First and foremost, let it be known that I am a big dumb dummy. Right before my 33rd birthday last month, because I felt I needed a daunting physical challenge to combat my disgust at getting older and due to the fact that I am a complete and supercharged idiot, I signed up for an ultra marathon. Yes, 50 miles of pain and agony and regret, but hopefully some fun and a lot of pre and post training doughnuts. I am no runner. I jog weekly to offset my jiggly Midwestern Irishness and propensity to shove food into my face whether or not I am hungry or full. But a runner, especially a long distance runner, I am not.
That being said, I have truly started to enjoy my training runs, mostly because of my new, super-cool-jogging-guy running vest. I am also having a lot of fun with this ridiculous undertaking because I’ve been referring to my Salomon S-Lab Ultra 5 ($140) vest as my training bra. The nickname makes me laugh and I will need as many chuckles as possible to prep for the pain cave and make it to the end of this run. The vest tips the scales at a featherlight 110 grams. It holds 5 liters of whatever-ya-want in its 10 storage pockets and compartments, which are all on-the-go accessible. Oh, and it has a nifty lil whistle attached to one of them.
Weight during runs is evenly balanced. The anti-odor, stretchy mesh actually moves with you without bounce or jostle as you’re navigating trails. It vents heat and wicks moisture very well. I’ve had zero chaffing or any uncomfortable hot spots during long runs. No buckles, no straps, and rounded trims equates to stellar comfort. It is a super minimalist design but Salomon hasn’t cut corners. The vest can hold my phone, my Outdoor Tech Buckshot 2.0 Bluetooth speaker (because music is a must for this), some snacks…okay, a lot of snacks, one of my lightweight Patagonia baselayer long sleeves or my Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody, a headlamp if need be, and really anything else I can cram into it.
Two front pockets each hold a 500ml soft hydration sleeve. And these things are flippin’ hilarious for a couple reasons. Again, I am a novice ultra runner so excuse my newb response to this. First, these blue floppy sausages are, ahem, rather phallic in shape, which will always make my inner twelve-year-old laugh. Second, these wriggly water filled hydration bratwursts sit directly on my chest. Now, by itself, this is not that funny. But the fact that my man-boobs heat these suckers up is rather chuckle-inducing. (What do I do? Freeze them, wrap them in tin foil, put them in Koozies? Help.) Third, picture me, a 6’5” 225 to 240-pound (depending on the day’s lunch) awkwardly built man-child running about, hacking loogies, blaring 1980s lady pop music, and squeezing/milking these warm chest-waterlogs. It is a sight to see, my friends, and a super goofy sight at that.
Here’s the dealio. I love this thing. Yes, it makes me look pretty funny. Yes, it feels like I am wearing a training bra every time I put it on. But it also makes me feel like I am suiting up for something epic, something meaningful. I bet it’s the same feeling Superman gets when he’s donning his cape. It feels like it’s time to go to work. So, laugh all ya want at me and my training bra. I don’t care. I’m just gonna keep trotting along, bopping to sweet synth-heavy music, sucking H2O through hot flappy wiener-esque chest socks, and chomping down a granola bar or some of these gooey gummy things. You can find me and my training bra on a trail near you. I’ll be the bra-clad, loud, sweaty, mustached oaf that’s bumbling about…but I’ll be smiling.