Stuff We Love.....
We've decided to honor products, gear, or nutrition that helped us get through our most recent races. What one item made us faster, more efficient, helped us through our darkest moments, or allowed us to carry on when things looked dire? As told by each athlete, these things help us crush it. Regardless of whether the company sponsors our team or not- we love their stuff.
When I first started racing almost 18 years ago, there was a book that most of us read and lived by- Fixing Your Feet by John Vonhof. Expedition length races were won or lost by how your feet were able to survive for 6+ days. Duct tape, sock liners, moleskin and Compeed were part of everyone's foot care.
Personally, my little toes tuck underneath their neighbor, and get crushed after several hours of running, which led to many races of de-sheathed pinkie toes and plodding along with raw, sore sausages- often for days.
A few years ago, I tried Injinji toe socks. Yes, they look funny (and feel funny the first time you wear them), but they have made an incredible change in how my feet fare during expedition races and ultra running events. Each toe is separated from each other, keeping them from rubbing together. Each one is wrapped in a moisture wicking fabric- like a comfy blanket. There are no seams rubbing on the inside. My feet were wet for at least 50% of the race in Belize, but after 99 hours of racing, I finished without a blister. Happy feet.
The separation of your toes require shoes that have an ample toe box, so if you run with narrow shoes, test them before racing with them, and I don't wear them on the bike where my MTB shoes don't provide enough room up front (especially on day 3). For long runs or trekking sections however, I never leave home without them.
Having a reliable and bright light system was critical to being able to move well during the night sections. I was extremely grateful to be racing with Lupine lights through the long, dark sections of this race. The batteries are extremely light and the weight of them is hardly noticeable. As such, I am able to mount the light and the battery to my helmet without feeling uncomfortable.
When running them on full, the lights put out a whopping 1200 lumens making navigation so much easier without any stress to the eyes. Even on low light I could see very easily without any concerns. I'm all about the Lupine system for adventure racing. As it is so light to carry, I used the same light and strap system for trek, bike and paddle as the adjustable head mount could be quickly adapted to my bike helmet when needed. No carrying heavy batteries or running a long cord to a battery in the backpack.
Being waterproof and with the whole system mounted to my head, I had great lights for the cave swimming with no concerns the system would fail when wet. Lupine lights are worth the investment!