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Patrick

Gear Reviews

Review: Salomon S-LAB Sense Ultra Set

I purchased the Salomon S-LAB Sense Ultra Set hydration vest for my 50k. I had been training with handheld bottles but decided I wanted to keep my hands free durning the race.

When you first pick up the S-LAB Sense Ultra Set you will be surprised at how light it is. Salomon’s website says the vests weights 110g or 3.8 oz. Once you put the vest on you will notice that it fits like a shirt. It’s very form fitting while still adjustable using the 2 front straps. Unlike other packs I’ve used the Ultra Set is simple to adjust. It can take a bit of time running to get the pack adjusted correctly but these adjustments can be made while still moving. Overall, the vest is very comfortable and fits me really well. On one run I did have some chafing near my neck where the shoulder must have been rubbing. I haven’t had any chafing since then. I’ve worn the S-LAB Sense Ultra Set for over 200 miles. I continue to be impressed at how useful the simple lightweight pack is.

The back of the Ultra Set has one large pocket across the top and a lower kangaroo pocket. The top large pocket has a smaller battery pocket near the top of it. The large pocket and battery pocket can be difficult to access while the pack is on unless you’re really flexible. The lower kangaroo pocket sits about mid back making the pocket very easy to access with either hand while moving. At first I was uncomfortable putting anything in these pockets but I’ve never had anything bounce out while running even on technical trails.

Each side of the S-LAB Sense Ultra Set has a large zipper pocket made from a stretch fabric. These pocket are large enough to stuff a jacket with a little room to spare. Directly in front of the zipper pockets and below the bottle pockets are two good sized dump pockets. These dump pockets are made of the same stretch fabric as all the other pockets.

Dump pocket and side zipper stretch pocket.

The front of the pack contains two pockets for the 500ml (17 oz) soft flasks. On the right shoulder strap above the soft flask is a zipper pocket. This zipper pocket is perfect for a cell phone.  The vest has an open ended stretch pocket on the left shoulder strap. The only problem with this pocket is that it can be hard to get to the bottom of if the soft flask is in the vest so don’t put anything small in it.

Overall, the Salomon S-LAB Sense Ultra Set is an excellent pack. I think its one of the best packs I’ve ever used. When you considering the storage and weight of the pack the Ultra Set is nearly in a class of it’s own. But the pack is not without faults. My vest is a size M/L when adjusted for my chest it leaves about 5 inches of extra chest strap cord on both the top and bottom adjustment points. This extra bit of fabric flaps around a lot when I run and when I try to tuck in the extra it always comes out again. Not a major complaint but it gets annoying.

The Soft Flasks can be a pain to get back in the vest. On just a training run with your only filling the bottles once it’s not a big deal. If you’re racing and trying to get in and out of aid stations quickly the extra 30 seconds to a minute to jam the bottle really sucks. I find that the seems on the bottom of bottles catch on the stretch fabric of pockets. The bottles also sometimes hang up on the lower dump pockets. Still not a deal breaker but something to be aware of when creating a race plan.

How I load the S-LAB Sense Ultra Set depends on the runs terrain and length but for the most part this is how I load it for a 15 plus mile trail run:

  • Back top pocket: Small first aid kit, light survival supplies, extra calories, and sometimes extra soft flasks
  • Kangaroo pocket: Lightweight wind breaker
  • Right shoulder zipper pocket: Cell phone
  • Left shoulder pocket: empty or some toilet paper in a plastic bag.
  • Both 500ml soft flasks filled.
  • Side zipper stretch pockets: Gels or other calories
  • Dump pockets: Used for trash.

