Spring Energy fuel results

We successfully used Spring Energy gels and drink mix to finish our 2nd 50K in good shape nutrition and hydration wise.

We both had a plan based on the fuels we had, while similar wasn’t exact. At the high level nutrition consisted of primarily Long Haul and Canaberry with the occasional Hill Aide, Power Boost and McRaecovery. This was supplimented with a little candied ginger, a Skratch bar and granola bar for me, some Miur gels and Justin’s PB for Bunny.

I find I don’t care for the Hill Aide much, it’s not gag worthy but it’s also not something I’ll look forward to but the quicker energy and caffeine boost was appreciated. The other Spring energy flavors aren’t bad. They’re about on order of baby food in terms of enticing’ness. Just a little bland and short on flavor for an adult palette.

But over the course of the 50K the one gel every 30(ish) minutes and one bottle of water kept my energy levels stable and even keeled for the entire race. My aches and pains were the primary reason I was glad to see the race end, not hitting up against a wall of lack of energy.

They’re certainly not cheap, standing out as pricey amongst running nutrition but there are a number of coupons available that will knock up to 20% off the price bringing them more in line with other gels or at least less egregiously overpriced.

Altra Trail 2.0 Shorts (Mens)

Altra Trail 2.0 Shorts

In my seemingly till now never ending quest to find a pair of shorts to go really long in I’ve come across the Altra Trail 2.o Shorts.

I ordered them in the Extra Large (of course) size just on the off chance they would fit.  The official sizing is for a 37 to 41″ waist.   I’m happy to report they fit at the waist just fine for me at 6′-4″ and 240lbs.  YMMV of course.

#GingerRunner likes them and they made his top 5 shorts lists for 2018 and I’ve found over the last couple of years that we tend to have the same opinion on various pieces of gear that we have used in common.

Overall the fit is good, loose but not baggy. Which was a relief.  Although I did buy them from Running Warehouse which has a good return policy.   The waistband is slightly elasticized and there is a drawstring that ties on the outside in the front.  That means no knots, bows or strings inside your shorts to cause a potential chafe point.

The material is soft and on the light-medium weight side.

There are two slanted mesh pockets on the sides that are rectangular and about the size of an iphone 5-6.   They are stretchy so you could stuff a fair number of gels in them.   In the front left is a shallow horizontal pocket that’s big enough for a credit card, a key or two or something of that ilk.  But this pocket has no closer on it, no zip, velcro or overlapping flap.   Use it at your own peril.

In the back is a open sleeve that could be used to hold a light jacket or a pair of gloves or arms sleeves or something like that.  Under the sleeve is a zip pocket that holds a Pixel 2XL quite easily.

One minor thing I found is because the waistband is soft and only a little elastic after 5k my phone had pulled the shorts down a bit after the material had gotten soaked through with sweat.   This could be fixed by tying the drawstring tighter.  BUT… because it’s your typical string based drawstring this might cause a potential chafe line for you if you really load down the shorts with loot.

These trail shorts have a built in boxer liner which I like and the ends are hemmed just right for my quads to be tight enough but not too tight so that the liner doesn’t ride up.   Pretty important for someone like me.

I ran them for the first time today, just a 5k though.  But other than near the end that after sweating them through and them stretching a bit that they were getting pulled down by the weight of my phone they really just disappeared during the run.  And pending issues showing up on a long run these look like a very real candidate for being my 50 shorts.

I also have a pair of 2XU compression tights that I’ll be testing to see if they will work for me for long runs.   With the potential temps of the Dead Horse 50K we’re doing in November ranging from 30 to 50, dressing appropriately may be tough.   I have a feeling it’s going to be a cold start and being a bit underdressed so as to be comfortable for most of the run.   Still not sure if I’ll be doing shorts or tights for it, probably take both.

Altra Olympus 4.0’s

6.2 down, 293.8 to go.

