Saturday, October 8, 2011

Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Mold

"What-up, the name's JACK ... and I pee on stuff!"

We take Jack for a 1-1/2 mile walk most days.  And of course, like every dog, he feels the need to "mark" every single plant, tree, fence post, etc. that we pass.  Last week, as we were waiting for Jack to "claim ownership" of a stop sign, we looked down and he was peeing on a full water bottle that had been placed on the ground by the sign.  As two endurance athletes, we naturally assumed that the bottle had been left by a runner for a mid-workout hydration stop ... and we were faced with a dilemma.  I mean our dog had just pee'd all over the bottle!!!  Should we remove the urine-stained bottle and leave the runner with no fluid at that stop, or just wipe it off as good as possible and "act like nothing had happened"?  We chose the latter.  Sorry mystery runner ... but your water might have tasted a little funny that day.  Our bad!

But this is why I use a Camelbak for almost every training run.  If I'm going 10 miles or more, which is probably 99.9% of my jaunts, I use the backpack.  I'm not sure I've found a better training tool since I started running.  It's just so great to have constant fluid with me for hydration on long runs.  Of course I look like an over-sized  Girl Scout on a camping outing as I trot along with my under-sized supply pouch!  But no one, or dog, can sabotage my drink ... right!
My fiend the Camelbak

However, probably the most inconvenient thing about the Camelbak is keeping it clean.  Since I use mine pretty much every day, it's usually not a huge issue. I just empty it after a run, rinse it out a little, and then refill it in the morning.  I'm sure that's not the most sanitary way to treat it, but I figure that the mouth-piece only touches my lips, and it doesn't really hurt to have day old residue of the previous day's fluid in the rubber bladder.  I almost always use just water anyway ... ALMOST always.

Yup ... that's mold! 
On long weekend runs, I sometimes fill the Camelbak with Gatorade, and then make sure I really rinse it out well after the run.  Day old Gatorade is pretty sticky and just leaves a mess.  But this past week, after the second of two long runs, I was pretty spent.  I returned from the run, took off the backpack, and hung it up in the garage until the next run ... still with a little Gatorade left in the bottom.

I didn't run the next day, taking an extra day off on Monday.  On Tuesday morning when I grabbed the Camelbak to fill it for the day ... this is what I found ... black dot after black dot ... MOLD!!!  It was everywhere.  I was able to fit my hand inside the opening and clean out the bladder, but there was quite a bit still around the seal.  The tube was the worst!  I tried a couple of different methods, but there just wasn't anything small enough to force down through to remove the mold from the walls of the tube.

After about 20 minutes of trying to clean this dumb thing ... I decided to just buy a new one.  It cost  me about $30 at Scheels, which is RIDICULOUSLY HIGH!!!  $30 for a friggin' plastic bottle with a straw??? But whacha gonna do!

I probably could have found it cheaper online, but that would have taken a few days and I didn't think I could live without it for 4 or 5 runs, so I just bit the bullet and paid retail for it.  But basically my $50 Camelbak just turned into an $80 running accessory!  Hmmm?

I'm usually pretty good about keeping things neat and orderly, but this was a real reminder to WASH OUT YOUR FRIGGIN' CAMELBAK!!!  Mold kills!  Simply being lazy had cost me a few extra bucks, which is really stupid.  I mean, was I really that tired after a run that I could take a few extra minutes and wash the dumb thing out!  Lesson learned I guess.

And about this point,  you're asking yourself, did he really need waste all those words on a moldy water bottle post?  Probably not. But it WAS running related. But more importantly, it gave me an excuse to use my BEST blog title ever ... country music fans get it!  Garth lives!  Have a great weekend!
... be great today


  1. I love my Camelbak, what a great invention! Jim, they do have a cleaning kit you can purchase that includes a long brush that will run through the hose.

  2. Love that song and today I agree with it.

  3. I'm a Camelbak user, too, on my long runs (HATE handheld bottles and not organized enough to risk dog pee and set bottles out along my course). So I consider this post a public service.

    I've actually wondered about the mold thing, which is why to date I've put only water in there. Glad to know about the cleaning kit...might be worth the investment.

  4. This works: It only comes with two cleaning packets, but you can use a mix of baking soda and lemon or denture tablets instead. :-)

  5. I have several cambelbaks and when I go to grab one for a run I usually just choose the one with the least mold at the time. Gross...but hey! I'm still here. It hasn't killed me...yet...

  6. I was laughing so hard at the end because I was thinking to myself, "Is this post going to go anywhere other than mold in the Camelbak?" Guess not! :) I find the hardest thing with my Camelbak is to get it to dry inside, because if I don't dry it, it gets really slimy. So nasty! I have to hang it upside down over the faucet in the kitchen, then everyone yells at me because they can't get any water. :)

  7. I bought the cleaning kit late one night. Worth every cent!! A friend suggested putting the whole thing in the freezer after a run and after rinsing it out. I haven't tried that yet, but next time I am too tired to clean it, it's going in the freezer.

    Jim - You have inspired me to do organized runs and set running related goals. I had a great run at the Jared Coons Pumpkin Run here in the KC Metro area today. It was my first really fast (for me) run - Thanks!!

  8. George Carlin would say that mold makes you stronger and that's why he swam in the Hudson River as a child with hypodermic needles.

  9. Hey Jim! Just wondering if you got your "Jim Rocks" magnet from Fargo?!?! Chris and I got ours and it made me think of you :)

  10. I have had a Camelbak but recently bought a Nathan hydration vest. Have you tried one? It is pure heaven. I adore it.

    (And your post title is AWESOME!)

  11. Never tried a camelbak but it sounds better than my stupid fuel belt.

  12. I love my hydration pack and use a locally manufactured one. More comfortable and not even a quarter of the price of a Camelbak. I have about 6 bladders from 1 liter up to 2.5 liters. I never put anything other than water in mine.


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