Saturday, 6 June 2015

The countdown is on, but the gear is still lacking... (help?)

It feels like I've only just recovered from the Fling and already I'm on the countdown to my next big race of the year - the Lakeland 50. So, in distance it sounds like it's much the same gig as the Fling, but the terrain and ascent/descent are a whole different ballgame.

Since the Fling I have been shifting my focus to hill training, and I have been loving it: my quads, not so much ha ha. Some more long runs, and more hills and I am sure I will be ready - the endurance is obviously not an issue as I have already covered the distance once this year already. My only concern is my kit.

The first issue is my pack.  I have the original Ultimate Direction SJ race vest (size small but despite having the smallest/lightest version of all the mandatory kit that I could find, I still couldn't fit it all in the pack.  I'm really disappointed as I love the vest.  It's light, it's comfy and it fits really well.Image result for Ultimate Direction SJ ULTRA Vest 1.0
So I am not sure what to do. Is the new UD SJ 2.0 vest going to be a better option?  Is it bigger inside?  Would the size medium be a better choice as the small is very snug on me (I have it on it's largest setting!) Or do I go for the UD PB Adventure vest which definitely has a larger capacity, but costs more money?
Image result for Ultimate Direction SJ ULTRA Vest 2.0                          Image result for Ultimate Direction pb ULTRA Vest 2.0

The other major issue I am having is with shoe choice. I wore my Hoka Stinson Trail shoes at the fling (men's version as I can't get any of the ladies ones in an 8.5 (my Hoka size, NOT my normal shoes size!).
Image result for hoka stinson trail

They worked great and their cushioning protected my legs well so I was able to run strongly in the second half.  They would be great on the Lakeland route for protecting my legs but the grip on them is really not suitable for that kind of rocky terrain, and when it is wet they have almost no grip at all.  I really wouldn't feel confident wearing them unless it was baking hot and the ground was parched from weeks of no wet weather (Unlikely in the Lakes).
Image result for salomon speedcross 3 womensThe other option I currently have are my Salomon Speedcross. Pretty comfy and with a lot more grip than the Hokas, but obviously lacking a lot of the Hoka cushioning.  I have worn them on long training runs but I do worry that with all the descending on the Lakeland route I am going to need something that is going to be a little kinder to me or else I will be in agony making that huge final descent into Coniston.

Is there a shoe that is something of a mix between these two out there?  Cushioned but grippy, for a neutral runner, generally midfoot striker, with a middling heel to toe drop (maybe 8mm but can do smaller), reasonably wide fitting (no addidas)?  Any ideas - message me on twitter, facebook, comment on here, email etc. Looking for some trail wisdom :-)