[Follow up here]

Ran my Olympus 4.0 from Altra for the first time yesterday.  Just a short 10K on mostly single track dirt paths with a few moderate technical sections.

My prior trail shoes have been Leadville V3’s, Altra Lone Peak 2.5’s, Altra Lone Peak 3.0’s, Altra Lone Peak 3.5’s.   My current trail shoes are the Lone Peak 3.5’s that have distances up to a full marathon on them.

Sizing Note:  I wear anywhere from a 12.5 to a 14 in Altra shoes.  In Lone Peaks I’m a 14, Paradigms a 13, etc.

I initially ordered 14’s in these but they were just clown shoes so I swapped them for 13’s.  For trail shoes with descents the 13 is about right.   But in a 13 they’re noticeably longer than my size 13 Escalante 1.0’s when you put them next to each other.   One thing that is rather annoying about Altra’s is how flexible the ruler is they use to measure their shoes.  Because no one typically carries much above a 12.5 locally I almost always have to order shoes either though the local stores or online and just hope that a given model fits me in the size I ordered.  I’ve had to send back half the new to me Altra’s I’ve ordered because I guessed wrong on the sizing.

Initial impression was “Wow, soft and wow, I feel tall” after putting them on and walking on them.

Over the course of the 10K I was left with a fairly pleasantly neutral outlook on them.  While I didn’t walk away with a “OMG these are amazing.” I certainly didn’t walk away with a “These are going back.”

Honestly after the first couple of miles I kind of forgot about them and, again honestly, isn’t that a good thing?

By the end of the run they had loosened up a bit and if the run had been much longer, say a half+ I’d of likely stopped to tighten the laces but it wasn’t enough to be an issue.

Grip wise they handled everything, sand, dirt, mud, rock that I was on and I always felt like they were stuck to whatever the surface I was on.

The lugs I think are wide enough that they probably won’t cake up as badly as my Lone Peak’s do going through exceptionally thick clay type mud that we occasionally encounter, the type of material where you gain 2lbs, per shoe by the time you’ve gone 20 feet over it.

The laces, a bit of a pet peeve, weren’t too long nor too short.   I was able to double knot them without an issue and there wasn’t enough dangling to bother me.

The arch support was just about right for me, if you have flat feet these shoes may not be to your liking so try them before buying them or may sure you can take them back.

Overall, with only 10k on them, I think they’ll do to replace my 3.5’s when they wear out.   My current pair has about 150 miles on them and I have another pair LP 3.5’s NIB waiting their chance to come out and play but I’ll be rotating these Olympus 4’s in as well.

At this point barring any surprises in durability or fitment coming up I can see myself in a new (but broken in) pair of these for the at least half of Dead Horse 50K, if not the whole thing.   A race I was worried about as I still have 600 miles or so of training to do before them per our schedule and a pair and a half of Lone Peak 3.5’s isn’t going to get me there and leave enough to do 50K in.

Brooks Running Bras Stink

I have owned two Brooks running sports bras since I started running just under two years ago. I started with the Juno model two sizes ago, and now I am into the Rebound Racer. These two bras alone have hugged my girls and kept them nice and snug for all of my major races and long distance runs.  I also own and use a C9 (Champion Target Brand) and a SheFit, which I use for day to day running mostly, choosing the Brooks because they have softer materials and fit better as they are quality bra’s, but they are not without their issues.

Brooks Juno & Rebound Racer Pro’s & Con’s (The short version): If you want a bit more back story read below the bulleted lists for my personal experience in each of these areas.


  • Good soft materials – doesn’t really cause chaffing (with the exception noted below) during distances up to a Marathon.
  • Durable materials – has taken almost daily washings and been worn for over a year (Juno) and a half (Rebound) without showing visible signs of wear and tear (one major exception also noted below).
  • Snug fit – my girls don’t bounce and the front tacky strap adjustment helps synch them in nice and tighten on the fly.