LIKES:

  • Lightweight
  • Lots of storage
  • No mobility restrictions
  • Comfortable

DISLIKES:

  • Sizing range is too big
  • Soft Flasks are hard to get back in the vest

QUALITY: 4/5
COMFORT: 5/5
PRICE: 3/5
LOOKS: 4/5

TOTAL: 16/20

Apparel Reviews

Review: Salomon S-LAB Hybrid Jacket

I was really excited to try the S-LAB Hybrid Jacket (just like the Salomon S-LAB Hybrid Pant which you can find review of here). The jacket is made out of the same materials as the pants. These fabrics make the jacket ultra lightweight. Salomon’s website says the jacket weighs in at 90g or 3.1 oz. As usual Salomon’s high quality and engineering can be seen in this jacket.

The S-LAB Hybrid Jacket gets its lightweight wind and rain resistances from the Pertex fabric Salomon selected. The pleats in the back of the jacket allow pace for arm and shoulder movement while wearing a small backpack or hydration vest under the Hybrid Jacket.

The cuffs of the jacket have a stretch fabric designed to allow the sleeves to stay where you want them. Whether that is at your wrists or midway up your forearm the elastic cuff band works really well. The S-LAB Hybrid Jacket also has a 3/4 zip in the front. The same elastic fabric on sleeve cuffs is also around the bottom of the jacket. This stretchiness allows you to keep the bottom of the jacket where you want it and creates a belt that allows you to stuff the jacket into. So if your getting a hot and want to take it off you can unzip it take your arms out of the sleeves and tuck the top part into the elastic belt.

I purchased a medium S-LAB Hybrid Jacket. The jacket fit great when on and zipped up but I felt like I was going to rip something in the jacket when I tried to unzip the jacket and get my arms out with it still on my waist. I might be a little broader in the shoulders than your average European that the Active Fit cut this jacket was designed for.

Skin Fit Hood

I really wanted to like the Salomon S-LAB Hybrid Jacket. Skin Fit Hood which has a lightweight stretchy band in the hood to keep the hood on your head in high winds works really well. The lasercut holes around the jacket give added ventilation where you need it. My major problem was feeling like I was going to rip the ultralight jacket while removing it from my shoulders when it was still around my waist and tucking it in the waist band. I felt like a large would be too big since when zipped up the medium fit really well. Because I couldn’t justify the $250 price tag when I couldn’t use one of the nice features of the jacket I ended up returning it.

Overall, have mostly positive things to say about the Salomon S-LAB Hybrid Jacket. It simply didn’t work for me. If you are interested in a lightweight wind and water resistant jacket with some excellent features give the S-LAB Hybrid Jacket a try. You can buy the jacket directly from Salomon here.

LIKES:

  • Lightweight
  • Wind and water resistant
  • No mobility restrictions
  • Breathable
  • Can wear over small backpack or hydration vest

DISLIKES:

  • Price
  • Hard to remove and stow around waist

QUALITY: 4/5
COMFORT: 5/5
PRICE: 2/5
LOOKS: 4/5

TOTAL: 15/20

Apparel Reviews

Review: Salomon S-LAB Hybrid Pant

I was really excited to try the Salomon S-LAB Hybrid Pant. As soon as you pick up the pants you will notice how extremely light they are. Salomon’s website says the pant weigh 80g or 2.8 oz. I was expecting Salomon’s high quality but I was blown away by the detail. When you take a look at the pants you can see all the engineering and experience that went into them.

The S-LAB Hybrid Pant is constructed of 3 different fabrics. Pertex a lightweight wind and rain resistant fabric, a stretchy fabric for better range of motion, and a mesh like fabric for breathability. I really like that Salomon added lower leg zippers that come up to nearly your knee. This allows you to get the pants on and off much easier than just a 1/4 zip. Salomon has also added lasercut holes on the back to vent out extra heat.

Even though I really like the S-LAB Hybrid Pant they do have some down falls. The $220 price tag is way to high for a pair of pants that isn’t fully waterproof and might not meet mandatory gear check requirements for some mountain ultra races. You do get what you pay for with these pants. They are the Ferrari of running pants. I look forward to features of these pants moving into lower price range products over the years.

