Update (Sep. ’13): It’s been a long time since I last updated this page, and it’s about time I revisited just what gear I use in my numerous triathlons and ultra-endurance events. Some things have changed – and some things haven’t changed since 2009!
In 2010 I bought a Desoto T1 two-piece wet suit since most of my triathlons were going to be in cold waters. Since then, I haven’t changed a thing about the suit, and it’s starting to show its wear. But, despite having numerous patches on seams, the suit has only one tear (which I repaired). It’s getting long in the tooth and has many hours and hours of swim time, but it still fits and it kept me warm and happy during the 2013 Vineman Full Triathlon. I’d definitely say I got my money’s worth.
At the end of 2009, I had signed up for the Vineman Full Triathlon but didn’t even own a bike. So, I started perusing bikes with the following criteria: It should be light, fast, a tri-bike (with aerobars), not need “upgrading” for an Ironman triathlon, and it had to include a fitting. Although Trek is very popular in California, after much reading of slowtwitch.com, I settled on the 2010 Cervelo P2 carbon Tri-bike.
In 2013, I’m still riding the same stock 2010 p2 Cervelo with only minor updates: I changed the brake pads, changed the tires to Continental Grand Prix 4000S, and added a Speedfil Aero water bottle. The bike is beginning to show a few dings, but we’ve been through a lot together, and despite some crashes and scratches, we’re still together.
Probably the biggest change from 2009 is in my equipment for the run. There was nothing wrong with what I started with in 2009, but as my running changed and advanced, so did my equipment.
In 2009, I started with the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11 stability shoes since I tended to overpronate. There is nothing wrong with this shoe, but after reading “Chi Running” and changing my stride from a heel-strike to a mid-foot strike style, I’m now running on Brooks PureCadence 2′s. I don’t think the upgrade from the Purecadence (original) to the
PC 2′s was an upgrade – I’m hoping the next generation brings back much of the original.
For trailrunning I wear the Brooks PureGrit (part of the “Pure Project” series of shoes). I would love to wear the Salomon series of shoes, but unfortunately they don’t make any shoes in a “B” width… And their women’s shoes only go up to a size 11 (I’m a size 12 in women’s, or 10.5 in mens).
In 2010 I purchased the Nathan Endurance Race Vest, based on the popular HPL-20 series. It carried me through many ultramarathons, including the prestigious Comrades Marathon in 2011 and 2012. However, the vest did have some drawbacks for me personally. For one, I’m terrible at keeping things clean, and after a period of time, the water pouch got slimy, and the nipple got gross. Sure, I could replace the water pouch, but I also learned that, during an ultramarathon, refilling this water takes a long, long time (you have to remove the pack from your back, unzip, open, fill, rezip, put the pack back on). Those minutes add up.
So, in 2013 I purchased a water pack from UltraAspire, a company started by an ultrarunner. They produce a lot of different packs, but the Kinetic was my favorite since it uses a water-bottle system. It should provide enough water for most races. When I start doing more hiking and/or stage races, I’ll be investing in the UltraAspire Fastpack.
I completed my first Ironman-length triathlon without anything more complicated than a Timex watch. Sure, it was one of those that had the word “Ironman” on it, but all it did was keep time and have a chrono. I had to do all the time-cutoff math and pacing calculations in my head. Afterward, I got this:
For my first triathlon watch, it was an amazing computer. In fact, to this day my wife uses this on her runs as we haven’t found any other device (even the new Timex RunTrainer 2.0) that does what this little device does so well. Also, when I upgraded to my current watch…
… my wife continues to use the original 310xt for all her workouts. My current watch, the Garmin 910xt, I purchased in mid-2012 and continues to be my current workhorse workout device. With it’s barometric altimeter and massive list of data it records and its numerous customization options, I don’t see me getting any new devices any time soon.
Ironically, I use the oldest Garmin HR strap that is ANT+ compatible. For durability, I’ve found nothing beats the old plastic strap and I’m quite used to wearing it. I’ve tried the new “premium” straps but have often had them fail miserably and be rather inaccurate in their HR recording… I’ve gone through 5 premium straps, and my original old plastic strap from 2010 is still going strong.
I believe if you eat the perfect diet, you don’t need vitamins.
I don’t eat the perfect diet: Far from it. As a pilot, there is little the is regular in my diet, and finding good nutritious food at airports is almost impossible. Consequently, I use 1st Endurance Multi-V for my vitamins. I also supplement that with fish/flax seed oil.
During a race, I prefer drinking water and consuming gels rather than drinking calories (although I will be doing an experiment with Carbo-Pro in the near future – it is apparently tasteless). When I first started, I used Gu Gels as it was what the San Francisco 1/2 Marathon offered. I consumed Gu for two years, but now I’ve moved on to two different gels/chews:
Accel Gel has a ratio of 4:1 on carbs to protein, which is not only the perfect recovery ratio, but is also great during the middle of a race. But, they are a bit expensive, and I do get bored, so when I’m not using Accel Gel, I’ll consume something from Honey Stinger:
My wife loves the waffles the best, and I like the Organic Chews. I’m still not a huge fan of the gels (although I wouldn’t turn one down if it was offered to me) but they are also quite tasty.
Although my gear doesn’t change all that often, I’m always on the lookout for something new, better, lighter, faster, and can cook a good meal. If you know of any, I’m willing to listen!