  • Stinky Fabric – After about 3 months of summer wear, both models have a breakdown in the materials and begin to trap odors which are released while wet. NO it’s not just me, or my laundry routine.
  • Outdated Design – Sports bra’s should be easier to get on and off. Especially when one is wet with sweat! See below for my opinion on the matter.
  • Price – are you kidding me? I paid full retail marked up price for mine at local running stores, and if they were perfect I would happily pay that price. But come on, I get almost as good support and coverage from my Target bra and it never stinks!

All in all I would recommend these bra’s for fit and comfort for longish and short distance, mainly because I haven’t found anything else that I like better. But for the price I would like something I love and I don’t love these bra’s. I use them because I bought them and I like to get my monies worth. But given the issues I have had with them I am on the hunt for a better bra for my Ultra distances.

More In-depth experience:

To begin, as mentioned before in other posts, I am rather sensitive to the feel of the material against my skin, so it is EXTREMELY important to me that the materials be soft (to me). I don’t like rough seams or scratchy edges, or stiff materials. And as I am upping my distances chaffing is going to be a HUGE concern.  So to be noted, with the Juno I occasionally had a problem of chaffing just above my breast plate where the fabric sagged into my cleavage. It started happening during my first marathon and happened a few times after that. My guess is that my boobs shrank just enough to allow this to happen, or I simply hadn’t run far enough for it to happen before that time. Either way I don’t like the burning sensation it caused during my post marathon showers.  Since boob shrinkage is a real thing thanks to running, I had to move down a couple sizes and purchased the Rebound Racer, and I have not yet had this chaffing issue, instead I have had a different problem.

With my Rebound Racer the straps compress over my collar bones during long runs and have left bruising on both side after races. Of note this occurs primarily when I have to wear a my Nathan Vest. Now you could argue this is the vest’s fault and not the Rebound, but I wore my vest with my Juno during Little Rock and didn’t have this problem. The fact is that the strap material of the Rebound feels thicker and doesn’t seem to absorb/compress softly enough over my skin and bones to prevent this from happening. Not sure if this is the Bra’s fault but worth noting nonetheless as it is a BIG factor in why I won’t be using it for our 50k.

My next complaint with both of these Brooks Bras would be the design. I don’t know about you but I HATE, with a passion, pulling a nasty sweaty sports bra off over my head. Not to mention wrestling into one before my runs. While you have the options to unstrap the shoulders on these models, I tend not to because they are a PITA to re-thread through the eyelet due to the velcro.  I also HATE the old fashion hook and eyelet adjustments on the back. I find myself looking like a contortionist every time the hooks catch over the fabric and won’t find the eyelets!  I would seriously like to see an open front option, and a velcro back adjustment maybe like my SheFit; the key here would be for the fabric and materials would have to be just right as to not cause chaffing or pressure points, I haven’t found my SheFit to be perfect in this department hence why I still wear the Brooks.

But so far my number one complaint about these two bras is that that they stink. Literally. About 3 months of wear during the summer months and both bra’s developed a stink that is released after they get wet with sweat. A smell like dead rotting vegetation wafts up into my nostrils and is most unpleasant during my runs.

Now before you jump to the conclusion that I have poor hygiene or don’t know how to wash clothes let me explain. First I don’t and have never had this issue with any other bra or sports equipment for that matter.  My husband is also a runner and his stuff doesn’t stink.  I wash our running clothes immediately after use in a detergent (Nellies Natural Laundry Soda) which I used to wash my babies dirty cloth diapers and my Roller Derby pads, so I know it is NOT my laundry routine that is the problem.  Again it is only these bra models I have ever encountered this problem.

With the Juno when the problem occurred last summer I tried using Biokleen Bac-Out before washing, as it is an enzyme based odor remover, but that didn’t help. The only thing that has helped is Bleach, which seems to kill whatever bacteria is able to develop by the way the fabric traps in sweat.  I did a sniff test yesterday after I ran in my freshly washed Rebound and it seems to be the mesh fabric that traps the smell. It wasn’t the fabric that lays over my breasts, but the waffle woven dry fit fabric that surrounds the padding on the inside, which I thought was interesting.  So into the bleach it went. Problem solved.  I am sure Trex’s nostrils will thank me. He’s never said anything but I am sure he’s just being polite.

