So this time in 2 weeks I will be on a plane to Mongolia. That’s not at all worrying. I decided that it’s time to attempt to get a grip on reality, and start collecting my kit. And you lucky people are going to get to see exactly what it is I plan on taking. Let’s start from the bottom up shall we?
(Side Note - I have literally NO IDEA what I am doing)
LET’S TALK ABOUT SOCKS
Socks. I love them. When they are good. I have been through ALL the socks in the world from the handy £1.50 for 20 sweatshop pair Karrimor’s to the £17 super soft Hilly TwinSkins. I honestly do believe that socks make a difference, and cheap ones are false economy for anything over a park race. The issue I have here is that it is going to be -40 on that ice, and I really don’t like having cold feet. Plus I don’t think the Chanel snow boots I have my eye on are going to be suitable for the terrain, so that’s out the window. I’ve taken advice from my mate Lee Stuart-Evans, who is older and smaller than me. Having lived back in the hobbit days, he has a lot of experience when it comes to running and feet and it being cold. It was him that introduced me to the Hilly TwinSkins that I love so much. Back in October when I was planning my 100 miler, he told me to get some waterproof socks as the weather was not looking good. I opted for the Sealskinz mid weight, mid length waterproof guys. They were VERY expensive and I didn’t need to use them, so I trialled them at Bovington Marathon in December. You have to run through fucking rivers there. They were super warm and waterproof to a point - only waders would have saved me on that race, BUT they were super comfy. I don’t think water will be the issue in Mongolia unless a hole opens and I fall in, it’s more about heat. These are warm and cosy without making sweat an issue. plus with other socks under them I can wear them every day.
As a back up I am using Ellis Brigham snowboarding socks - which do the same thing, minus the waterpoofing. My plan is Hilly mono skins, with Sealskinz on top and snowboarding socks on top of that. Surely my feet can’t get cold with those bad boys on? SURELY????
But Allie, I hear you cry, won’t that mean your shoes are too tight? Well no…. because I have a cunning plan……
SHOES - COULDN’T THINK OF A WITTY PUN SO JUST “SHOES”.
I’ve been through many, many shoes. Once upon a time, I was Nike Lunarglide only person and then I discovered proper running and realised they were crippling me. Then I was an Asics trail person but they fell apart halfway through a multi day ultra and I had to secure them with K tape. I use Inov8 trail, road and mudclaws for the shorter distances, but for ultras there is only one shoe.
By far and away the best and ugliest shoes I have bought are the Altra Lone Peak 3’s. Jesus fucking christ, are they horrible to look at. They look like a pair of lunchboxes. See below.
BUT they are awesome on long distances. I wore this model for the Autumn 100 back in October, and didn’t have the take them off or change socks once. Actually that’s a lie - I had a fake blister at mile 90, which I made Lee look after, but it didn’t amount to anything at all. I think it was me hallucinating and wanting to sit down more than anything else. They have a VERY wide toe box and are super soft and comfy, even if I do feel like Ginger Spice in them. Zero drop, and they although not technically waterproof, they get rid of excess water quickly and dry WELL fast. I ordered this spanking new pair in a size 7.5 (UK) to take care of the excess sock and swelling feet issue. My normal ones are 7 (to allow for swelling on 100 milers) and I take a 6-6.5 in most other shoes, but I think these are going to be OK. I’ll take my old pair too, just in case. On the bottom I am using some very cheap Petzl spikes. I bought 2 pairs, but will be looking into one glorious expensive set. I’m worried about spikes falling out, and I have no idea what it is like to run on the ice - I’m not sure Somerset House will let me have a go on their rink beforehand.
So that’s feet done. I have also bought gaiters, but as we work our way up we will get to that. I bet you’re all sat on the the edge of your seats. The back edge.
Tomorrow I am going to talk about base layers. I know. It’s too much excitement.