Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nathan Quickdraw Elite Review and Giveaway!

Remember this guy??  Ah yes... cartoons from the good old days..    Wow, actually got distracted BEFORE I started a review post, versus halfway through it! 

Nathan Performance Gear

Ok.. back on track.  I have a number of reviews (many with giveaways) backlogged, so going to play some catch up over the next week or two.  By popular demand, today's review is of a great handheld hydration bottle from Nathan Performance Gear..  stay tuned after the review for a chance to win one for yourself! 

Why a handheld, versus a hydration pack or waist pack?  Really it is a matter of personal choice, and finding out what works.  When I first started running, I didn't carry anything at first because I just wasn't going that far! Then I shifted to using a waist pack from REI with one bottle, and room for a few items.  I still use that on longer runs, but needed to find a way to carry more liquid, so I picked up a Quickdraw Elite from Nathan pictured above.  I am also trying out running with a vest hydration system, but have only used it once so far, so I don't have any real feedback or impression of using that.  Before I get into the review, I do want to recommend a great article about the benefits of a handheld from an awesome runner/blogger Vanessa Runs.. check out her article here. 

Ok.. here is a bad picture of the Quickdraw taken at 4am before heading out for a run..  Besides a 22 oz bottle, this handheld has a zippered pouch that can hold a cell phone, plus car keys... and a stretchy outer pocket that can easily hold two gels.  You could probably pack more in there, but these items can be carried comfortably, and generally that's all I need. Also, there is a permanently attached ID tag that slides up and down from behind the pouch where you can write in emergency contact info etc. 

As far as the hand strap goes, it is very comfortable, and relatively easy to adjust.  You could wear it as above with your thumb through the hole, or with your thumb out as below.  I've found that wearing as above works best for me.  I can totally relax my hand and I don't lose any kind of grip of the bottle and it doesn't bounce around. 

I also use this handheld in any races I run in.  Sure, there are aid stations along the way where you can hydrate, but I'm more of one to sip intermittently while running, so I like to have it ready and available.  During my half marathon, I just refilled it at an aid station halfway through.  The spout pops up easily with a bite to the soft rubber valve, and seats back down easily too.  I've yet to have any leakage issues with it either. Also, you could swap the bottle with another that you prefer, provided it is of similar dimensions. 

As far as the specs and product info, below is the data I "borrowed" from Nathan's site:

  • Unique, adjustable hand strap eliminates the need to grip the Bottle and offers alternative hand positions
  • 22 oz. (650 mL) Hydration Bottle with Clipless Cap
  • Highly weather-resistant pocket and zipper provide extra protection from the elements
  • Large, zippered pocket with external Power Stretch Mesh pocket fits smart phones
  • Rugged collar securely holds Bottle and prevents hand strap from loosening
  • Reflective detail
  • Weight: 4 oz.

So how much do I like this handheld?  Enough that I will probably buy a second one to have the option to run with one in each hand, plus a refill in my waist pack for longer runs, unless I decide that a hydration vest/pack will work for me instead.   So what do these run?  I got mine for about $24 online at  and you can also get it in a khaki color if you don't want black. 

BUT... for one lucky reader, I'll ship you off a new Quickdraw Elite (in black) to try out yourself! 

Follow the instructions on each option below to earn entries.  Contest will close on Monday, November 26th, at 10PM MST.  Winners will be selected at random from all entries using   Contest limited to residents of  the U.S. and Canada.  

Good luck and have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

GMO Labeling.. why did Prop 37 fail?

First of all, sorry for not posting in a while.... life has been a bit hectic, and of course the whole work thing can cramp your style sometimes...

Anyway, I really wanted to just vent some frustration around the failure of Proposition 37 in California last week.   If you aren't familiar with it, it would require that any foods containing GMO's (genetically modified organisms) be labeled as such so that consumers are aware. Right now it is not a requirement in the U.S., BUT it is in 61 other countries.  Granted, this was for California only, but as with many other changes, I looked to California to lead the way.  To me, the argument to support this measure was simple.  People deserve the right to know what they are eating... plain and simple.
BUT..  to be fair, I wanted to see what the arguments could be to not support Prop 37:

1. Higher Grocery Bills: The claim is higher priced ingredients and other issues could raise bills by $400 per family per year. I don't disagree that it's not as cheap, but how much does poor health cost families and taxpayers each year? Avoiding GMO's means avoiding processed foods and focusing on healthier eating.. the result, better health.  I'll admit I didn't look a things this way until a few years ago, but now it seems painfully obvious... let food by your medicine, extend your life and save $ on healthcare.

2. New Shakedown Lawsuits: The claim is that this opens up lawyers to sue family farmers and grocers without proof.  My thought is, what isn't open to lawsuits these days? Seems there is an equal argument that if they don't label, growers will get sued later for NOT telling us GMO's were bad etc...  no offense to lawyers, but I think class action suits are always going to happen.

3. Special Interest Exemptions: Ok.. this is an interesting point. I haven't read the specific language, but it is noted that foods sold in stores would have to be labeled, but not in a restaurant.  Or that cows milk is exempt, but soy milk is not.  They claim they are catering to special interests.. ok fine, easy fix, make it apply to all of those currently exempted.  To me this is a backwards argument... and could easily updated in a new version by not exempting.  BUT... speaking of special no on 37 certainly supported the special interests of Monsanto and Dow etc.....

4. Conflicts with Science: Ok.. I don't care what kind of debate you are having, you can find scientific support for both sides of many arguments. I've read a few compelling reports that certain GMO's are bad, and a lot of info stating that they just don't know.  My point is that if it is not conclusive, then just tell me what foods have them and what don't and let me make my own decisions based on my own research. 61 other countries require this.. we should too.   Pretty simple..

So why did Monsanto et al invest huge dollars into convincing folks to vote no?  If GMO's are safe, and inexpensive (their arguments), then why wouldn't they want product packaging that says.. "NOW with more GMO's!!"   Who would love to grab some of that stuff?  If you are supportive of the level of modification happening to your food, then why would you care? Especially if you are saving money...

The bottom line is.. there are more and more folks waking up and smelling the (non-GMO) coffee! I'd really like to believe that those of us concerned about what we are eating, and the state of our chronically ill and overweight nation will be enough to get the movement towards whole, organic and local foods moving forward. It seems that most everyone I know is on board, and are working hard to make the transition away from the "western" diet that is killing us... but what percentage of the overall population are we?  And what will it take to get everyone to wake up?

Sorry... I'm getting worked up just writing this..   I've never been known to be a passionate or extroverted personality, but I feel pretty strongly about this.

So.. what can you do in the interim to avoid GMO's (if that is your choice)? Check out this Non-GMO Shopping guide by clicking here.   I got this link from my good friend Matt over at Peak Geek.  You should check out his blog, as he posts a lot of great mind bending stuff.

I think this video here summarizes the point behind Prop 37 extremely well...  take a look, and please leave me your thoughts here as a comment, or on my Facebook page...   thanks for listening to me rant!

 Happy trails..