#T1Determined Sponsors and Brand Relationships
We use the following products and services on our epic runs.
We actually use all of these products and share both positive and negative experiences.
Some companies provided gear or supplies. For others, I'm a brand ambassador and get discounts in exchange for product feedback and sharing use cases. Still others support T1D empowerment by spreading the message to their own followers.
Ultra Endurance footwear for ultra endurance running.
When it comes to super-long distance running, the littlest things matter. Like wearing out a pair of shoes on your average cross-state run (and I don't mean Rhode Island!).
After years of sore feet from running in racing flats that were at best suitable for marathons, I went in search of a lightweight, breathable running shoe with a decent cushion AND hard rubber lugs on the sole that would stand up to endless hours on chipseal, gravel, and dirt backroads.
For me, that's the Inov-8 Roadclaw 275. I found them so comfortable that I insisted on wearing the same pair of Roadclaws all 339 miles across Iowa during my solo run of Relay Iowa in 2018, and again during my Fastest Known Time run across Texas in March-April 2019. In the Spring of 2020, I'll be testing a graphene-soled version on my run across the U.S.
Disclosure: Inov-8 has provided me with footwear for my transcontinental run. That said, I was already wearing Roadclaws anyway, so it was kind of a no-brainer to keep wearing them.
Illuminated safety vests for all purposes
I stumbled upon LED Light Vest when looking for a high-brightness reflective and illuminated safety vest for my first 200-mile run (the CapitalToCoast Relay Solo run in Oct 2017). I wanted something that didn't feel like a heavy dental x-ray vest or unbreathable plastic shirt. It had to have enough battery power to last overnight on runs where I seldom got more than 90 minutes of sleep. It had to be so bright it was visible at dawn and dusk, not just the middle of the night. And when the lights were turned off or the battery ran out (which was very, very rare), it had to be visible from at least a mile away based just on the reflective elements.
I was so abusive of the actual headlamps that I went through (two Petzl NAO+es, two Coastals, and one Petzl Tikka) that they often gave out before the night was over. By that point, my LED Light Vest alone was bright enough to run by. I just switched it to always-on, non-blinking mode.
The vest is bright, strange, and noticeable enough at night to literally make dogs scream and jump into their owners' arms. This has happened. Keep it in mind next time the dog is not so friendly.
People say with this vest on, I look like a Jamaican cop by day, and by night, a predatory robot. I take that as a compliment.
Disclosure: LED Light Vest has provided products and product discounts and has helped promote the T1Determined Run Across Texas.
My Shelta Hats Raptor 2 desert running hat has a super breathable top, firm, wide forward brim, and super lightweight and large Kalahari flap, plus drawstring neck cinch that fastens invisibly to the rear brim when not used.
It has a larger, firmer brim and more breathable top than the Solumbra, a neck drawstring like my Outdoor Research (which had no brim to speak of--odd for a desert cap), and the Kalahari flap fastens over the drawstring, removing the need for velcro on the head lining, which plagued me with my Raidlight. So this replaces all 3 of those hats.I cannot overstate how excited I am. This is a true transconner cap, and I am delighted to be beta testing it for Shelta.
Disclosure: Shelta Hats provided T1Determined with a pre-market version of the Raptor 2 in exchange for product design feedback.
Picture yourself out in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert, 100 miles from the nearest laundromat, 7 days of desert running behind you on a 26-day run across Texas. Your one good desert running shirt is drenched, you're running out of clean shorts, and the only water you have is what's in your jerry cans and bottles. You desperately want to change into clean clothes. Because I know I am picturing that.
The Scrubba is a marvelous little compact, durable, sealable bag you fill with just a little water (thus low environmental impact), your dirty linens, a tiny bit of detergent from an easy-to-pack sample-size bottle, and then vent the excess air and knead it like a loaf of bread. Your hands become the agitators on a portable washing machine guaranteed to work every time. Because it's low water consumption, there's not much of a gray water issue to deal with.
Old School doesn't need batteries, and sometimes it's the best way to go!
If cleanliness is next to godliness... well, this is heavenly.
Disclosure: The Scrubba provided our team with products in exchange for sharing our experiences with them.
