned with the entire body. Arch “Mobility insoles increase mobility while controlling pronation, promoting better posture and alignment within the kinetic chain, which results in overall well-being.”

My review, experience and recommendation

My feet are pretty tough. I slipped the insoles into my running shoes I walk around in as soon as they arrived. I walked around at work and outside – then I popped them into my running shoes.

And…..comfortable with no rubbing of the arch (like many other insoles do) and (for me) no real adjustment period.

The insoles are fairly soft but do have some stiffness with no arch area support like others but a raised lip around the inside (medial area). When running or walking I felt some support – whether placebo or real I liked the feel and felt better than insoles that came with shoes.

Although whether the insoles can provide support under the pounding (3Xtimes body weight with every foot-strike) that happens during running – I like them.

Recommend: For runners who do not need a custom orthotic, have tried other off the shelf options or find the arch support in most (non-custom) insoles either rubs or never fits properly – but feel they could use some support.

A less rigid feel that many hard plastic options, comfortable, mild support and something different.

*I intend to use the insoles in my running shoes.

Find the Arch Mobility website click here and find them on Twitter at  @AlignFootwear

See you on the roads my running friends!

Have a comment, product I should test or a great running story? Email me at:

More updates from me and reviews coming soon!

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