Don't blink. Just run.

Where training meets fandom. And everything in between.

Camelbak Octane LR Review

I mentioned before that I’d been researching packs to wear for the Tough Mudder I have in less than 3 weeks (OMG!!!). My trainer at Unleashed suggested the Camelbak XCT LR. When an Elite racer suggests something for you, you listen. Well, no matter how much I Googled around, I couldn’t find the XCT with the “LR” version. The LR stands for Lumbar Reservoir – basically instead of going up and down your spine, the water bladder stretches across your lower back, making you more stabilized through obstacles. This feature was probably the most important to me.

I ended up finding a pack at REI that I thought was like what he said – the Charge 10 LR. It was a smaller profile Camelbak and it had the LR. It was on clearance for $81 (from $110) so I grabbed it and brought it with me to my next class after that. He told me that it was bigger than the one he was talking about, plus it didn’t have drainage holes. I still couldn’t find the exact one he was looking for, but then I found the Octane LR. It was smaller and had drainage holes and was even cheaper than the other one at $49 – SCORE!! I sent him the link and he said it looked close enough so I jumped on it and returned the other one to REI.

I needed to do a longish run this weekend, so yesterday was the perfect opportunity. I planned on 5 miles and figured that would be a good first test. We had some rain in the forecast, so I also wanted to test out the dry bags I bought at REI. I got these for the race to keep my snacks/salt packets dry when submerged in any obstacles (which I know I will be). They were the smallest ones sold and, once wrapped up, fit perfectly in the side pockets of the Camelbak.


2 L dry bag


This pack is incredibly light and when empty you wouldn’t even notice it on your back. The bladder sits across the lower back and into the sides of the waist. There are pockets on each side for storing a phone or snacks. I ended up putting my phone in one of them and some Shot Bloks in the other side. There is room above the bladder to store other things as well, if needed.


The grey mesh-y looking areas on the side of the waist are the “drainage holes” he was talking about.


One of the arms has a small pocket you could put a couple of gummies in and the opposite arm has a safety whistle on it. They’re very comfortable when worn and didn’t cause any issues while running. Of course, I run in t-shirts at all times, so I’m not sure how you would fare if you wear a sleeveless shirt of any kind.


Little red thing on the arm is the safety whistle


The LR was easy to fill and insert into the pack. There is a hook on the top of it that slides in to a yellow rope to keep it steady, plus a small “pocket” at the bottom. One thing I did learn is that the way I had the tube should have actually been the opposite and that is something I will test out the next time. I had it come up and over my shoulder so it was facing down, but next time I will have it come up the arm band so it’s facing up and easier to use.


Lumbar Reservoir


One other feature, that I purchased separately for $6, was a valve cover. If I’m going to be submerged in who knows what and mud and gunk, I want my water valve clean. I think it was totally worth the extra few bucks.


Valve cover


Here you can see the way that I positioned the tube, over my shoulder (which I never noticed while running which was probably lucky). Next time, I will have it come up the arm with the valve facing up.



It’s so low profile, I hardly noticed it on my back, even with the bladder filled. The only issue I had was that it was VERY muggy out when I ran and around mid-70s so my back got pretty sweaty, but it’s not a deal breaker.


Will definitely be adjusting the position of that tube. I didn’t even realize it stuck out that much while I was running! LOL


After only one run so far, I’m definitely in love with this pack and will continue testing it out in the weeks leading up to the Mudder. I would definitely recommend it though!






Face The Music Friday #33

Fitness this week:

Saturday – BoldrDash

Sunday – Volunteered at water stop at Cox Marathon (lots of fun and can’t wait to volunteer again!)

Monday – 30 min run + 10 min challenge*

Tuesday – Mowed lawn/weedwhacked

Wednesday – 30 min run

Thursday – 1 hr Unleashed OCF class

Friday – Rest

To elaborate a bit on this 10 minute challenge I created for myself, I decided I wanted some record of some sort of my  progress. I picked 5 exercises, trying to incorporate most of my body, and aimed to do them for 2 minutes each (with about a minute of rest between). However many I do, I write them down and try to improve on those numbers. The exercises are: Lunges (alternating), push-ups (on knees for now), kettlebell swings, burpees and planks (forearm). For the planks, I just held as long as I could throughout the two minutes. My numbers were as follows for the first time:

Lunges – 42
Push-ups – 30
KB swings – 50 (w/ 4K kettlebell)
Burpees – 5
Planks – 2 x 28 seconds

Things I’ve learned from doing this – don’t do it after you just ran for half an hour. I was gassed from my run so my legs weren’t fresh and I had no lungs left in me. For future challenges, I plan on doing them either before any other exercise, or on their own day. I wanted to do them more than once this week, but it just wasn’t in the cards. Now that I know what I know about it, I can plan more accordingly. Then maybe I won’t have such a pitiful showing on the burpees! As a frame of reference, we did burpees in class last night – one minute, as many as we could do. I lost count, but I’m 99.9% sure I almost made 15, so I know I can do more.

The craziness is still going on at work of course, but I feel like I had a better handle on it this week. I got back into a groove with my eating and my workouts and am slowly trying to get back to where I was in terms of my willpower. We had a breakfast meeting at work one day this week and LITERALLY every person in the department asked me why I wasn’t having any bacon. Not anything else, just the bacon. They know how much I love bacon. Then there were a few days with sweet treats left over from other meetings and all week long I said no. I’m through indulging myself so much. I just can’t do it anymore. I love bacon. Just putting that out there again on how hard that was.



The weather over the next couple of days isn’t looking great, which is a bummer. The rest of our May weekends are booked solid so we were looking forward to getting some hiking in this weekend with temps supposed to reach the 70s. Today and tomorrow look packed solid with rain though, so we’ll see. Maybe some house stuff Saturday and then hiking Sunday if there’s no washout.

I also need to try to fit in a longish run with my new Camelbak to get used to wearing it for Tough Mudder. I ended up returning the one I got at REI after I showed it to my trainer at Unleashed and he recommended a smaller one. I found pretty close to the one he was talking about, plus it has drainage in the pockets so the water can run out. I also got a couple of small dry bags at REI to put my snacks, etc in so when I get submerged they’ll still be fine and I got a cover for the valve so that even if it gets coated with mud, the valve will remain clean for drinking. This pack has a lumbar reservoir which evenly distributes the water across your lower back instead of up and down your spine. It’s so light, I can’t wait to test it out!

I’m going old school with my song choice this week. I’ve been hearing it a lot lately and every time I hear it, it makes me think of Supernatural now. I liked the song before, but oh, the feels I get from it now!



I thought it would be a nice touch to throw in something from another of my fandoms, which apparently I don’t talk about very much. So much for a blog “theme”. Anyway, if you watch the show, and even if you don’t, enjoy the song!

Kansas – Carry On Wayward Son