I buy most of my triathlon gear online and generally when it's in a sale. Because I'm an impressionable idiot my theory is that the more expensive the kit, the faster it will make me. However I'm also a tight wad so usually wait until said kit is unfashionable and no one wants it. I tend to use the same few retailers but it always pays to shop around. Sometimes you find what looks like a real bargain on a website (a decent reduction on an item) only to do a quick search and find that it's actually cheaper elsewhere, without even being advertised as a sale item. If you do a quick Google of "Salomon XA Pro 5 Shoes" you'll get an idea of how much the price can vary. But please come back once you've done that. Finished? Good, I'll continue.
Last year I invested in a Turbo Trainer (a device that turns your road bike into a stationery exercise bike - more about this later in the week) just before Christmas. In the New Year I found what appeared to be exactly the same Turbo Trainer being advertised, by the same retailer, at a "reduced price" but still considerably more than what I paid for it. I didn't follow it up with them (after all I hadn't lost out) so it could be my mistake, it might have not have an identical product or they might have liked me so much they gave me a huge discount as an early Christmas present. All I am saying is make sure you do as much research as you can before you decide to buy something so you don't get caught out. Because I care about you all and your pain is my pain.
Anyway, back to the trainers which you can see I am beautifully modelling here before Saturday's run.
Obviously I am not about to lambaste a pair of shoes that I have spent good money on so I guess this shouldn't be considered a totally impartial review. These are the second pair of Salomon trainers I have owned so knew generally what to expect. Where I run it is a mixture of wood trails and a gravelled path (which once upon a time was a railway line) so during the 7km route I experience a range of surfaces. Some sections are very boggy and slippery with large roots to navigate and several steep inclines. As a result my footwear gets quite a battering. Despite sloshing through several muddy puddles, you don't have any choice but to go straight through them, they dried out pretty quickly and remained comfortable and supportive when tackling the different terrains. And best of all they were cheap. This is what they looked like after the run.
In respect to the actual run, despite having another terrible night's sleep (thanks to Baby Trihard) I felt a lot more comfortable than when I did the same route roughly ten days ago. I actually managed to run up all the hilly bits (although had to walk occasionally when I reached the top of them) without suffering cardiac arrest and was able to keep my lunch down. This is what I looked like after the run.