I've had my Orange Mud single- and double-barrel HydraQuivers ever since I started running ultras. Together with my Naked Running waistband, they carry everything I need to have on me for a crewed long-distance run: two 25-ounce water bottles, a change of eyeglasses for night and day running, a Garmin InReach personal emergency locator / tracking beacon, and my ID and sugar testing equipment. I experimented with other hydration packs from Osprey, Ultraspire, and Salomon, and I just didn't find in them what I loved about the HydraQuivers: an innovative fastening approach (the quiver has adjustable padded loops that fit around the arms under the shoulder), a perfectly balanced hydration load (shoulder-mounted, it feels weightless when fully loaded, as opposed to chest- or waist-mount, which drag your chest down and often bounce), bladderless design (hydration bladders can get hot and airless on your back), and decent storage room while maintaining a low-profile, thermally efficient footprint on my back that lets me bleed off body heat during summer runs.
Orange Mud's product designs are personally created by the CEO, Josh Sprague, who is himself an avid ultra runner. It's amazing what you can create when you're doing it for people who love the sport as much as you do.
Disclosure: As a member of the Orange Mud Dirt Unit (their brand ambassador program), I receive discounts on product purchases.
No shade? No problem.
In the fall of 2017, I became only 3rd person in the 8-year history of the race to complete a grueling SOLO run of 223-mile Capital to Coast Relay.
Perhaps the toughest parts were the 40 miles through San Patricio County, TX, home of endless windmill farms, cloudless skies, unrelenting sun and 100 degree heat. Despite every effort to keep cool when running, there were times when I just had to sit down and cool off. In situations like that, you make your own shade or you cook. I can't thank Renetto enough for keeping the sun off me and giving me a comfortable place to sit down in a land known for nothing but fire ants and melting asphalt.
Disclosure: Renetto provided our team with products and promotional codes for T1Determined followers on social media.
Hi-vis cycling jerseys & running shirts
I discovered See Me Wear during training for Ironman Texas. In a city like DFW, it's you vs traffic, even on "bike-safe" roads. When I ride, my bike is lit up like a Christmas tree, I follow traffic rules and ride where I'm supposed to. All that and STILL some crazy texting nutcase nearly hits you.
For this reason, my wife and I purchased SeeMe jerseys as soon as we learned of them. And I've been using my #SeeMeWear hi-vis running shirt since March 2018 for 40-mile training runs in preparation for a run across Texas in Spring 2019.
See that electrical tower behind me? I couldn't either, but it's there. And yet, you saw ME. Kind of hard to miss a 6-foot-tall bumblebee.
I put my #SeeMeWear shirts through back-to-back tests over the course of 3 days and 120 miles of running, and each time, it's the same comments from pedestrians, cyclists, and even motorists: "Wow... I could see you from a mile away."
It's not often that a product literally can save your life. Next to my Tandem t:slim x2 insulin pump, not much stands up to that standard besides my SeeMe Wear gear.
Disclosure: See Me Wear provided T1Determined with products for the runs across Iowa, Texas and the US.
I am a proud participant in the Dexcom Warriors program.
I found this CGM to be so accurate I used their product to calibrate their competitor's CGM.
As you may already know from my recent blog post, I gave up after 7 months trying to get my Medtronic 670g insulin pump and CGM (using "auto mode") to support me on my epic exploits, due to accuracy and reliability issues. In October of 2018, I cut over at my own expense to the Tandem t:slim x2 / Dexcom G6 combo.
What you may not know is that during my run across Iowa, I did not yet have my Tandem pump. When I was miles away from the support van and my hands were literally too dirty to risk a meter check, my Medtronic 670g started screaming that it wanted to be calibrated. I discovered at that point that my OLD Dexcom G4 was so accurate that I could use it to calibrate their competitor's CGM.
Dexcom even has an app that uses your phone's Bluetooth connection to receive sensor BG readings from the transmitter and shares them with designated others in the cloud -- for instance, my crew. If you know me at all, you know that I can never have too much safety, reliability, or accuracy in the equipment I use to ensure my health and safety.
Disclosure: I am a voluntary participant in the Dexcom Warriors program. I do not receive any form of consideration in exchange for participation.
