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I get very thirsty while running. I want to take some water with me. On the other hand, I think that I shouldnt carry anything as it would slow me down (sounds ridiculous, doesnt it?). Is it important to have a water bottle or should I neglect my thirst at such occasion? How important is the water especially on longer rides?

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Water is the single most important ingredient and anyone should get enough of it. I mean everybody. People who engage in any kind of physical activity are at greater risk of dehydration and should pay special attention to that. That little extra weight you will be carrying with you will not slow you down. On the other hand, a small zip every 5 minutes or so can mean a difference of finishing at great time or not completing the race at all! My definite advice: always take the water bottle with you! You may consider some formulas designed for endurance activities.
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