So my search continues. I guess one plus of moving into the ‘itty bitty’ category is that I don’t need quite the support as I did before, so I can move away from these thicker fabric models. Wish me luck in my endeavors to find a replacement for my first Ultra.


NOTE: I purchased all of the products mentioned in this article at retail price, from retail stores, for my own personal use. I have no affiliations with any retailers, company, or suppliers. This is strictly a user review of these products.

Scosche Rhythm 24

I’ve had problems with HR monitors of late.  I train by HR zone so having a semi accurate and reliable montior is kind of important to me.

I started with a Garmin HR Chest Strap, the basic one everyone probably starts with.  It was good until the strap wore out.  How it wears out is beyond me but about 4 months it started reading erratically.  I tried changing batteries to no avail and then found posts that indicate the straps should be considered consumable and the Polar straps lasted longer.

This was around month 5 of my running and right in time for Black Friday sales so I bought a Polar replacement strap for $10.   Worked great.  Until it didn’t work so great and it was time to buy another one.

Now at $10 to $20 a pop and 4-6 months of life that was a bit ridiculous so I bought a Scosche Rhythm+.

Well on me it didn’t work so good.  Lots of drop outs in signal and it would consistently read ridiculously high in the first 5 to 10 minutes.  Like 20 beats above my max HR when I was just warming up.   I went so far as to take it off once and it still kept on reading something at 180 beats a minute.

So I went back to the Garmin which was at least somewhat more reliable.

It was with interest that I read about the Scosche Rhythm 24 and the new updated sensors and the new algorithms and all that.

And I couldn’t not buy one as my current chest strap was once again failing.  So another $20 for a new strap or try something else.

I did a short 30 minute run today, last teaser run before our marathon in a couple of days.   The Scosche Rhythm 24 I’m happy say paired easily and quickly to my Fenix 5.   During the run the HR seemed to be most responsive and more ‘real time’ if that’s a thing.   And most importantly during the run at no point did I see any stupidity or silliness with the numbers.

After the run when I checked the data it was a beautiful chart.   A start at 50 beats a minute ramping up to 118 over the next quarter mile or so and then leveling out around 120 beats a minute for the remaining 3 miles with only minor variations which were attributable by changes in pacing.

There were zero drops in the data and no ridiculous ramps up to 180 and then dropping down to 120 in the space of 10 seconds. It was a smooth climb to my cruising HR and then steady as she goes Cap’n till the end of the run.

Now this was a single run of a fairly short distance but I have to say I’m pretty happy with it so far.

In full disclosure a LOT of the new features that aren’t just about HR aren’t avaialble to me because I don’t own a iPhone, I’m Android.  But I don’t really care about those features, they’ll be nice to haves once they do produce a android app (assuming they do, they never really released a working one for the Rhythm+, just one that would brick your Rhythm by not checking if the firmware needed updating before trying to push it).

So if the new features are important to you and you don’t own an iPhone this may not be the HR device for you.

But if you want what appears, knock wood, to be a good way to get accurate valid HR data, albeit at a price, then you may want to consider it.   If nothing else it’s more comfortable than a HR chest belt and there’s no strap to wear out.

Nathan Vaporkrar 12L – His and Her Thoughts

Bunny did a fair bit of research looking specifically for a hydration vest that would work topless or semi-topless in her case.   She tried several and for reasons she’ll go into in a bit she landed on the Nathan Vaporkrar.

I like my Ultimate Direction FKT but I really like my Salomon Advanced Skin 12.

I recently ran my UD in a tank and ended up with a chafe line on my chest after only 15.5 miles.  Granted it was about 20 degrees past sweaty here in Oklahoma in May but still.  The UD has some bounce on me which contributed to  the chafing result.

