It was a year of gear, as in new, upgrades and tweaks. The Schwinn GPS watch was a great buy and still works well for its purpose. I tested online prescription glasses and will definitely go that route again in the near future (perhaps just for racing sunglasses). Aclimate (and Aclimate Endurance) have become my sports drinks of choice. I taught myself to make Pseudo-Lara bars which have evolved into amazing nutrient-packed endurance nuggets that we now call Lalaballs (I'll post the updated recipe soon!). Not sure if you can call it gear, but McConnell Taping has helped my knees immenesely. I finally bought a Road ID with the online profile that you can edit. I love it for workouts, races, hiking, camping, etc.
However, I guess the real gear story this year was shoes, of course.
I now have specific shoes for specific distances. As usual, I have to preface any discussion of shoes here with the warning that I, by absolute necessity, must wear fairly hefty orthotics due to some really major structural problems; any shoes that I use will have the orthotics in them, so would drastically change the foot feel for someone who would just be wearing the shoe, sans orthotics. I also choose shoes with no animal products. So, here is my present stable of shoes, with the distance of choice:
5K: NB730s. Lovely minimalist (4mm drop) with a choice of widths. Great road feel for short distance, but not enough cushioning for these old feet to go the longer distances.
Altra Intuition: zero drop with cushion and really wide toe box. Comfort out of the box. I haven't done much racing in them yet (have been using them for recovery shoes and they are the best!!!!), but will put them to the test in the New Year and report back. Only drawback: they're hard to find here.
10K: Skechers GoRun. These are quite a surprise in that although they are made for midfoot-strike running, they work amazingly well for proper racewalking technique, including heel strike! Cushioned, but with a lovely, comfy, breathable upper. Me like! They also come with an extra pair of colourful laces and a muslin shoe bag (useful for taking your shoes to the track).
Half marathons: Still my good old trusty Reshod 730s. Carmen's upgraded shoes were made for fast long distances in comfort...can't ask for much more than that!
LSD: I've been using the Skechers of late with good results. I'll report back in the New Year with more details. I also use the Reshod 730s, but like to save them for halfs. Will likely try the Intuitions for long distance as well.
So, all of this makes for happy feet (well, as happy as feet can get). It also ensures that my shoes dry out between workouts because I alternately use different ones. Hopefully they won't wear as quickly, either....or all wear out at the same time. Now that's a horrific thought! $$$$$$$$$$
HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A SAFE AND WONDERFUL