Friday, 22 February 2013

Ultra Parenting

Taken from
As I sit here and type this, I have my beautiful baby girl Charlotte clamped onto my chest fast asleep (luckily the shear amount of hair there provides enough friction that she won't fall off). She is now a whole 8 days old, and is (without getting too mushy on you) absolutely perfect in every way. Thank goodness she gets most of her looks from her mother! 

Without getting into the gory details, the birth was a bit of an ultra in itself. Watching my wife go through 28 hours of labour kind of puts my piddly little races into perspective, that's for sure! Next time I start bitching about how tired I am at mile 80, I will look back on that experience and just man the f**k up. Actually, y'know what, scratch that; woman the f**k up!

And now here we are. I'm finally a father. It amazes me that they let any old idiot do this. Shouldn't there be like a test or something?! But having my baby girl is indeed the greatest thing that I have ever done with my life, narrowly beating finishing the Piece of String Fun Run last year (much to James Adams' disappointment). And now the fun begins!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Salomon Sense Mantra Review

Ah! Gotta love that new shoe smell! They won't stay looking that clean for long...
Salomon are the Apple of ultrarunning. Their stuff looks sexy, it's highly functional, everybody wants it, but my word is it expensive! Generally speaking my choice of running gear is primarily based on price, but I have found the Salomon S-Lab Skin hydration pack to be so amazing that I now own 3 despite the high price tag (a 5L, a 12L, and another 5L as I have burnt through the first one now with overuse). I have also used the Salomon Speedcross shoe since my first 100 miler in 2011, although these are actually very well priced (particularly if you look around online). So I have found myself accidentally becoming a bit of a Salomon fanboy without really meaning to. But when the kit works so well, what can you do? 

When the Salomon Sense came out last year, I wanted them. I wanted them bad! I'm pretty sure that they automatically make you run like Killian Jornet. Well I would hope so at least, given the 150 quid price tag! I've never really had a problem with my Speedcross and am of the opinion that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but the Sense appeared to be the Speedcross but with a lower heel-to-toe drop that would be more suitable for my more forefoot/midfoot running style. They looked like they would be worth a shot, but I just couldn't bring myself to break my bank account for them. Instead, I went for an even more minimalist (and much cheaper) shoe in the New Balance MT110

Jump forward to 2013, when Salomon released their updated versions of the Sense; the Sense Ultra and the Sense Mantra. The Sense Ultra is very similar to the original Sense (with a few minor tweaks), whilst the Sense Mantra is more of a gateway shoe with slightly more padding in the sole. "Lovely", I thought, "but still outside of my price range". But thanks to Craig Meredith at Fit2Function, I was able to get hold of a pair of Sense Mantras at the very reasonable price of £85. Well alright then, if you insist!