The pants don’t have a stow pocket that allows you to stuff the pants into a compact pouch. Not having a stow pocket isn’t a big deal for a race when you wouldn’t want to take the time to pack the pants into the pocket. For just normal use if you want to put them in your backpack you have to either crumple them in a ball or fold them.

Overall, I did really like these pants but end up returning them because of the fit. Salomon calls the cut active fit. The medium in the S-LAB Hybrid Pant fits my 5′ 11” 165 lbs frame a little looser than a running tight but not quite as loose a normal pair of pants. I was looking for a pair of lightweight windproof pants that I could wear over shorts or tights when it’s cold and windy. The pants by themselves would fit great. I had some bunching with shorts under the pants when running that I didn’t like for the $220 price tag. A large might work better for my build but no local stores carry the S-LAB Hybrid Pant and I didn’t want to order another pair and have to return them again. If you want to try the pants for yourself you can purchase directly from Salomon here.

LIKES:

  • Lightweight
  • Wind and water resistant
  • Breathable
  • Long ankle zippers
  • No mobility restrictions

DISLIKES:

  • Price
  • Tight fit
  • No stow pocket

QUALITY: 4/5
COMFORT: 5/5
PRICE: 1/5
LOOKS: 4/5

TOTAL: 14/20

Reviews Shoes Trail

Review: Hoka One One Speedgoat

Hoka One One Speedgoat Image

The Hoka One One Speedgoat packs excellent grip and rugged durability into a lightweight trail shoe. I’ve put 120 miles on my Speedgoats (31 miles being Grand Ridge 50k report here). I’ve worn the shoes for road runs in the snow and in the ice. The shoes provided enough grip on normal ice but I started to slip a little on black ice. The shoes have preformed extremely well in the mud durning my trail runs. The Speedgoat’s make me wish I could get out to the trail everyday.

120 miles and the lugs show very little wear.

The shoe is built on an injected EVA midsole with 4mm Vibram® rubber lugs. The upper is a mesh that offers good breathability while still having padding for comfort in the right spots. The front has a ground-rubber toecap for toe protection. Like most Hoka One One shoes the Speedgoat has a reasonable 5mm drop (heel 33mm, forefoot 28mm). The fit of the shoe is very similar to the Hoka One One Clifton 2 (review here). All of the grip, cushion, and protection comes in at only 9.7 oz for a men’s size 9.

My only complaint is a very picky. The heel of the shoe extends out from the shoe. I’ve never tripped or stumbled because of the ledge. I can just for see the possibility that it could catch on a really technical trail if you’re not used to the shoe.

Overall, I’ve been very impressed with the Hoka One One Speedgoat. If you are looking for a light weight cushioned trail shoe give the Speedgoat a try. The Speedgoat doesn’t come in a wide version. If you found that other Hoka One One shoes are too narrow the Speedgoat might not be for you.

LIKES:

  • Durable
  • Seamless breathable upper
  • Cushion
  • Vibram® rubber grip
  • Low drop for the stack height (28/33 5mm)

DISLIKES:

  • Bit of a heel ledge could caught of technical terrain

QUALITY: 4/5
COMFORT: 5/5
PRICE: 4/5
LOOKS: 4/5

TOTAL: 17/20

Blog Races Runs

Grand Ridge Trail 50k

2016 was a year of milage building for me. To finish off this build up I ran my first ultra on Saturday November 19th. The race was the Grand Ridge Trail 50k. I came in 13th overall with a time of 6:21:32.

The Grand Ridge race was organized by Evergreen Trail Runs who did an excellent job with the event. In addition to the 50k distance there was also a 5 mile, half marathon, and marathon. The 31 mile course included just under 6,000 ft of elevation gain. Besides the physical demands of running 31 miles the looping course was also mentally demanding. The course starts and ends at the same spot and includes 13.1 mile out and backs and a 5 mile loop. This means you come back to the finish line a total of 3 times. When your already tired knowing you have to turn back around and do another loop was mentally draining.