Note: wearing the UD with sleeved shirt of any length or even a sleevless shirt that’s not a tank top I’ve never had a problem with chafing.  It does bounce on me more than the others.

But… I do like trying new things so when I had a chance between a sale, a coupon and a gift card from work to get a Nathan Vaporkrar for next to no out of pocket I decided to give it a try.

So… What do I think about it?  I’ll concur with Bunny that the material is soft, softer than the other vests I have and use.   The XL fits me, #clydesdalerunner, if barely.   I have about 2″ of strap left in the chest straps, 0″ in the side straps.  So I realistically have about 1″ to spare since that 2″ of strap is divided between two because of the V shape of the chest straps.

The upper chest pockets are better than the Salomon and the UD.   They expand well and my Pixel 2XL will fit in one with a case on it no less.  Not that I could carry one there as it bounces on my collar bone but it does fit.

The lower pockets for the water and gels are not as good as the Salomon, not even close.  About the same as the UD.   The reason I say this is I have a harder than normal time fitting my UD soft flasks in them than I do with the others.  The UD has a toggle string on theirs so you can adjust the fit precisely.  The Salomon is just stretching.

The lower outer pocket is really where the Salomon shines compared.   On the Nathan there’s enough room to fit about 3 eGels (my preferred gel based fuel).   The UD is about the same.  The Salomon’s are kangaroo pouches that are huge compared to the other two and stretch like crazy.

The chest attachment methods though go strongly to the Nathan, then the UD and trailing in distant last the Salomon.   I do not care for the fiddly tiny ass little clips that Salomon chose.  I’ve had them come undone on me while running if you don’t have them pulled tight.   The V straps and the large buckle of the Nathan is a welcome thing at all times and especially when you’re tired.

The Nathan 12 has no side pouches but due to the strap they have they’d have to route the straps like the Ultimate Direction FKT does where it runs through the pockets.  I’m not a fan of the UD side pockets but they’re somewhat functional.

The Salomon’s side pockets are better than both with the vertical zippers and I can easily fit my Pixel in one for easy access and all the gels I normally carry on the other side.   On the Salomon I use the front kangaroo pockets for trash and paper towels primarily.  My nose runs like a broken water hose when it’s cold out.

As we move to the back I give the nod to the Nathan for storage slighly over the Salomon and UD with one major exception.  The Salomon’s kangaroo pouches are far more usable in a general fashion than the Nathan’s as they’re accessed from the top.     The Nathan’s though hold a bottle in a easy to access way.  I found putting a frozen water bottle in there a decent way to get some heat relief.  It lasts about an hour currently before it’s all melted and still cool enough to be enjoyable.

I like the the big pouch layout of the Nathan the best, I like their bladder hanger better for sure than the Salomon.

Bladder, they all support a bladder but the Nathan is the only one of the three that comes with one.  The Salomon comes with two half liter soft bottles, long skinny ones that I don’t like and gave away.  I prefer my long neck UD soft bottles.   The UD came with two 20oz hard bottles when I bought it and I like them but the old style nipples they have wear out far quicker than I liked.

So which one? With one exception, but it’s a important one, and cost being equal I’d say go with the Salomon, then the Nathan Vaporkrar and then the UD although 2nd and 3rd are a tough call.

That exception though is if you’re going to be doing long runs with these vests against your skin then go with the Nathan.

But if one of them is a significant savings over the others then that likely moves them up in the ranking a fair bit because when you get right down to it none of them are head and shoulders above the others although for me the Salomon is the winner when it comes to storage by a fair bit.

The ‘two cents of a women’… 

As Trex said, in the months before our first marathon I spent countless hours researching hydration options that would fit my needs/preferences. I am still searching.

