I decided to use the hydration pack right away. I put cold water in it, and went out and ran 8.77 miles in 1:16:09, an average of 8:40 min/mile. It was a minute faster than my goal pace for the 12 hour race, but for today's run, it was appropriate. After this weekend, I am going to have to start tapering, and lessen my workouts. Time is coming up, and all I can do now is to get my plan down and work hard to sleep well and make sure my body is absolutely ready for the race. I'm not sure whether or not I'm ready for the hydropack, but maybe in the future, if I want to run a long distance race with not as many water stops, I'll think about getting a better one to race in. As for this race, the likelihood that I'll wear it isn't too high, but I'll see how everything goes and plan accordingly. I think hydropacks are amazing for training because when training, I won't have a crew there for me, handing out drinks so that I could replenish myself. From this run, I know that the hydropack doesn't negatively affect me, or cause me to lose speed, but allows me to continuously add water into my system, so that I would be able to perform at my best.
As for this upcoming race, I'll have more than a hydropack supporting me. I'll have friends there that will cheer me on. Hydropacks are good because they'll help you out when you need a drink, but friends are even more important, because they will support you. Not only water and food, but words of encouragement. There are just some things that can't be replaced. During this race, I know I'm going to have a tough time. I also know that I could probably do it on my own without anyone there cheering me on... but the thing is, because there's other people cheering me on, I'm able to do better. Being with other people is an encouragement that will push me to do my best. A hydropack doesn't do that for me. Having the people that care about you at the race, supporting you during your breaks... that's what pushes me onward.