I guess I never really paid attention before, but during the recent Blue Line Trial Run that Vertical Runner hosted, I found myself analyzing all the water bottle choices people had brought with them. I saw folks with water bottles on their backs, on their hips, in vests, strapped to their hands, sucking from tubes. Some looked interesting. Some looked odd. Some looked downright uncomfortable. Clearly this isn't a one-size-fits-all situation.

As for me, I know I want a water bottle in my hand. I thought it would be a nuisance at first, but I was surprised at how much I like giving my hands something to do. I've even grown to like the rhythmic sloshing. But mostly I just like having the bottle ready so I can take sips frequently.

I've also decided I really want a water bottle that has a spray mister. I didn't even know this was a thing till I picked up one at Home Depot called the O2COOL Mist' n Sip. When I'm not drinking my water, I can spritz my face with it. Now I can't live without it. But I don't think this particular style was made with a runner in mind because it's big and kind of heavy when it's full. I'm looking for something similar, but slimmer or made of lighter material.

I see a lot of handheld water bottles are insulated. I always fill my bottle with ice, then top it off with water. But the heat of my hand melts the ice quickly and before long, I'm sipping warm stuff when I really prefer it cold. I also like those bottles that have straps so you barely have to grip it. So now I'm looking for a slim, lightweight handheld water bottle that is insulated, has a strap and includes a spray mister.

A lot of handheld choices also have pouches attached to the bottle so you can slip your cellphone and car keys in there and just grip the whole package. I have zippered pockets in my workout pants so I don't have to worry about that, but I could definitely use that pouch for a gel pack or powerball or whatever other energy bite I carry on longer runs. So I guess I'm really looking for a slim, lightweight handheld water bottle that is insulated, has a strap, includes a spray mister and has a pouch for energy bites. Since we're getting into Swiss Army Knife territory, how about throwing in a small screen TV on the back of my hand with satellite service.

Silliness aside, I notice that a lot of our Blue Line Beginners are not carrying water on their training runs, and I would encourage everyone to reconsider that, especially on days that your training lasts an hour or more. I won't repeat all the benefits of staying hydrated, but I know I feel so much better during a run if I'm sipping water along the way - even when it's cooler and I'm not sweating as much.

If you don't have a favorite water bottle, I found a couple of articles with suggestions.

Just last month, Running World offered seven favorite choices, so all of these are clearly still on the market: https://www.runnersworld.com/hydration-dehydration/best-water-bottles

Heavy.com also had an article this year suggesting 10 styles: http://heavy.com/tech/2017/04/top-best-handheld-water-bottles-for-running-nathan-camelbak

A lot of them are in the $20 range. Not a bad investment for something you might be using 2, 3 or 4 times a week.

Here's another tip: When you get home from your run/walk, empty your water bottle and take the lid off. Bacteria loves dark, moist places. Even if you don't thoroughly wash your bottle after every use (and I certainly don't) it a good idea to let it air out between proper cleanings.

-- Paula