After watching online video reviews, promotional videos, and reading tons of articles from the best of the best, I narrowed my search to 6 packs. These being:

  • Nathan VaporKrar* Racing Vests 4L & 12L
  • Salomon Advanced Skin  5Set Pack and 12Set Packs
  • Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 Set and 8 Set Packs

I borrowed a friends S-Lab Sens Ultra 8 set to wear on a run. I also wore Trex’s beloved Salomon & UD vests, which didn’t fit of course, but gave me an idea of storage and general ‘wearability’. I spent an entire afternoon at our local running store, Runners World, where I wore my sizes in all these vests and was able to test out stuffing these vests with gear, bottles, and nutrition.  In the end I bought the Krar 12L because,  as TRex has also found, it was wearable against my skin or over a tank top for the 95+ temperatures of our Oklahoma Springs and summers, and had enough storage for longer trail races.  The Salomons failed me miserably when I tried them on in my summer tank top. They both caused red marks in a few minutes where they rubbed on my shoulders and back. The material is just too rough. This was a huge disappointment as I really liked the storage options of these packs a bit over the Nathans. But I am all about comfort and slightly less about storage.

So why the Krar and not the “womens vest” designed by Stephanie Howe, the VaporHowe? Because I wanted a more subdued and gender neutral color and more important the sizing on the Krar (MM) I found fit a women with my curves better than the Howe. Sorry Stephanie, we just aren’t all built that narrow framed.

TRex pretty much covered all my likes and dislikes with these vests. After purchasing the Nathan I wore it for the first time, like a rookie, on our first Marathon, where it dumped cold rain on us. I have also worn it on our long trail races and runs in all temperatures (below freezing to sweltering heat), both with a bladder and without, usually with Trex’s reject Salomon skinny soft bottles, and I have not once had any chaffing or bouncing or annoying adjustment issues.  I personally carry an iPhone 7 (not the plus) and it fits in the lapel pockets without bouncing on my collar bone as it is considerably smaller than the dino-sized Pixel2 Trex carries. Just sayin.

But at the end of the day I have one major disappointment with this vest and most all of the other vests I researched. What’s that you ask?  I’ll tell you.

They are not designed to accommodate breasts. 

Now I am not sporting anything close to double letters in my size, but the simple fact is that regardless of how big/little mine are, I don’t like bottles over my boobs. They jut out from my chest and cause a visual distraction, as well as squish my girls even more than my sports bra’s do.

‘Just use a bladder or belt instead’ I am told. First I don’t need a bladder on shorter distances or supported races as it adds too much weight. I prefer a bottle to hold my electrolyte drink of choice and bottle for water sometimes combined with a bladder, plus room for my phone and gels. Most hydration belts still don’t fit all I carry on long races well.

When I wore the Salomons I put the bottles in the front kangaroo pouches and liked the location, but they bounced way too much since they weren’t designed for bottles.

Another problem is that vests not designed with the curves of breasts in mind, require tighter oddly angled strap adjustments which can cause pressure points. I have only found two vests on the market that sort of address my complaint, those being the UD Jenny Jurek Ultra Vesta, and the UltrAspire Astral Vest.  The Jenny, looked promising, but in the end I didn’t like body layer materials of Trex’s Scott Jurek UD, so I knew I wouldn’t want that one against my skin come this summer. Turns out I was right.  I do wear the Jurek hydration belt when I am not sporting my Nathan, but it lacks in storage, and bounces unless its tighten within an inch of its life. But the UD Jurek collection belt & vests do have some waterproof pockets, unlike the Nathan or Salomon, which is needed with all the water I am sweating in this heat!

And while I haven’t tried the UltraAspire which, like the Jenny, sort of solves the bottle placement problem, it looks kinda ridiculous and unnecessary how it curves the fabric around the breast. I know, given reviews and descriptions I’ve read, it won’t be as soft as the Nathan on my skin, and I also wanted a vest my DH could wear in the event he needed to, and frankly the UltraAspire would look simply ridiculous on a man. It also can’t compete in terms of storage for longer trail races.