I’m very proud and happy that I was able to finish. But I know I can do better. Maybe I started too fast (low 7 min pace until we turned to climb). But the biggest problem was following other runnings as they pressed the downhills harder than I was ready for. I think running the downhills that hard blew out my quads early. Making the last half really painful when descending. Even though I know I can do better I’m still very happy with my first ultra. I learned a lot and I’m looking forward to another ultra my future.

My Strava data for the race is here. You can find the official results here.

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews Road Shoes

Review: Hoka One One Clifton 2

The Hoka One One Clifton 2 update brings a padded tongue, updated upper with more welded overlays, and an additional upper eyelet for more lacing options. Overall it is a solid update. My only disappointment with the shoe is the extra weight. The padded tongue and overlays add almost an ounce of weight when compared to the Clifton.

The padded tongue is comfortable and opens the shoe to a wider audience. Personally I never had a problem with the minimal tongue and would prefer to save the weight on the shoe. That said, the extra weight is hardly noticeable and didn’t affect my enjoyment when running in the shoe. I remember loving the original Clifton on my first run. The Clifton 2 on the other hand felt like it needed a break in period. It took 20 or 30 miles to get them to the same point as the originals.

270 miles of wear on the Hoka One One Clifton 2.

270 miles of wear on the Hoka One One Clifton 2.

After the short break in I found the fit of the Clifton 2 to have the same comfortable feel I enjoyed in the original. It has the same narrowness in the toe box as the original. If you have wide feet this shoe still isn’t for you.

The outsole is the same as the Clifton so it wasn’t a surprise that I noticed the same early wear around mile 80 that I had on the original. The wear slowed and only progressed as the high abrasion rubber started to wear down over the next several 100 miles.

If you’re a road runner and haven’t tried a Hoka One One shoe give the Clifton 2 a test drive, it’s an excellent shoe. If you loved the original Clifton give the new update a spin. You can find my review of the Hoka One One Clifton here.

LIKES:

  • Clifton 2 feels more durable than the original.
  • Seamless upper is breathable
  • Cushioned
  • Low drop for the stack height (24/29 5mm)

DISLIKES:

  • A little narrow
  • Still light but heavier than the original Clifton

QUALITY: 4/5
COMFORT: 5/5
PRICE: 4/5
LOOKS: 5/5

TOTAL: 18/20

Blog Races Runs

Burien Brat Trot 2015

On Sunday October 4th I ran the Burien Brat Trot. I ran it last year also and I wanted to see how much I’ve improved. Overall, I was really happy with my pace year. According to my Garmin my average pace was a 6:12 min/mile. Last year I got 20th place and this year I got 7th. Unfortunately this year the leader missed a turn causing the lead pack to miss a little over a quarter mile of the race.

My GPS watch shows we only ran 2.75 miles instead of the full 3.1 miles. Also I must have started my Garmin a little early or stopped it a little late because my watch time was  17:03 vs 16:52 for my chip time. If I use the distance from my watch and the time from the race I get a 6:08 min/mile pace. Which is the pace I was hoping for. Anyway enough artificial pace adjustment.

This race I learned I need to work on my pacing more. At the start I went too hard on the down hill. Going out too hard caused me to be sucking wind and hurt more at the end of the race.  My mile splits were 6:07, 6:17, and 6:11 (pace for the .75 mile). If your interested you can see my Strava data for the race here.

I wish I would have been able to run the full course and really compare the times. All I can do is try to extrapolate my pace from this year. Last year my chip time was 21:18 a 6:52 min/mile pace. If I go by my average pace from my watch (6:12 pace) I would have run a 19:15 5k. Even being a short course I’m really happy and proud of that 2 minute improvement in a year. I’m planning to run another 5k in November and get a true 5k time for the year.

