|Is that shirt COTTON?!|
One of my favorite running quotes came from LPTR Dave Dehart who once said, “Runners that dress like super-heroes always have more to say than I’m willing to listen to. ” Keep in mind Dave represented the United States in Taiwan for the World 100k Championships in 2003 – A year in which he ran a 7:43 in the 100k at Ed Fitz. He is probably the closet thing we have to an LPTR super-hero. You wouldn’t know it by his gear though - Dave has shirts older than some of the newer LPTR’s. He could also be one of the few people that have more running stuff from Farm and Fleet than any sports store. You don’t have to be old to be Old School…Dehart is Old-School.
This article is for the rest of us. The recent surge in the popularity of ultras has created record registrants for most races and booming markets for gear. I wish I was more like Dehart, but sadly I have plenty stuff and I am always ready to consider the latest, greatest thing. I will say that when I do find something that really works, I stick with it - (And tell everyone else in ear-shot).
Our LPTR group has followed the recent trajectory of ultra-running popularity as well. It seems like we have new faces nearly every week and there’s always lots of questions about how to train, fuel, hydrate and of course – What gear to get!?
So here’s my 2 cents on my favorite gear from the ground up.
Shoes: Altra Instinct
Six months ago my choice would have been Vasque Blurs, which had been my go-to shoe for over two years. But after three months off this late winter/early spring with chronic Achilles pain, I made the switch to a “Zero-Drop” shoe on the recommendation of our friends at Revolution Natural Running and Walking. The pain was gone almost immediately. The soreness I used to experience after long or up-tempo runs is gone as well. I must admit I was really skeptical and I still HATE the way they look… But, it’s hard to argue with results. The bottom line is they make my legs feel great and I can run without pain for the first time in awhile. They also have another (better looking) version called the Lone Pine that has been out of stock for a few months. Once those are in, I expect they will be my next favorites. Read their website to learn more about the benefits of a zero-drop shoe and about their unique approach to the design of women’s shoes on a gender specific last.
Socks: Cool Mesh Qtr
I don’t even bother to try out new socks - These things are the BEST. I have never gotten a blister with their thin double-layer design. Any friction occurs between the sock layers instead of on your skin. The only down-side is that they seem to wear out a little fast… But better the socks wear out then my feet!
Water-bottle: Nathan Quick Draw Elite
There are tons of hand-held bottles out there and you have to look close to see much difference. The Nathan Quick Draw Elite gets my vote for the way the strap fits to your hand. There is a Velcro closure at the bottom and a thumb-hole at the top. Once you slide your hand in and snug the fit with the Velcro closure, you no longer have to “hold” the bottle. You can fully extend your fingers and thumb without the bottle falling off. No hand fatigue from keeping a death-grip on your bottle for an extended period of time. Brilliant!
Hydration Pack: Camelbak, 2011 Octane LR
Okay… This one is cheating a bit. I don’t actually own this hydration pack… YET. I have been looking at the new offerings and this one looks very promising. I already own one Camelbak and its surprisingly comfortable, even with the 70oz. bladder full. The important new feature on the Octane is the location of the reservoir. Instead of a long bladder that is located down the center of your upper back, the Octane nestles the reservoir in the small of your back. The back-pack style lets your shoulders off-set the weight instead of having to cinch a waist-belt tight to carry the load. It does have a lumbar waist belt that acts a stabilizer and gives quick access to storage without removing the pack. If anyone has this, I would love to hear if it works well… I think I may be investing in one before Sawtooth…
Shorts: Brooks Infiniti Notch II
I picked these up a couple of months ago and now have 3 pair! The best feature is the integrated bicycle short style liner. Great breathability, moisture-wicking properties, and support without creating “personal chaffing” issues. Enough said…
Shirt: Wild wood Trail Short-sleeve Run Top, 3oz. - White
This shirt became my instant favorite last year when I was looking for a white shirt that was light, breathable and UV resistant for my pacing duties at Badwater. Turns out it doesn’t have to be hot to love wearing this shirt. The ultra light and thin material wicks sweat really fast with out getting heavy like the rest of my shirts. It has also held up well with lots of use and washes. Get this shirt… Actually, get two!!
Head Lamp: Fenix HP10
This was the easiest selection of the whole group – The Fenix HP10 has no equal. While the LPTR’s are likely tired of hearing me GUSH about how much I love this head-lamp, I did notice that most everyone from the group has been getting one. While it looks bulky, it actually fits quite comfortably and the variable light output lasts a long time on standard AA batteries. The highest setting is like car head-lights - BLINDING! The second highest setting is super bright and lasts 6-8 hours before beginning to dim. I invested in two sets of rechargeable batteries and won’t need to buy batteries for awhile.
Accessory: Shoe Dryer: Peet Boot Dryer
After any run where my shoes get muddy or wet, I drop them in the washing machine (Yes – you CAN wash your shoes in the machine! I use the gentle cycle and I don’t pre-rinse or anything). The downside is wet shoes… Unless you get a Peet Boot Dryer. Put your shoes on the dryer overnight and they are dry in the morning. If you have some real funk to exorcise, leave them on for an extra 12 hours or more after they are already dry. Something about the extended heat and air-movement seems to kill the stink-nasty fungus that grows in wet shoes. The life of my running shoes has been pro-longed extensively by getting the boot dryer. (Great for wet winter hats, gloves and mittens too!) Your family will thank you.
So that's it! All the gear you could need or want. Don't let Dehart guilt you out of getting some... Not everything can be bought at Tractor and Supply.
|Dehart rocking the all-season thermal |
underwear top from Farm and Fleet