I’m a proud member of the Tandem Diabetes Care family!
For my epic runs across Texas and the US, I needed an insulin pump that was super-reliable, integrated with the Dexcom G6, and could intelligently guide blood sugars to normal by pulling them out of nosedives well in advance of an actual low blood sugar episode. I also needed a pump/CGM combo that offered the ability to manually adjust dosing for exercise without relinquishing safety features.
Since switching to the Tandem t:slim x2, my A1C has dropped a full point. I've regained control over blood sugar management during exercise. That matters a lot to me as an advocate of the role safe physical activity in type 1 diabetes management.
Disclosure: T1Determined and Tandem Diabetes Care share a mission to provide people like me with the best tools available to more effectively manage living with type 1. We are using their logo with permission and do not receive any financial consideration from Tandem.
I am happy to represent nuun Hydration as a brand ambassador.
One serious issue with a lot of electrolyte drinks and powders is the inability to separate hydration from energy replenishment. As a type 1 diabetic, slamming down 30g of carbohydrates in service of getting a little potassium in your system can be overkill. Or it can be underkill. Sometimes when your blood sugar is dangerously low -- AND you're dehydrated, you need orange juice -- AND electrolytes.
The thing I like about nuun is that it's basically just the electrolyte part. It's got flavors, and it doesn't mess with whatever else you're drinking. One of the things I like to do when it's REALLY hot (Texas summers get like that) is to mix some of this in Country Time lemonade.
Disclosure: I am a participant in nuun's brand ambassador program and receive discounts on product purchases.
Like WD-40 but for feet.
When I ran my first 100-miler, my feet blistered at mile 49, and I ran 51 miles on what felt like bubble wrap filled with sulfuric acid. That was when I discovered anti-blister socks. When I ran my first 200+ mile run, my feet blistered at mile 180. That was an improvement.
When I ran 339 miles across Iowa, I used 2Toms Sport Shield. I made it to mile 300 before blistering, and then ONLY BETWEEN MY TOES.
Guess what was the ONE SPOT I didn't use Sport Shield?
Disclosure: 2Toms / Medi-Dyne has provided T1Determined with Sport Shield and other products for use on the Type 1 Diabetes Runs Across Texas and the US.
By day: SPF skin spread. By night: super-reflective "war paint."
Ever since being run off the road by a motorist during my first 100-mile run, I've been jumpy about safety and visibility. It's no coincidence that two of my other sponsors are LED Light Vest and See Me Wear.
When I ran my first 200+ miler, I logged an average of 65 miles a day for 4 days, much of it in the wee dark hours of the morning. One of the challenges was being visible enough on a lonely country road that if I headlamp ran low on battery, I'd still be visible by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle.
Clothing with a few reflective stripes just didn't cut it for me. I wanted to look like a radioactive skeleton and be noticed!
SAFETY SKIN is like what you'd get if you mixed an anti-chafe sports bar with sunscreen and bits of reflective metal dust. You barely notice it during the day, although because it contains zinc (like sunscreen), it helps keep the sun off your skin. However, unlike sunscreen, it's super reflective by night. I call it "war paint for night running" (check my legs in the photo).
When I turned 57 this past summer, this is what I requested for my birthday, and the ONLY thing I requested for my birthday.
Disclosure: SAFETY SKIN provides T1Determined with product samples to use during our run across Texas and the US.
Leave No Ones Behind.
#t1Determined is proud to be working with our non-profit partner Type One Run, a program of Beyond Type 1, to promote our shared message of support, self-efficacy, education, and empowerment to become and stay physically active despite the unique challenges of exercising with Type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 Run is a grass-roots organization with over 100 chapters in major US cities. If you're Type 1 and have made a commitment to becoming and staying physically active, you're One of us! Type 1 Run does not collect membership dues.
If you've felt trapped between a real fear of low blood sugars from exercise and the long-term diabetic complications of not exercising, you'll find a huge network of fellow Type 1s to lean on and trade tips with. We've been there. We're doing it. We're #t1dTribe.
Disclosure: Type 1 Run and T1Determined are working together to empower type 1s to lead physically active lives without fear.
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