Reviews Road Shoes

Review: Hoka One One Clifton

When I saw my first pair of Hoka One One shoes I thought they were for grandparents to do their mall walks. After hearing about the brand I decided to try my first pair. With a little research I decided my first pair would be the Huaka. On my first run I was impressed by the Huaka. My problem was outsole couldn’t standup to the 100% road running I was doing. After 60 miles the Huaka’s lugs had worn down to almost nothing. I returned the Huaka with a sense of disappointment (thank you Road Runner Sports for the excellent return policy). I decided to give the Clifton a try because I missed the cushion from the Huaka.

Over 400 miles of wear on the Hoka One One Clifton.

Over 400 miles of wear on the Hoka One One Clifton.

The Clifton is light, comfortable, the upper is almost nonexistent, and the cushioning is very responsive. The only real negative is a little narrowness in the toe box. The upper has enough give to make the shoe fit my foot perfectly. If you have wide feet this shoe isn’t for you. At around 80 miles on the Clifton’s I was a little worried about durability. I started to notice the exposed EVA cushioning on the bottom of the shoe starting to show significant wear. The wear slowed and only progressed as the high abrasion rubber started to wear down over the next several 100 miles.

Needless to say I love the Clifton. I’ve been rotating 2 pairs for a while. I just retired my first pair of Clifton’s with over 400 miles on them. They’ve become my new walking / around the house shoes. My second pair has over 300 miles on them and I add the Clifton 2 to my shoe rotation.  Look for the Hoka One One Clifton 2 review in the future.

LIKES:

  • Light – Under 8oz
  • Durable – I was able to get over 400 miles out of one pair.
  • Seamless upper is breathable
  • Cushioned
  • Low drop for the stack height (24/29 5mm)

DISLIKES:

  • A little narrow

QUALITY: 4/5
COMFORT: 5/5
PRICE: 4/5
LOOKS: 5/5

TOTAL: 18/20

Blog

Lunches And Run Commuting

Once you start run commuting you will quickly learn that lunches can be tricky. On my first run home I learned a valuable lesson, I need to eat an early lunch. I leave work around 4pm (I’m a morning person so I get into work early). That first day I ate lunch at 12:30pm. More than 3 hours should be enough time to digest before running. But it wasn’t, my 6 mile run home was plagued with worry about throwing up.

Overtime I’ve learned that if I eat at 11am or 11:30am my run home is much more comfortable. In addition to your lunch time you also need to be mindful about what and how much you’re eating for lunch. For me large fatty lunches (like pasta with cream sauce, stir fry with lots of oil, or even a hamburger and fries) sit in my stomach like a rock for hours making my run home much slower. I’ve found that foods like salad, Mexican, or chicken and rice work with my commute. The higher carb meals digest quicker and give the energy you need for your run home. In addition to lunch I also try to bring fruits and vegetables the day before a commute for snacks throughout the day if needed.

Keep in mind food digestion and running greatly depends on the person and the meal. My lunch issues might be exacerbated because I work in a valley and in the first half of my run I have 1.3 miles of uphill. If your commuting route is flat you might be able eat nearer to your return run.

As you start run commuting it will take some experimenting to find out your optimal lunch time and acceptable meals. Have fun with your commute and enjoy the experimenting.

Gear Reviews

Review: Osprey Rev 18 Hydration Pack

Osprey’s Rev series targets endurance runners who want to move quickly without having to worry about storage capacity. I purchased the Osprey Packs Rev 18 ($119.95) for my run commutes.  The Rev 18 is the second largest pack in the Rev series. All of the Rev series packs come in either Cirrus Grey, Flash Green, or Bolt Blue.