So in the future, for my own edification, I will post my write-up/rant about what my ideal vest looks like. But for now I agree with TRex’s assessment of the Krar. And while it could use a curvy women’s touch, it’s soft and smooth like butter on my skin and that makes it a win.

High Desert Drop Bags

We have need of a drop bag so I did some looking.  Our initial needs, a 50K out and back in Moab, the Dead Horse, dictate something simpler.  We just need bags to hold our basic preferred fuels, spare things just in case an internet meme threatens, and the like.  Yes it’s early to worry about it, yes that’s how I roll.

I found High Desert Drop Bags mentioned somewhere and went to take a look and liked what I saw.  They’re simple and functional, always a win in my book.  I ordered some of the Dirt Bags as those seemed to be about the right size for us.  And I like that they’re a small company in the U.S. which I try to support whenever I can.

TL;DR – Good bag, good value, recommended.

The order was shipped very quickly in spite of a screw up on my part although U.S.P.S sent me the shipping email 2 days after the bags showed up.  *eye roll*

With anticipation I opened the box and got pretty much what was described and expected.  This is a good thing.

It’s a simple pattern, a basic overlapped U bag.  The zipper is set an inch or so down from the top and has a nice contrasting black flap to protect it and it’ll help it shed splashed liquids which might soak through the zipper quickly.

The bags are comprised of what feels and looks like about a 400D pack cloth. That means it should be pretty dang durable and get years of use.

Being pack cloth (my assumption) they’ll be water resistant to some degree but not water proof.  Even cloth with a DWR coating can only do so much to shed water and these don’t feel like they have that. Bottom line sub pack in ziptops or tupperware in the drop bag.

Of special note is the use of Dunlap zippers which is one of the last if not the last American company to manufacture zippers.  I admire that.

The stitching and binding is very well done, better than I can do on my old go to 1942 Singer, I tend to wander a bit in my lines.  Most seams appear to be single stitched unless there’s another stitch line under the binding.   For something that will get as infrequent use as these (unless you’re running an ultra every weekend)  it should be more than sufficient. And the stitching is protected inside the bag due to the design and also protected from inner wear through the use of binding.

There is a grey rubberized fabric ‘tag’ that runs along most of one side.  This is, per the company, to attach a strip of duct tape with your name and bib number on it for the race your own.  Then you can either clean the tape off with a solvent or just peel it off and use a new piece for the next race.   An interesting design for sure.

There’s a single grab handle on the right side made of half inch nylon strapping.

All in all I believe for what they’re designed for they’re a good value if you need the basics, shoes, change of clothing, fuels, blister kit, spare bottle, headlamp, batteries etc at a drop point.

There are a few things to for me to call out which does NOT take away from the value of the bags –

As mentioned there is no organization in the bag, it’s not that type of bag.  You’ll have to jumble things in or sub pack in other containers.

The grab strap could be slightly longer in my opinion but I have big hands so that’s a common complaint for me and I’d like to see a second one on the opposite side to make it easier to hang the bag up so it hangs horizontally.  Running and ultrarunning gear in particular isn’t made for my size. (6-4, 240#)  It’s a fact of life I have to deal with.

Although it would increase the build time and the cost I wouldn’t mind seeing a clear window on one side or the other for the purpose of ID or vanity/inspiration type things.  Like a 5×8 photo of a T-Rex… Rawr!!!

And that’s it, that’s the only nits I can pick with the bags and I would and will most certainly order more as I need them for myself or to gift to other folks.

OKC Memorial Half – Disappointing?

Today my Running Husband, Dear Husband, myself and another good friend of ours ran our second half marathon of the weekend. This makes my RH and my second time running the OKC Memorial Half Marathon, and I am of the opinion that if I never run this race again it will be too soon. Not because it is a bad race. In fact it is quite the opposite. It is extremely well supported both by cheering bystanders as well as aid, and is full of runners at all paces. You will never run alone doing this half/full marathon. But alas I am not a fan of the course as it winds up and down the City with only a few flat areas in the more boring sections of town which are always against the wind. I grew up in Tulsa and for some reason prefer our hills and neighborhoods to theirs. Just a personal thing, no offense to lovers of this race.

