Sunday, February 23, 2014

Salomon S Lab Skin Lab Hydro 5 Race Vest

I've been looking for an ultra race vest for the last couple of weeks.
My search narrowed to three, the AK vest by Ultimate Direction, the
Inov-8 Race Ultra vest and the Salomon Advanced Skin Lab Hydro 5 Set.

Looking online at the various options I had settled on the AK vest as
it seemed to be the best mix of function and at a good price. I
discounted the Inov-8 one when I checked it out in the local Up and
Running store as it didn't have as many pockets for storage that I
wanted. The Salomon whilst I was sure it would be great was
considerably more expensive.

I checked for the AK vest but could not find one online in my size
anywhere. As I needed the vest sooner so I could try it out before
race day I opted for the Salomon vest choosing the 5ltr size (as
opposed to the 12ltr model).

First impressions are that it's stunning! The weight, design and fit
are perfect. With a chest strap fastening that holds the vest in solid
position there is no bounce. The soft flask bottles (half a litre
each) slot into the shoulder straps and on the front of the pack. They
are odd and feel like, I imagine, breast implants. They work
brilliantly though and as they empty weigh nothing which is an
advantage over the plastic bottles that the other vests use. I did
make a mistake when taking the bottle out of the vest by grabbing it
by the bite valve which caused it to spurt up into my face!

The vest has a number of pockets for gels that are easily accessible
on the move. They fit in the straps above the bottles and of the sides
of the vest. There are then two zip pockets, one on each side, easily
big enough for an iPhone, I used the second one for some cash and my
bank card.

In the back there are stowage pockets big enough for jackets and other
items. I found them a little tricky to use with gloves on but they
were secure.

The vest is really comfortable but it did start to pull on my back a
bit I think that was the weight of the bottles on the front which I'm
not used to. It's a snug fit, it doesn't bounce. The chest straps hold
it in place without being too tight or constructive. The pockets are
easily reached with the rear ones taking a bit more practice to reach
on the move.

This is a quality product, as you'd expect from Salomon. It's pricey
and certainly more expensive than the competition but you can see it
in the design and build. The only aspect preventing me from really
going overboard about this vest is the cost. If it were closer to the
£80 mark I'd say it was perfect.

Confidence is high....

My confidence is high right now. My training for the Born to Run ultra took a bit of a hit through January as I struggled with IT Band and piriformis for is issues. With those firmly behind me the plan resumed and I am now back on track.

This weekend was to be a big weekend. My longest run to date and highest mileage week. The long run was to be 28 miles.

28 miles.

I did it in 3hrs 53 minutes. That's around 8:13 per mile. Best of all my avg. heart rate was 133 bpm. In short there's more in the tank. I did struggle over the last few miles as my pace shows, I dropped from sub 7:30 pace to around 8 with then some much slower efforts I there too. That was deliberate as I needed some walking breaks. A strategy that I will need come race day.

The run felt consistent, I started stronger than I finished and I missed negative splitting the marathon by a minute or two. I started out listening to the Rich Roll podcast, the Adam Scully Power interview. Really motivating and perfect for the run. Until he broke down and as I run I found myself crying too. I hadn't bargained on that. That was followed by the episode with Dr Frank Lipman. I managed to get through that one without crying!

My mojo was flagging by this point and so I switched to music and my spotify running playlist. That invigorated my running somewhat and I started to pick it up again. I would continue with this for the
remainder of the run.

Kit List
I wore from foot to head the following....
>> Hoka One One Stinson Tarmac shoes
>> Inov8 socks
>> Century riding cream
>> Skins half tights compression shorts
>> Brooks shorts
>> Nike fleece high necked base layer
>> North Face gloves
>> Haglofs gilet
>> Asics running beanie
>> Salomon Advanced Skin Lab Hydro 5 Set

>> (

Around half way the weather really improved and became quite warm, I removed the hat and gloves stashing them in my pack. A further 5 miles or so in and I needed to remove the gilet, stashing that in my pack as it was relatively speaking very warm. I could have managed with a T-shirt at this point but was not prepared enough.

Recovery was very good too. I was buzzing when I got home, felt great. I had a for goodness shakes recovery drink. While I drank that I ran a shallow cold bath intending to plunge in to help recovery. I put one
foot in and could not bear it. The pain was too much. I tried to stay in there thinking that it might get easier, it didn't. I ditched that idea opting for a hot shower instead!

Lunch was then a mushroom tortellini with a massive spinach, tomato and avocado salad. After lunch I started to feel very tired. I went up to lie on my bed and watch tv for a bit. That proved enough, my
compression tights were doing their job and with 30 minutes rest I was back on my feet and walking the dog.

Recovery then a further 24hours on is complete. I ran again this morning a gentle 4.3 miles at just over 8 minute mile pace. I could have gone further and faster but it wasn't necessary. My legs bore no residual after effects from Saturdays exertions.

The structure that I have had with my training has been proven to work
A steady increase in mileage for both long runs and weekly totals all done at a steady and not too excitable pace.
My 80% plant based/whole foods diet is also a massive contributor to this. I genuinely believe that recovery is massively and positively impacted  by this. I'm not alone in that assertion as many ultra runners are plant based.

This week it starts again with another long effort next weekend. Then it's into taper time towards the big day. Right now I'm very confident that I'll complete the ultra, that's the first requirement.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hoka One One

I was given a pair of Hoka Stinson Tarmac for Christmas. That's what
happens if they're on your wish list ;)