Rev Series:

  • Rev 24 – 24 liters/ ~ 1,500 cubic inches of storage
  • Rev 18 – 18 liters/ ~ 1,100 cubic inches of storage
  • Rev 12 – 12 liters/ ~ 700 cubic inches of storage
  • Rev 6 – 6 liters/ ~ 400 cubic inches of storage
  • Rev 1.5 – 2 liters/ ~ 100 cubic inches of storage
  • Rev Solo – 1 liter/ ~ 100 cubic inches of storage
Osprey Rev 18 - Back view

The Osprey Packs Rev 18.

I selected the Rev 18 because of my storage requirements for my commute. 95% of the time the Rev 12 would have more than enough space for what I need but I wanted the extra storage just incase. I’ve worn the pack for more than 50 hours over 60 different runs.

FIT

I found it easy to get the Rev 18 adjusted for a comfortable fit. With the Bodybelt (Rev 6 and Rev 1.5 don’t have a Bodybelt) and 2 sternum straps the Rev 18 stays in place fully loaded or not. With a heavier load the pack will move side to side which can impair a normal arm swing. This can sometimes be avoided by repacking and placing heavier items at the bottom surrounded by with other items to reduced movement.

Osprey Rev 18 - Hydration compartment

Hydration compartment.

HYDRATION SYSTEM

The 2.5 liter Hydraulics LT Reservoir has baffles inside the bladder that greatly reduce water sloshing while running. The pack has a plastic support in the hydration compartment and allows the water bladder to securely slide into place. The bladder’s quick release allows you to easily remove the it without removing the bite value and tube.  My only complaint is scuffing that occurs in the hydration compartment between the hydration cap and the material of the compartment. The scuffing doesn’t appear to be damaging the bag it looks bad.

STORAGE

Osprey Rev 18 -  panel bungee

Front panel bungee.

The Osprey Packs Rev 18 has tons of storage. The pack has a huge main compartment separate from the hydration compartment. In addition to the main compartment the Rev 18 features a front panel with a bungee cord to keep your jacket strapped tightly to the bag.

The Bodybelt has left and right side zippered stretch mesh pockets. The right side pocket has a key hook to keep your keys in place on your run. Above the Bodybelt on either side of the pack are large stretch pockets that are perfect for quickly stashing gear.

The top of the Rev 18 has a zippered slash pocket for smaller items you might need to access quickly. The slash pocket is great because it allows you to store items without them falling down to the bottom of the main compartment. You can’t access the slash pocket without taking off the Rev 18. Fortunately the 2 zippered stretch mesh pockets on the Bodybelt give you quick access to items without removing the pack.

Osprey Rev 18 - DigiFlip

DigiFlip™ Media Pocket (with iPhone 5s)

The left side shoulder strap has the DigiFlip™ Media Pocket. The pocket can hold an iPhone 6 without a problem. The DigiFlip™ Media Pocket works well and I would use the pocket for runs longer than a few hours. But for my normal run commute it’s faster to store my phone in one of the Bodybelt stretch pocket.

CLEANING

My Rev 18 gets used 6 times a week and it can get funky. I’ve soaked the pack in a white vinegar solution to kill the odor and it works ok. During a particularly hot week I wash my pack in the washing machine. Machine washing worked really well. The Osprey care instructions say not to use a washing machine, so use caution if you try a washing machine.

LIKES:

  • Light –1 lb. 4 oz.
  • Durable – besides discoloring from rubbing no signs of wear
  • Storage – plenty of room to hold everything for ultras, 2.5 liters bladder
  • Secure – triple body straps keep everything tight to body

DISLIKES:

  • Accessibility – Must remove to access zippered slash pocket
  • DigiFlip™ Media Pocket – My iPhone 6 fits but it’s easier to access the phone in the Bodybelt pocket.
  • Cleaning – Can be hard to get odor out of the foam padding.

QUALITY: 4/5
COMFORT: 4/5
PRICE: 4/5
LOOKS: 5/5

TOTAL: 17/20

Buy on Amazon

Please support Run Work Run and use our Amazon link if you want to try the Osprey Packs Rev 18 yourself.