In terms of races I would totally recommend OKC, but I just simply don’t like it. The only reason I did it again this year was to earn my qualification into the Half Fanatics organization. So now that I have met the criteria I have no need, that I can presently think of, to run this race again. Things can always change but I have no plans in the foreseeable future to return to this race.

On the heels of yesterday’s disappointment, not PR-ing at the Tulsa Drillers Half,  I was hoping to redeem myself today, but alas it simply wasn’t in the cards. I am not however disappointed today, and I am at peace with knowing that I had it in me to blast my old PR out of the water yesterday. The thing about disappointment is that is can be fleeting with the right distractions or occupations to take your mind off of it or to give you a new perspective.

As for today’s performance, I just didn’t have enough juice to run the needed 10 minute mile average on this very hilly course, and luckily I knew this by about mile 2 so I didn’t burn myself out as it was hard enough to finish in 2:27. I was just too sore, dehydrated, and sleep deprived to run my best.  It was actually a bit of a relief to know quite early that I wasn’t going to PR, it took the pressure off and allowed me to enjoy what I could of the experience, although given how horribly sore I was during the race, it felt more like I was running the back half of the Little Rock marathon as we didn’t stroll leisurely and still finished with a respectable time and a PR for both of us for this particular race. Let’s just say my new time is just a tad better than last year’s when I was closer to 40lbs heavier.

After the race, on our way home, we stopped off in Edmond and enjoyed some rather tasty burgers at the Cow Calf-Hay. I would recommend it if you are looking for a decent burger in a down-home atmosphere. The décor is as you would expect and the service was great. All-in-all I am happy to have this whole back-to-back half marathon thing out of the way and in general I am good with my overall performance, and super proud of my team. A good ending to the weekend, one that I am not disappointed in after all.

Salomon Advanced Skin 12

So I’m currently using the Salomon Advanced Skin 12 as my primary running vest.   To give you background I own the Ultimate Direction Jurek FKT and the Cotopaxi Veloz Hydration Pack 6L along with experience with some non-runner specific hydration packs from Source and Camelbak.

The  SAS12 is my current preference, strong preference, for any supported run longer than an hour or two.  The worksmanship in my particular model is good, (is it worth $175? that’s subjective) the feature set is good and the functionality is also good.

The fit is great for me although I’m at the edge of usability due to my #superclydesdale status.  I have a 45″ chest and I have to loosen the chest straps almost all the way.   I’m also 6″-4″ so verticallity is a little shy.

Honestly for me it needs to have about 2″ more width and height but I am pretty far outside the bell curve on both width and height for distance runners so I accept what I cannot change.

The kangaroo pockets in front and back are great, I wish my FKT had them.

The back pouch is okay, the FKT in my opinion has more storage options.

You know if I could get the webbing from the FKT and the kanagaroo pouches from the Salomon along with a bit more material I’d be far closer to having a perfect vest for me.

The chest pockets are decent, I’d prefer one of the ones on the left strap zipper closed or have a key ring hook.    The one of the right should be moved up about 2 inches.  Right now the pocket descends behind the water bottle and into the water bottle pouch.  Makes it a bit of a pain to fish something out that’s small if you have a full bottle in the pouch.

The material is very smooth and comfy and the fit is very good.   The first time I wore I took it out with 2 liter bladder and full bottles up front and the lack of felt bounce was wonderful.  With a similar set up with my FKT I do have to occasionally adjust things as it rides up a bit on me over time.

The side pockets work better for me than the FKT, my Pixel 2 XL fits vertically in it just fine and keeps it close at hand.

Capacity is good, you can stuff a surprising amount of stuff in the vest.